SÃO PAULO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Brazilian startup GuiaBolso has raised $39 million from a group of specialized fintech investors, led by Vostok Emerging Finance and including existing backers such as Ribbit Capital, IFC, and QED Investors. Endeavor Catalyst and Omidyar Network also contributed to the round.
This largest-announced venture capital funding of 2017 in Latin America is a testament to increasing investor perception of the potential of introducing innovative technologies into the country’s large but staid financial services market. It also consolidates GuiaBolso’s position as the leading finance hub, with over 3.5 million app users and the largest digital marketplace for credit products by origination volume.
“We’re delighted to continue partnering with such high caliber investors that support our mission of giving people the complete, precise information they need to make better financial decisions,” comments founder Benjamin Gleason. “This investment will allow GuiaBolso to expand the reach of our digital financial hub to millions of more Brazilians, as well as provide real-time access to additional products such as investments and credit cards, to accompany our existing loan offerings.”
After decades of increasing concentration of the banking sector, that left the vast majority of consumers confined to a single institution for financial products, in recent years this dynamic has started to shift, with a budding new generation of fintech offerings. GuiaBolso is unique in that it accelerates this trend of disintermediation of product options while simultaneously simplifying consumers’ lives by consolidating their account activity into a comprehensive financial profile in the app. The GuiaBolso platform democratizes consumers’ financial information, by giving them transparency and control over the information, as well as access to credit products matched to their needs and risk profile – a big departure from the status quo in a country with the world’s highest interest rates.
Founded by McKinsey veterans Gleason and Thiago Alvarez, the startup bucked tradition in Brazil by focusing first on solving consumers’ problems related to lack of visibility of their finances and access to generally expensive products rather than prioritizing the company’s own bottom line. This approach paid off when the GuiaBolso app went viral after release in 2014, prompting Brazil’s sixth-largest retail bank to partner with the startup to offer competitively-priced loans on the platform.
Over several funding rounds, GuiaBolso previously received investment totaling $28 million from Kaszek, the largest Latam VC fund; Ribbit, specialized in fintech; QED Investors, specialized in lending businesses; Omidyar Network, that supports social impact initiatives; and IFC, of the World Bank Group, among others. This year the company also raised over $70 million of debt financing for its lending operation, in two tranches from more than a dozen institutional fixed income investors.
To lead this round, GuiaBolso selected Vostok Emerging Finance due to its complementary profile and aligned vision, in the words of Managing Director Dave Nangle:
“We are excited to announce our largest investment to date in Brazil, reflecting our conviction that Brazil offers one of the best fintech macro opportunities globally. GuiaBolso is truly unique as a loved and growing consumer brand, that has leveraged its #1 finance app to launch Brazil’s first credit marketplace with real-time online loan approvals. It is well positioned to broaden the suite of financial products from this base. As with all our investments, it starts with great founders and management team, and the GB team is one of the best we have come across in emerging market fintech. We look forward to supporting Ben, Thiago and the team on the journey ahead.”