Day Five of FinovateFall Digital featured our Power Panel: Latin America – The Future of Fintech and the Dawn of a New Opportunity. Participating in the conversation were Christopher Carmine, Director of Development, FinTech Connector; Laura González-Estéfani, founder and CEO of TheVentureCity; and Manuel Silva, Partner and Head of Investments for Santander InnoVentures.
The panelists, led by moderator Greg Palmer, discussed the biggest opportunities in Latin America presently, emphasizing that fintechs should focus on local issues rather than on big technology themes. They noted that Latin America has a great deal of variation and that it is problematic to discuss the region without focusing on the differences between nations as well as within nations. They also pointed to the low number of “banked” Latin Americans (approximately 30%) and examined ways to bring this number up.
Among the areas of opportunity, the panelists underscored remittances – noting that the corridor between the U.S. and Mexico is one of the biggest in the world. Helping small businesses get their operations running with sound basic business management services was also talked about, as was the challenge of overcoming outdated financial infrastructure. “If you understand the particularities of the market, and understand that it is a work in progress,” González-Estéfani said, “it is a land of opportunity, indeed.”
Turkey is the King of Cryptocurrencies in the Middle East according to a report from Chainalysis. The 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report, published this month, noted that Turkey has the highest total transaction volume in cryptocurrencies in the MENA region. The report cites volatility in the country’s currency, the lira, as helping encourage more savers to adopt cryptocurrencies as an option to maintain their wealth.
The cryptocurrency market in the Middle East is not large. In fact, it is the smallest in the world second only to Africa’s. And while Turkey tops the list in MENA, it ranks 29th out of 154 countries in the Global Crypto Adoption Index. The report notes that Turkey currently has no cryptocurrency regulations, although the country’s Capital Markets Board is developing a framework.
Here is our look at fintech around the world.
Central and Southern Asia
- Pakistan introduces online banking solution for expatriates, the Rohsan Digital Account.
- Indian e-commerce deals website CashKaro raises $10 million in Series B.
- Dialog Axiata, a mobile operator based in Sri Lanka, adopts the country’s national QR code to enable payments at more than 50,000 merchants.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Digital identity leader Jumio brings its identity verification technology to Latin American delivery startup Rappi.
- Oyster founder and CEO Vilash Poovala makes the case for a fintech operating system for Mexican SMEs. The company raised $14 million in seed funding this week.
- dlocal, a cross-border payment solutions provider based in Uruguay, becomes the region’s latest unicorn courtesy of an $200 million investment round led by General Atlantic.
- U.S. and Vietnam-based fintech Fvndit raises $30 million in debt financing to support its P2P lending company, eLoan.
- Malaysia’s Merchanttrade acquires digital remittance service provider Valyou.
- Philippines-based fintech JazzyPay secures $500,000 in seed funding.
- Nigeria’s OPay partners with WorldRemit to offer mobile money transfers.
- TechCabal looks at the relationship between the growing influence of China on sub-Saharan Africa’s fintech industry.
- Disrupt Africa profiles Kenyan fintech startup Zagace, which offers business management solutions via API to micro-businesses.
Central and Eastern Europe
- Polish e-commerce platform Allegro readies for the country’s – and the region’s – biggest IPO.
- German microlender Monedo files for bankruptcy.
- Polish fintech Kontomatik announces new investors: Runa Capital and Amadeus Capital Partners.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Wallet Factory and areeba team up to launch mobile wallet Zaky in Lebanon.
- Israel-based cybersecurity startup Team8 unveils parallel platform, Team8 Fintech, to invest in early stage companies.
- Dubai-based Buy Now Pay Later company Spotii goes live on Microsoft AppSource.