Business

Mexico-based FinTech decided to buy a bank

Six years after launching Credijusto, a Mexican fintech that lends to small businesses, David Poritz and Allan Apoj have achieved annual revenue growth of over 250%, turning Covid-19 into an opportunity.

But even one of their biggest supporters was stunned when the co-chief executive decided to go mainstream by buying a bank.

Hernán Kazah, co-founder of Kaszek, Latin America’s largest venture capital firm, was afraid that the acquisition of Banco Finterra could lose the focus of the duo. Or, as he says, “when David and Alan said they would buy a bank, I thought they were angry.”

Ironically, Politz, who turned from a 32-year-old American anthropologist to an entrepreneur with a master’s degree in public policy from Oxford University, smiles. “Fintech was created to disrupt the banking sector,” he says. Still, in June, Creditjust spent less than $ 50 million privately to become the bank itself.

For them, it proved their core belief. That is, after successfully challenging a chunky financial institution from the outside, they can now change it from the inside.

Like Credijusto, Finterra accounts for half of Mexico’s gross domestic product and employs 70% of its workers, but targets about 5 million SMEs struggling to access credit. increase. However, Credijusto’s unique selling point is how to process electronic invoices, taxes and other data to provide a loan to a customer within hours.

Kazakh was worried that the price tag might be too high, but “may be surprised under the rug,” Politz and Apoi stuck to their guns. They were beginning to evaluate whether to apply for a banking charter to take their business to the next level.

However, this can take years. When Finterra went on sale in 2019, “I chose to buy instead of building a bank from scratch. Faster and more adjustments were seen,” he said as an entrepreneur. Apoj, 31, is a clenched Mexican graduate of economics. One year after graduating from university.

The current goal is “to provide the speed and flexibility of fintech services at the cost that banks can afford,” Apoji adds. Currently, their minimum interest rate is 7.5%, and with Finterra, “we are now able to compete economically with any major bank.”

In addition, with a total of $ 300 million in assets, “this [acquisition] The size is doubled. .. .. It positions us for a lot of growth, “he says.

There are 51 banks in Mexico, but only a handful allow most of the country’s lending. Even successful entrepreneurs like Poritz and Apoj, who grew their credit just revenues by more than 250% each year from their founding in 2015 to 2019, were denied personal credit cards. It’s very difficult to access the service. “

Market concentration Funding gap For SMEs, it’s over $ 160 billion, according to the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the SME Finance Forum.

“The SME segment is really left behind,” says Poritz. “We want to build the first true digital banking solution for small businesses.”

Credijusto has already financed about $ 500- $ 600 million, doubling the combined customer base of both companies to 12,000 by the end of this year, with a particular focus on the underserved agricultural sector of banks. I am aiming for that.

Within two weeks of Finterra’s purchase, an unnamed integration entity has partnered with American Express to launch a credit card and integrate it with services to purchase up to five months later. Provides digital financial planning tools. For small businesses, it’s agile and cheap.

The two, who met at Brown University in the United States in 2008, did not hesitate to take risks during the first week of Apoi. In the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic, they launched a rotating mortgage-backed credit line that proves the restaurant’s lifeline.President Andre Manuel Lopez Obrador Providing SMEs Loan over $ 1,000 However, there is little help from other pandemics.

Creddy Just too Uber Eats Become the exclusive financial partner for delivery services in Latin America, giving companies on the Uber Eats platform access to rapid loans.

“Covid helped prove our business model in a very unexpected way,” says Poritz. “We were able to navigate Covid very well and validate our business in a much shorter amount of time.” In fact, even during a pandemic, revenue grew “incredibly well” by 30 percent. And Apoj says the delinquent loan was “not as bad as they could have been.”

This was music that could be heard by A-list venture capitalists and funds such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Point72 Ventures, New Residential Investment Corporation, QED Investors, John Mack and Kazek. In debt and fairness.

“Capital alone won’t make a business successful, but Mexican institutional investors are a major differentiator that has allowed us to grow,” says Politz.

Mexico has long lags behind other Latin American countries in terms of “unicorns” — start-ups worth more than $ 1 billion. But since October last year, we have accumulated three and Credijusto aims to join them. We see this as a test of our success in building what Poritz calls “a high-growth, influential business that truly solves major problems.” ..

Three Questions to David Poritz and Allan Apoj

Politz

Who is your leadership hero?

Joseph Mittleman, A successful developer taught leadership in Brown. I used to ride a 90 minute bike. When I graduated from college, he was a very important leadership coach at a very important time.

What are the most important leadership lessons you have learned?

Communicating clearly and managing expectations can avoid 90% of friction and conflict.

What if you didn’t work for Creditjust?

I would have divided my time into academia and a non-profit world.

Apogee

Who is your leadership hero?

Barack Obama defended his medical plan, stating that it was important not to make perfection a good enemy. Many people in the tech industry are purists. Aiming for perfection often slows innovation.

What are the most important leadership lessons you have learned?

If you don’t like something, say it right away. I learned that you sometimes have to unplug.

What if you didn’t work for Creditjust?

I would have attended law school — it’s the best gateway to business.I always wanted to work in finance

Apoj, who is in charge of technology and internal operations, manages investor public relations and finance, while already internationally driving small and medium-sized enterprises further upstream in the North American integrated supply chain of the United States and Canada. Expected to expand. Of growth.

Being a friend and a business partner was a bonus. “When you’re in a start-up trench, you need to do it with someone who enjoys being with you,” says Poritz. “But even if we always agree, that’s not the case.”

In fact, one disagreement caused the company to be over a year behind, he says. “I made a few tactical mistakes. Alain wanted to create a multi-product business from the beginning. I thought I needed to focus on a few products,” says Poritz. “I was too conservative.”

Meanwhile, Apoj said he regrets that some of the inappropriate hires “did not trigger immediately.” However, the pair was inexperienced in their mid-twenties and “we were not confident of making these decisions in the early stages.”

As a result, this pair has evolved into what is called a “hypercommunicator.” “We are really, really open to our staff,” says Politz.

Both men embarked on the adventures of other entrepreneurs before Creditjust. Politz founded and continues to be President of Equitable Origin, a non-profit organization focused on indigenous peoples’ rights. While in Brown, Apoi spent a year designing a healthier landfill solution for bidding in Ecuador. He eventually lost, but remembers it as a “great experience.”

Well, the quest is “NS “Neobank for small businesses,” says Poritz.

Or, as Apoj says, “I still have tons to build.”

jude.webber@ft.com

Mexico-based FinTech decided to buy a bank

Source link Mexico-based FinTech decided to buy a bank

Back to top button