As the Latin American startup scene has matured, the founders and CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies in the region have started new ventures.
On Wednesday, gaming-updates reported on São Paulo-based startup Mara, which aims to reimagine the buying process for the poor in Latin America by raising $6 million. One of the co-founders is Ariel Lambrecht, who also helped found 99, Brazil’s first unicorn mobile startup.
Today we take a look at Uno, a two-month-old Colombian payments startup that raised $10 million in a seed funding round.
The ability to grow a relatively large seed round shortly after launch speaks to the experience of the company’s founders, including Juan Pablo Ortega, co-founder of the on-demand delivery unicorn. rapi (which was valued at $5.25 billion as of July last year) and Julian Nunez, one of Rapi’s early employees.
Ortega and Nunes met in Rapi while working together on the payments team as the company expanded to nine different countries. Ortega built and strengthened Rappi’s payments and fraud teams and capabilities while developing an expansion of Rappi’s finance arm, RappiBank. Nunes created Paga con Rappi’s one-click payment system and led Rappi’s e-commerce business unit.
This experience attracted investors such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Monashees and Kaszek from the very beginning.
Silicon Valley-based A16z provided seed funding for Uno as part of the company’s fintech startup founders program. Monachies and Kashek followed him as co-heads of investment.
While the concept for Uno is relatively recent, it goes back to Ortega in 2015, when he helped found Rappi. In recent years, they’ve seen companies of all sizes “struggle with integration to give their customers all the different payment options.”
“In addition, fraud and payment processing costs are on the rise, creating a new challenge for businesses,” he said.
In 2021, he teamed up with Nez to address these issues. The couple decided to officially form Uno in January 2022. After speaking with a16z, he received his first check, and a few weeks later closed the $10 million seed round.
The speed with which they both managed to raise capital is a testament to the prosperity of start-ups in Latin America, where venture capital has poured into the region in recent years.
Simply put, Uno aims to provide Latin American businesses with a simple online payment solution that solves the problem of managing multiple payment methods, as well as fraud detection tools that are costly and can be painful to manage.
The “fragmented and complex market” makes it even more challenging for businesses that have historically been forced to integrate many different payment systems due to low adoption rates, high fraud rates and low conversion rates, Ortega said.
“Accepting and optimizing online payments should not be a problem for companies. We want to create the perfect solution to help them make online payments quickly, easily and securely so that businesses can focus on their core business,” Nunes said.
Uno is already working with Rappi and several “large” e-commerce companies in Latin America.
“In just a few months, we built a team with experience in space – engineers built the first payment gateway in Latin America, a commercial team with experience in the world’s largest payment processor, an extensive network in Latin America and beyond.” Ortega said.
Uno currently has 40 employees from companies such as Rappi, Ingenico, Worldpay, McKinsey & Co. and Mastercard. The company is expected to have 100 employees, mostly engineers, by the end of April.
“We are focused on attracting the most talented people in the region to continue capitalizing on this huge opportunity in Latin America,” Oretga said. “We have already encountered the problem of optimizing payments in Rappi and have created a successful solution for the company. We are now determined to bring the solution to market to ensure that no other company faces this issue in the future. ,
Uno originally The focus is on Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. It then plans to expand its operations to Latin America and other regions of the world.
Obviously, investors are very excited about the company’s prospects.
Monash’s partner Marcelo Lima said that Latin America’s payment ecosystem has gone through a “radical” digitization process in recent years.
“However, there are still huge pain points in how merchant payments are made, how those payments are organized, and how to ensure a seamless experience for customers,” he said. “This is a multi-billion dollar problem for the region.”
Fabiola Quinzanos of Monash agrees with Lima’s point of view, noting that online retail penetration is growing very fast, especially in the region. So, in her words, “A solution that addresses the key issues of sub-optimal payments and customer experience that many platforms provide, such as low approval rates, long and failed processes, and poor fraud management, is definitely guaranteed. .”, gaining momentum. ,
He praised the founders’ vast experience in payments, saying they were “field tested” in Rappi, one of the most notable stories of rapid growth in Latin America.
“They are brave, they are talent magnets, and they have chosen a very lucrative market with huge problems to solve,” Quinzanos said.
Kashek’s partner Nicholas Berman described the startup as “an exceptional and unique company given the level of experience, technical expertise and guts to tackle great opportunities.”
Partners and investors from Nazca, Latitude, OneVC, Opera Ventures, Saurabh Gupta, DST Global, including Simon Borrero, co-founder and CEO of Rapy, Ricardo Vedder of Justo, Sujay Tile of Merama, Jerry Jacomman of Clara Collier, Enrique Villamarin of Tull, Maria Echeveri of Muni and the Bilbao brothers also invested in Uno.
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