The Lionel Messi of Argentina’s FinTech Landscape

Argentina is not only the home of tango, architecture, soccer, and most technology unicorns in Latin America, but also a country that struggles with broken financial systems. In 2018, Argentina’s economy was facing depreciation of the peso, a high Inflation rate, rise in interest rate, and decline in overall economic activity – all of which translates into an unfavorable condition for the conventional financial services industry. Interestingly, Argentina is a relatively small country in the region but one thing that sets it apart is the global mindset of its entrepreneurs that have resulted in some tech unicorns such as OLX, Despegar, MercadoLibre, and Globant. Argentina needs to mimic the scale and impact of its tech unicorns in its FinTech space as well. The lack of trust in banks coupled with economic instability has provided an opportunity for FinTechs to grow in the country; startups such as Uala, Afluenta, Moni, and others are targeting nearly 46% of the Argentinian population which is unbanked.

In case you did not know, Lionel Messi is a world-renowned Argentine soccer player and in a similar construct, here is a list of 11 promising startups in Argentina that can emerge as the Lionel Messis of FinTech for Argentina:

  1. Uala was founded in 2016 and has raised $44 million in total funding. The company provides an international prepaid card to the users, which can be used for various types of transactions like withdrawing money and shopping. In April 2019, China’s Tencent announced an (undisclosed amount) investment in Uala. Uala plans to use this collaboration with Tencent to develop its mobile app. The startup had previously raised US$34 million in its Series B round led by Goldman Sachs.

  2. Afluenta was founded in 2010 and has raised $13 million in total funding. Afluenta is a peer-to-peer lending network that brings together investors and creditworthy borrowers. The platform allows people to borrow up to $75,000 for a loan tenure spanning a maximum of 48 months. It is an efficient and fully automated platform which has features such as real-time credit assessment & risk scoring, transfers, loan servicing, collections, and secondary markets. The company allows the borrowers to keep their lending request open for 10 days or till they achieve 100% funding (whatever is earlier).

  3. Ripio was founded in 2014 and has raised around $7.5 million in total funding. Ripio is a bitcoin brokerage firm that allows consumers in Argentina to buy small amounts of bitcoin at more than 8,000 convenience stores. Ripio is a subsidiary of BitPagos.

  4. Moni was founded in 2013 and has raised more than $5 million in total funding. Moni provides a mobile-based platform for the unbanked section to pay bills. The company helps its users to receive a cash advance immediately, without formalities or paperwork and is 100% online. Moni allows users to request short-term microcredit in cash, pay their services or recharge cell phone, quickly and without banking procedures. It also gives cash advances up to $4,000 without any paperwork and credits it directly into the banking account.

  5. VU Security was founded in 2007 and has raised more than $4.3 million in total funding. VU provides fraud prevention and identity prevention solutions based on users’ behavior, device analytics, and profiling. VU’s agentless technology helps financial institutions, private companies, government agencies, and healthcare companies to prevent information theft.

  6. 123Seguro was founded in 2010 and has raised $3 million in total funding. aims to empower insurance customers by providing instant price comparison and professional advisory while distributing policies from other insurance companies.

  7. IncreaseCard was founded in 2014 and has raised $3 million in total funding. IncreaseCard aims to simplify the way merchants control their cashflows. It offers a visualization tool that allows users to view a calendar with the exact amounts to be credited each day in their bank account.

  8. Snapcar Insurance was founded in 2015 and has raised an undisclosed amount in the seed round. Snapcar Insurance is an insurance technology company that developed a complete telematics platform adapted to the Latin American market. Recently, the company was selected by Mundi Lab’s 2017 accelerator.

  9. S4 was founded in 2010 and has raised $1.2 million in the seed round. S4 (previously known as Solapa4) is a developer of data analytics and decision-making tools for agribusinesses to improve agricultural yield and risk mitigation. It sells its data analytics to financial service providers, agri-input providers, large food companies, and other agribusinesses. The company was also selected by The Yield Lab for its AgTech accelerator program in 2015. S4 started as an advisory to agronomists and later on pivoted to AgTech.

  10. Rootstock was founded in 2014 and has raised $1 million in total funding. RSK is the first open-source smart contract platform with a two-way peg to Bitcoin which rewards the Bitcoin miners via merge-mining, allowing them to participate in the smart contract revolution actively.

  11. Codamation was founded in 2005 and is a company builder that develops businesses in verticals such as e-commerce, e-health, and FinTech by co-creating companies that use Keeaccount, its digital transactions platform. Some of the markets Codamation is interested in include digital money, digital health, e-commerce, marketplaces, digital marketing, and B2B & P2P solutions.