Driven by the E-Commerce Boom, Shopee Doubles its Bet on Brazil

This week’s top stories include: FinanZero, Brazil’s Free Online Credit Marketplace, Raises $7M; Tech In Mexico: A Confluence of Latin America, the U.S., and Asia; and Brazilian Fintech Cora Secures $26.7 Million Through Series A Funding Round Led By Ribbit Capital.

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Driven by the E-Commerce Boom, Shopee Doubles its Bet on Brazil

Shoppe, the Singapore e-commerce giant owned by the Sea, has just completed a year and a half since its debut in the Brazilian market. Very popular in Singapore, Shopee is also a strong competitor for leadership in the e-commerce market in Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand. Brazil was the giant’s first bet beyond Southeast Asia.

Although Shopee does not disclose its financial results in Brazil, there are clues that operations in the country are promising. According to the State of Mobile Report from App Annie, Shopee was the 9th most downloaded app in Brazil in 2020 and, besides that, according to recently reported, the company is transferring executives from Southeast Asia to Brazil.

In an interview with LABS, Felipe Feistler, business manager at Shopee Brazil, talked about the platform’s performance with the Brazilian consumer and the expansion plans for the country.

Driven by the e-commerce boom in Brazil, Shopee intends to invest more in the development of a sustainable ecosystem focused on local communities, companies and users. Feistler explains that in all markets where Shopee is present, it adopts a local and personalized approach, from marketing to product selection and logistics.

Shopee’s global results in 2020 show an increase of 178.3% over the previous year, reaching a revenue of $ 842.2 million. The Sea Group, the owner of Shopee, is a conglomerate Singapore-based that operates in three fronts – e-commerce, digital financial services and games. The Sea today is worth about $70 billion.

Brazilian e-commerce is still in an initial stage of development, with a lot of demand for digitization, mainly from small and medium businesses. Shopee saw an opportunity.

“We have seen accelerated growth in helping sellers, small and medium-sized businesses and brands to digitize and scale their e-commerce businesses, and we work to serve the growing online demand as more entrepreneurs focus their efforts on e-commerce to expand their business.”

FinanZero, Brazil’s Free Online Credit Marketplace, Raises $7M

FinanZero, a Brazilian online credit marketplace, announced today that it has closed a $7 million round of funding: its fourth since it launched in 2016. It has raised a total of $22.85 million to date.

The real-time online loan broker allows people to apply for a personal loan, a car equity loan or a home equity loan for free and receive an answer in minutes. A key to FinanZero’s success is that it doesn’t offer the loans itself, but has instead partnered with about 51 banks and fintechs who back the loans. FinanZero is based in Brazil’s financial capital, São Paulo, and has 52 employees.

“From day one we said, ‘We only work with a success fee,’ so we only get paid when the customer signs the loan contract,” said Olle Widen, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

Instead of charging the customer, FinanZero gets a commission from one of its partners, and with a growing volume of credit applications- an average of 750,000 applications per month- the company has seen 61% revenue growth from 2019-2020.

Tech Crunch reports that Brazilian finance and banking market has been ripe for disruption, as it has traditionally favored the rich. Those with low incomes (the vast majority of Brazilian citizens) are therefore left with few options when it comes to financing, and which in turn forces them into compounding debt from which they’ll likely never escape. Traditionally, young Brazilians have lived with their families until they got married, and while there is a cultural aspect to it, the bottom line is that mortgages were infinitely hard to get approved.

Tech In Mexico: A Confluence of Latin America, the U.S., and Asia

As an up and coming tech hub and gateway to the Latin American market, investor interest in Mexico has continued to grow.

Tech Cruch examines the ins and outs of Mexico’s tech market, including developer-centered products, open-source startups and infrastructure technology companies with a particular interest in emerging market innovation.

The U.S.-Asia-LatAm nexus

A main observation was how much Latin American entrepreneurs look to Asian tech giants for product inspiration and growth strategies. Companies like Tencent, DiDi and Grab are household names among founders. This makes sense because the market conditions in Mexico and other parts of LatAm resemble China, India and Southeast Asia more than the U.S.

What often happens is entrepreneurs first look to successful startups in the U.S. to emulate and localize. As they find product-market fit, they start to look to Asian tech companies for inspiration while morphing them to suit local needs.

U.S.-Asia-LatAm competition

Knowledge transfer is not the only trend flowing in the U.S.-Asia-LatAm nexus. Competition is afoot as well.Because of similar market conditions, Asian tech giants are directly expanding into Mexico and other LatAm countries. The one I witnessed up close during my visit was DiDi.

DiDi’s foray into LatAm started in January 2018 with its acquisition of 99, a Brazilian ride-sharing company. In April 2018, DiDi entered Mexico with its bread-and-butter ride-sharing service. It wasn’t until April 2019 that DiDi launched its food delivery service, DiDi Food, in Monterrey and Guadalajara — two of the largest cities in Mexico. Its expansion hasn’t slowed down since, with a 10% extra earnings incentive to lure delivery drivers.

Brazilian Fintech Cora Secures $26.7 Million Through Series A Funding Round Led By Ribbit Capital

Brazil-based fintech Cora announced on Monday it raised $26.7 million through its Series A funding round, which was led by Ribbit Capital with participation from  Kaszek Ventures, QED Investors, and Greenoaks Capital. Cora reported that with the latest round of funding, it has secured  $36.7 million.

Crowdfund Insider reports that Cora was created to simplify financial services for small and medium-sized companies, so that self-employed or entrepreneurs may focus on what is most valuable: their time in their business.

The company is planning to use the Series A funds to continue the development of the Cora platform.

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