Nubank, the Brazilian digital bank, raised a $52m Series C, led by Founders Fund. Sequoia Capital, Kaszek Ventures and Tiger Global Management. The new investment values Nubank at ~$500m.
On the surface, backing Nubank may seem to be a counterintuitive move as many institutional investors have fled Latin America’s largest economy in recent years, and its gross domestic product has decreased for three straight quarters. Mr. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, has a reputation for going against the grain. But Founders Funds notes on its website that being contrarian “does not mean simply doing the opposite of what the majority does.” Rather, the company says, “The most contrarian thing to do is to think independently.” Taking on Brazil’s financial establishment is certainly that. Nubank, which was founded by a former Sequoia Capital partner, David Velez, and provides a digital credit card for smartphones, is trying to take customers away from Brazil’s highly profitable banks, which have long seemed untouchable.