Colombia has strengthened its position as the third fintech ecosystem in Latin America over the past years, right behind Mexico and Brazil. With a 61 percent growth reported last year, the Colombian ecosystem features one of the most interesting behaviors on the continent in terms of financial technologies.
The 47 fintech startups launched in Colombia, in 2017, have been mainly developed in sectors related to Payments and Remittances, Loans, Management of Entrepreneurial Finances and Crowdfunding, according to the latest sectorial study (Radar Colombia) conducted by Finnovista accelerator. Such segments as Payments and Remittances have been doubled, while Crowdfunding has reported an 83 percent growth and Loans has gone 69 percent up over the past year. According to this report, Colombia offers a “frenetic activity” that buttresses its third position as the biggest fintech market in Latin America, behind Mexico (238 startups) and Brazil (230 startups).
When comparing it with the main two fintech markets in the region, the three segments with the highest number of fintech startups are similar in the three countries: Payments and Remittances, Loans, Management of Entrepreneurial Finances. Nevertheless, Loans (23percent) is the biggest segment in Mexico, while this segment occupies the second position in Colombia (17percent), which could represent an opportunity to grow in the country over the next years, due to the low financial inclusion rates and penetration of credits to small and middle-sized businesses and people in Mexico and Colombia.
The truth is that, over the past years, such organizations as Colombia Fintech are helping boost the sector, since they are aware of its important growth and influence in the country’s economy. This entity’s goal is the creation of a fintech ecosystem that favors financial inclusion, the development of products and competition, within the framework of the law. Moreover, entities like Spanish BBVA bank have launched a contest to identify the best fintech entrepreneurs in Colombia. Whoever wins this competition at nation level will later face startups from around the world.
All in all, Colombia features a young market, with most of recently-created startups (43 percent were launched within the past 2-5 years and 34 percent are younger than 2 years), while only 23 percent have over 5 years of experience. Most of these startups are made up of less than 10 employees (70 percent) and only 6.6 percent count on more than 50 workers. We have handpicked five Colombian startups that are innovating the financial technology sector in Latin America. They truly show the Colombian ecosystem’s evolution, which is characterized by its creativeness, dynamism and entrepreneurship.
Bankity is a service that helps control finances by automatically visualizing your budget and expenses per such categories as transportation, entertainment, food, etc. So far, the “app” created by Diego Alejandro Guzman and Julian Velez, two Medellin-born entrepreneurs, has over 60,000 users and four million transactions registered. The application is available for Android and iOS. In October 2017, its product portfolio was increased with the introduction of a smart credit card compatible with Bankity, which is described as the first credit card that fully targets the digital realm.
The idea aims at helping people be aware of their balance, the amount they have spent, in which products/services they have spent their money and the interests to be paid by the users per each purchase. Diego Alejandro Guzman and Julian Velez, CEO and CTO of Bankity respectively, were included among the 10 finalists of ‘Everywhere Initiative’, Visa’s contest to revolutionize the financial system in terms of its electronic payment segment.
Platiti manages the turnover of small and middle-sized businesses and offers such financial services as credits, factoring, sales of trade and portfolio recovery. This Colombian startup supports small and middle-sized businesses in an effort to improve the control of cash flow by managing the turnover since the very beginning of the trade relation, suggesting and checking business terms and managing payments. Platiti.co was conceived and created by entrepreneurs as a free collaborative web platform, in a bid to create strategic trade relations and generate sustainable growth.
Ualet is an app that allows users to invest and save in different types of assets managed by the best professionals, by creating efficient portfolios depending on the profile. Colombian Ualet startup was the winner of the FINNOSUMMIT Pitch Competition hosted by Bogota back in March. It was described as the most innovative startup in South America, in a contest where it had 55 rival startups. The competition took place within the framework of the FINNOSUMMIT event, which gathered several figures related to the financial digital ecosystem and is backed up by Canadian Scotiabank.
Is an online platform that allows small and middle-sized businesses to request a $5-150 million revolving credit, so they can get credits to be paid within a twelve-month period. The advantage provided by this Bogota-created platform is that the entire process can be done online, so entrepreneurs do not have to walk away from their office, by scanning documents and sending electronic signatures. Gulungo mainly targets small and middle-sized companies with at least 18 months of operations and VAT, sales and rent reports to Dian. Since the startup took its first steps back in September 2017, it has already had contacts with two thousand small and middle-sized businesses and it looks forward to totaling 100 credits granted by the end of the year. They are presently working on a mobile app that allows them to make a credit pre-endorsement in 24 hours.
This startup created in Cali is a digital financial consultant that combines technology and financial planning, thus providing a step-by-step guide to help users make better decisions with their finances. Tranqui offers customized tools and recommendations that help people improve their credit profile, debt management, budget and credit access. In October 2017, they won the Pitch Competition held within the framework of the Fintech conference that took place in Bogota and was attended by eight startups chosen among over 135 from the whole Latin America.