Back to Blog

Investors Flock to Mexican Neobanks; Ant Financial, Ali Baba Ink Pact with ICBC

The challenger bank revolution is alive and well in Mexico. This week, three upstart financial institutions in the Latin American country were the recipients of a combined $20+ million in funding. The investments are a testament to the way local entrepreneurs are seizing the opportunity to provide banking services to a growing number of previously underbanked people in Mexico.

For some observers, Mexican banks have long been ripe for disruption. A 2017 feature in The Financial Times cited a Gallup poll in which more than three in four customers in Mexico were “indifferent to, or unhappy with their bank.” The same article noted that challenger banks and other fintechs could take as much as 30% of the Mexican banking market in the next ten years due to inefficiencies in the current banking system. Incumbents have also been criticized for a lack of outreach to the underbanked, to younger potential customers, and to the digitally savvy.

Check out Thiago Paiva’s in-depth look at the Mexican neobank market – and how some incumbents are fighting back – published at TechCrunch this fall. Paiva is product manager at Oyster, a challenger bank for Latin American SMEs.

Here’s our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Trulioo goes live with its GlobalGateway in Nigeria and Ghana.
  • Disrupt-Africa looks at the expansion and fundraising plans of South African payments startup Airbuy.
  • Kenyan insurtech firm Turaco closes $2.1 million seed funding round.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Wefox, an insurtech based in Berlin, Germany, locks in $110 million extension to its Series B round.
  • Based in Latvia and founded in Russia, Robocash announces plans to raise $5 million in funding over the next six month to support expansion to SE Asia.
  • An AML startup founded by former workers at TransferWise and Skype, Estonia’s Salv has raised $2 million in seed funding.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • National Bank of Fujairah, based in the UAE, readies for the launch of its new SME banking platform.
  • Oman’s Bank Muscat introduces $100 million fintech investment program.
  • UAE fintech FlexxPay locks in an investment from Wamda.

Central and Southern Asia

  • ZestMoney, an Indian fintech specializing in providing credit assessment and financing for the underbanked, raises $14 million as part of an extended Series B round featuring participation by Goldman Sachs.
  • Delhi, India-based SME lender LivFin secures in $5 million in growth funding.
  • What can Central Asian companies learn from Southeast Asia when it comes to building a fintech industry?

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican neobank Albo adds $17 million to its Series A, taking the round’s total to more than $26 million.
  • Flink, a Mexico-based challenger bank, receives seed funding from Spanish fintech Latina.
  • Challenger bank Fondeadora reels in $2.5 million in funding.


  • Ant Financial and Alibaba ink strategic payments partnership with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
  • Hong Kong’s WeLab picks up $156 million to fund its digital bank launch in 2020.
  • ZA Bank pilots internet-only banking services in Hong Kong, the first FI to do so in the city.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik