Looking for synergies, scale and new opportunities, Latin American fintechs are expanding into neighboring territories. But it can be a difficult path.
Cross-border growth is a decision that is often associated with opportunities. A few weeks ago, the Uruguayan unicorn expanded its operational portfolio in Africa, adding 26 countries and 3 continents. The accelerated push in recent months, as explained by the executive from her headquarters in Montevideo, had much to do with the pandemic and the sudden changes it brought to e-commerce. “Each market works differently, it has different rules. It is a difficult job that, although we are focused on this, opening in a new market is not an easy task. There is no such thing as a soft landing,” said Candelaria Rodriguez, business developer at dLocal. Centeo, a Mexican credit fintech for small and medium enterprises, created jointly by Zinobe, a Colombian loan startup, and Mexarrend, a Mexican leasing company is an example of the power of collaboration. The joint venture arose from Zinobe’s interest in operating outside of Colombia. “Zinobe has seen that expanding has its risks and complications, and you should always have a very clear strategy and do it together with a local partner,” says Matthew Meehan, CEO of Centeo.