Serious business


Fintech and e-commerce are the most popular areas in Latin America for new developments.

14th March 2018

Interview with Julie Ruvolo, Director of Venture Capital, Latin American Private Equity & Venture Capital Association
Venture capitalists in the region seem to be quite serious. “There is very little money being invested in superfluous things, like an app that puts moustaches on a person’s photo,” said Julie Ruvolo, director of Venture Capital at the Latin American Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, Lavca. Funds go to projects to facilitate payments, to get loans, or to solve problems of the population at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
In general, she said, Latin American startups have focused on solving problems that are important, but very specific to the region. That’s why fintech and e-commerce are the most popular areas of new developments, and perhaps, that’s also one of the reasons why startups form this part of the world are not on the list of more exciting new business coming from the U.S., Asia or Israel, she claims. No self-driving cars, or deep machine learning-based projects.
Mexico’s Sr.Pago is a good example of what’s being financed. The firm facilitates cashless payments among the unbanked, who make up some 70 percent of the country’s population. It provides individuals with a debit card with no maintenance fee, and unbanked store owners with Bluetooth readers to accept debit or credit card payments.  
Guatemalan startup Kingo raised capital to finance the sale of pre-paid solar energy kits to almost 50,000 low-income households …

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