In an interview with Karen Webster, Vilash Poovala - founder and CEO of portfolio company Oyster - discusses how financial platforms, powered by open banking, can serve as alternatives for business banking in Mexico.
Emerging markets have their own challenges when it comes to banking, where big, traditional financial institutions (FIs) are anything but efficient. “The world doesn’t need another bank,” Poovala told Webster. “The world needs a FinTech operating system.” There’s a niche for Oyster to fill, with some low-hanging fruit in debit transactions. Simply put, according to Poovala, banks do not view debit cards as part of their core suite of offerings. He also cited “banks’ aversion to taking on risk and fraud” in a proactive manner that leads them to create and promote new card offerings. For the traditional FIs, evolution is slow, he said, in what has traditionally been a “swipe” market, and where in a swipe market, fraud has traditionally been borne by the issuer. Looking ahead — and with $14 million in hand from a recent capital raising — Oyster’s near-term plans include obtaining a full banking license in Mexico, offering at least some forms of credit product geared toward SMBs, and forming partnerships with banks, although the focus for now will be on the direct-to-consumer/direct-to-business customer relationship. "The way we see ourselves is as a financial hub,” Poovala told Webster, adding that “when we underwrite these businesses, we can sell them more financial products like credit, connect them to invoicing solutions, and make it really easy for them to understand their business’ mechanics on Oyster.”