Argentine fintech company Ualá will invest $150 million in Latin America in the next 18 months and plans to reach 25 million users in the region in the next 5 years. The company founded in 2017 by Pierpaolo Barbieri currently has 5 million users distributed in Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia and in 9 months aims to reach the “breakeven” or break-even point to recover the $545 million contributed by its investors.
“We planned to lose money for eight years, but in the end, it was five,” said Barbieri, who assured that he would “look carefully” at the Chilean and Peruvian markets to continue building his financial ecosystem. “Today we have a positive gross margin and in the next six to nine months we will achieve the absolute break even,” he added.
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The fact of having reached the break-even point is significant given that there are two open secrets in the fintech market
The first is that there are many electronic wallets and, as it is a business with very small margins, those that fail to provide additional services that generate income could fall by the wayside. The second is that access to capital is no longer the same as it was a few years ago: investment funds betting on the fintech universe are increasingly selective and look for mature and profitable projects.
In Argentina, Ualá is preparing to grow after buying 100% of the shares of Wilobank, the digital bank owned by the founder of Corporación América, Eduardo Eurnekian, who joined Ualá as a shareholder. The transaction was approved by the Central Bank in June and although Barbieri did not yet give details on the steps to be taken he stated that the integration is moving forward. “Ualá will not be a bank, we are a technology company. Having a banking license will allow us to make an even more complete ecosystem,” he said.
Since its launch, Ualá has been strengthening its position with various transactions. With the operation of Wilobank, the first digital bank in Argentina, it became the first fintech to obtain a banking license. It followed a similar path in Mexico, where it acquired the bank ABC Capital, a transaction still under analysis by regulators, and in Colombia, where it began operations this year with a license as a financing company, which allows it to offer financial tools on a massive scale.
In Argentina, Ualá acquired two companies this year: Ceibo Créditos, which provides “buy now, pay later” financing tools at the point of sale, and Empretienda, the e-commerce platform that allows you to create your own online store quickly and easily.
It also offers collection services for physical and digital sales through Ualá Bis and financing and investment options. It has already granted more than 2 million credits -between loans and quotas-, while more than 1.8 million users invest in the mutual fund for those who make their wallet balance yield. In 2021, Ualá launched Ualintec Capital, Comprehensive Settlement and Clearing Agent (ALyC), so that users can buy MEP dollar and invest in Mutual Funds and Cedear.
“Ualá was born to revolutionize finance in the region, making it more modern, more transparent and more inclusive. Creating a regional company that employs more than 1,500 people with more than 5 million users in Latin America is a dream, one that has just begun. We are grateful to every person and every feedback, good and bad. Because our next 5 years will be much more ambitious. We will invest US$150 million in our markets with the conviction that it is possible to provide access to quality financial systems through technology,” said Barbieri as he celebrated the company’s fifth anniversary.
The company already has 1,500 employees of 17 nationalities, working from 10 different countries. Eighty percent of them work remotely. The company has been recognized by various rankings, including Great Place to Work (GPTW), where it stood out in both Argentina and Mexico.
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This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.
First published in infobae, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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