Technology

Fintech Funding in LatAm & Caribbean Soars: Payments Take a Dive


The world of fintech has experienced significant growth and transformation in recent years, and Latin America (LatAm) has emerged as a key player in this rapidly evolving industry. Despite a global funding slump in the second quarter of 2023, the region has managed to maintain a steady upward trajectory, attracting global investor interest and witnessing a surge in venture funding. In this article, we will delve into the state of fintech in Latin America, exploring the region’s growing influence, notable startups, and the factors that have contributed to its success.

Latin America has become a hotbed for fintech innovation, with the region witnessing a substantial increase in venture funding in recent years. According to The Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America (LAVCA), VC investors deployed $7.8 billion across a record 1,114 deals in Latin America in 2022, making it one of the most attractive destinations for fintech investment. The fintech sector, in particular, accounted for 29% of investments, highlighting its dominance in the region.

The surge in global investor interest in Latin American startups has played a vital role in driving the growth of the fintech industry in the region. Investors from around the world have recognized the immense potential and opportunities that Latin America offers, leading to a substantial influx of capital. This increased interest has not only boosted the profile of Latin American fintech startups but has also contributed to the overall growth and development of the ecosystem.

According to CB Insights’ State of Fintech Q2 report, fintechs in Latin America and the Caribbean drew $500 million in the second quarter of 2023, marking a remarkable 150% increase compared to the previous quarter. While the deal count remained relatively stable, the region’s early-stage deal share reached a five-year high of 81%, indicating a strong focus on nurturing and supporting emerging fintech startups.

During the second quarter of 2023, several notable deals took place in the Latin American fintech landscape. One of the most significant investments went to Cayman Islands-based DeFi platform Kross Wallet, which raised a staggering $100 million in a seed round. This substantial funding round reflects the growing interest in decentralized finance and the potential it holds for transforming the financial landscape in Latin America.

Other notable deals included a $60 million raise for Mexico-based spend management startup Clara and a $26 million investment in Brazilian payments infrastructure company Liquido. These deals highlight the diversity and innovation within the Latin American fintech ecosystem, showcasing the region’s ability to attract significant investments across various segments of the industry.

While the fintech sector in Latin America has witnessed impressive growth, the second quarter of 2023 was not kind to payments startups. Funding to these companies plummeted by 75% during the quarter, reaching a six-year funding low of $2 billion. Despite this setback, there were a few bright spots, with early-stage funding for payments companies reaching a five-year high.

One standout company in the payments space is Tipalti, an accounts payable automation platform for mid-market companies. Tipalti secured the top equity deal for the quarter, raising $150 million in a growth round. This investment adds to the company’s already impressive list of funding achievements, including a $270 million Series F and a $150 million Series E. Tipalti’s success showcases the immense potential for disruptive payments solutions in Latin America and highlights the growing interest in financial automation and efficiency.

In the second quarter of 2023, all five of the IPO exits within the fintech industry came from companies based outside of the United States, with the majority originating from Asia. This global trend underscores the increasing importance of international fintech markets and the opportunities they present for investors and startups alike. Additionally, the Latin American fintech sector experienced a 20% drop in M&A activity, with 142 exits reported during the quarter, according to CB Insights.

Despite the challenges faced by payments startups and fluctuations in funding, the future of fintech in Latin America remains promising. The region’s ability to attract global investor interest, coupled with its growing ecosystem of innovative startups, positions Latin America as a key player in the global fintech landscape.

To ensure continued growth and success, it is crucial for Latin American governments and regulatory bodies to provide a supportive environment for fintech innovation. By implementing favorable policies and frameworks, governments can foster collaboration between traditional financial institutions and fintech startups, leading to mutually beneficial partnerships that drive innovation and financial inclusion.

Latin America has already demonstrated its appetite for technology and innovation, with the fintech sector at the forefront of this transformation. As technology continues to advance, Latin American startups have the opportunity to leverage emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and open banking to revolutionize the region’s financial services landscape. By staying at the forefront of technological advancements, Latin America can continue to attract investment and drive innovation in the fintech industry.

One of the key drivers of fintech growth in Latin America is the focus on financial inclusion and empowerment. By leveraging technology and innovative business models, fintech startups in the region are bringing financial services to underserved populations, providing access to banking, payments, and investment opportunities. This focus on inclusivity and empowerment has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people in Latin America, bridging the gap between traditional financial services and the unbanked or underbanked.

In summary, Latin America has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the fintech industry, attracting global investor interest and witnessing a surge in venture funding. Despite the challenges faced by payments startups, the region continues to foster innovation and drive the adoption of technology in the financial services sector. With a supportive regulatory environment, a focus on technology and innovation, and a commitment to financial inclusion, Latin America is poised to shape the future of fintech on a global scale. As the fintech ecosystem in Latin America continues to evolve, it will be exciting to see how the region’s startups and investors collaborate to drive the next wave of innovation and transformation in the industry.

First reported on TechCrunch

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How has Latin America emerged as a key player in the fintech industry?

Latin America has experienced significant growth in the fintech sector, witnessing a substantial increase in venture funding and attracting global investor interest. The region’s fintech industry accounted for 29% of investments, making it one of the most attractive destinations for fintech investment.

Q. What is the state of venture funding for fintech in Latin America?

In 2022, VC investors deployed $7.8 billion across 1,114 deals in Latin America. Additionally, fintechs in Latin America and the Caribbean raised $500 million in the second quarter of 2023, marking a remarkable 150% increase compared to the previous quarter.

Q. How are global investors contributing to the growth of fintech in Latin America?

Global investors have recognized the immense potential and opportunities in Latin America, leading to a substantial influx of capital into the region’s fintech startups. This increased interest has not only boosted the profile of Latin American fintech startups but also contributed to the overall growth and development of the ecosystem.

Q. What notable deals have taken place in Latin America’s fintech landscape?

During the second quarter of 2023, notable deals included a $100 million seed round for DeFi platform Kross Wallet, a $60 million raise for Mexico-based spend management startup Clara, and a $26 million investment in Brazilian payments infrastructure company Liquido.

Q. What challenges have payments startups faced in Latin America?

In the second quarter of 2023, funding for payments startups in Latin America plummeted by 75%, reaching a six-year funding low of $2 billion. Despite this setback, there were positive indicators, with early-stage funding for payments companies reaching a five-year high.

Q. How is Latin America driving financial inclusion through fintech?

Fintech startups in Latin America are leveraging technology and innovative business models to bring financial services to underserved populations, bridging the gap between traditional financial services and the unbanked or underbanked. This focus on inclusivity and empowerment has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people in the region.

Q. What role do Latin American governments play in fostering fintech innovation?

To ensure continued growth and success, it is crucial for Latin American governments and regulatory bodies to provide a supportive environment for fintech innovation. Implementing favorable policies and frameworks can foster collaboration between traditional financial institutions and fintech startups, driving innovation and financial inclusion.

Q. How can technology advancements further boost fintech growth in Latin America?

As technology continues to advance, Latin American startups have the opportunity to leverage emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and open banking to revolutionize the region’s financial services landscape, attracting more investment and driving innovation in the fintech industry.

Q. What is the outlook for fintech in Latin America?

Despite challenges faced by payments startups, Latin America’s fintech sector remains promising due to its ability to attract global investor interest and its focus on financial inclusion. The region’s growing ecosystem of innovative startups positions Latin America as a key player in the global fintech landscape.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.