Fintech startup Ualá which is a finance app that helps people with all things financial has just finished its Series C funding to the tune of $150 million. This round was led by Tencent and Softbank’s Innovation Fund which has as its specific aim the Mercursour region. The app functions very much like Monzo, Nubank and Revolut but this time the focus of this app is on the Argentine market without the trappings and requirements of financial institutions and regulations.
With its CEO Pierpaolo Barbieri who has always wanted to do something with finance, the startup already offers all kinds of financial services in one place and is linked to a prepaid debit card that allows for deployment of those services.
This series C funding is also very special for Softbank as it represents the first time that the startup finance giant is putting its “investment foot” on the ground in Argentina. Argentina is currently going through all sorts of situations that may spook many investors, but Softbank took the leap anyway and made this entrée which is indicative of the kinds of risks that the investment bank is willing to take on provided there are hidden profits to be made.
With the issues surrounding the presidential elections and a soaring national debt which is causing all sorts of problems in the economy (about $330 billion), apps and fintech services provide a way out for creating further inclusion for the underbanked in the Country and lowering costs of financial transactions for many who are going through financial problems as banking costs are known to hinder many from making the financial leap forward from poverty.
Tencent of recent has also been making inroads into Latin America as well. As the fintech superstar in China (they stand behind Wechat), they also have an innate understanding of product development that they can bring to the table for Ualá although they have not given any indication of working with Ualá’s development team as of yet.
Having been advisors to other Latin American fintechs, Tencent is also looking into grasping how financial behavior works among Latin Americans as well. This also helps Tencent to see other collaborations and opportunities that can be grasped at the same time.
Sources further indicate that the company intends to use the invested funds to increase the human resources and improve linkages with partners that have allowed it to come this far.
The startup was founded in 2017, $34 million was also raised in 2018 while Tencent has invested an unknown sum this year with a total of $194 million invested so far. The fintech startup has 1.3 million cards issued in the Argentine market, in a country that has just about 45 million people in terms of population which makes the fintech’s rise exponential. The valuation of the company, however, is unknown.
Christopher Haruna Hamman is a Freelance content developer, Crypto-Enthusiast and tech-savvy individual. He is also a Superstar Content Developer, Strategy Demigod, and Standup Guy.
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