‘We Have Already Returned BRL 40 Million to Consumers’ Says CEO of GuiaBolso

The FinTech is one of the largest in the country and has already received BRL 90 million in investments. Read our interview with Thiago Alvarez.

GuiaBolso is one of the leading startups in Brazil. It has already received BRL 90 million (about USD 30 million) in investments and was considered one of the most innovative FinTechs in the world by KPMG consultancy. The app helps people organize their own budget and has 3.5 million users today.

Last year, the startup debuted a business model based on loans. The tool shows which financial institutions offer the cheapest credit for each user. Together, people who used the application to swap expensive debt for a cheaper one saved BRL 40 million, according to Thiago Alvarez, the company's CEO.

In an interview with StartSe and Let's Talk Payment, Thiago talked about three major challenges his FinTech has faced so far and opened up the impact of the tool on society.

LTP: What were the biggest challenges you have faced in GuiaBolso?

Thiago Alvarez: There were many, but in short, we can talk about three great challenges:

  • The first was to put together a very good team – to attract very good people.
  • The second was to get the money to finance the business.
  • And the third, to build a very good product.

To set up the team, at first, we had to convince people only with the idea. Then it was to say, "Leave your office and come here."

LTP: How did you do that?

TA: The first step for attracting people is to have a purpose – it shows that the person will be doing good things by working with us. The next step would be to explain that the market is very big and if it works out, it will be good for everyone. And after all, we offer stock options.

LTP: Along the way have you made any mistakes you might share with other entrepreneurs?

TA: We made several mistakes over time. One advice is to really not hire people before you need them. We hired people thinking that we would need people with that profile. And when the time came, in fact, the need was already being solved differently.

LTP: How do you describe the FinTech ecosystem in Brazil today?

TA: It's a very big market. It is a market of BRL 800 billion in terms of consumer credit, and there are many problems – products are often expensive, the hiring experience is usually very poor, and the industry is poorly transparent. The market is big and the consumer problem is great, so there is a great opportunity.

LTP: When GuiaBolso becomes a mature business, what impact will you have on society?

TA: I'm going to talk about the impact we have already achieved. After four months of using GuiaBolso, people save an average of BRL 470 a month more than they used to do before. We had 60.5% of people quit using overdraft after using the app.

When you multiply those numbers by 3.5 million (the number of people who use GuiaBolso) and for 12 months, we see the size of the impact. This is simply because the customer has clear and accurate information.

On the credit side, we have already returned BRL 40 million to the consumer – compared to what they paid for interest and what they are paying using the application. We are at the beginning, so the impact will actually be very large.

This content was published in partnership with StartSe, the main Brazilian website about startups. The portal contains the StartSe Base, the largest database of startups in the country, with more than 5,000 registered companies.