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LatAm Tech Weekly: Booming E-Commerce in Latin America & Its Opportunities

This article is part of the LatAm Tech Weekly Series, written by Julia De Luca and powered by Nasdaq. Through Nasdaq’s global network, we partner with Latin American companies to support their entire business lifecycle to elevate their brand and access the global markets. Learn more about Latin American Listings here.

  • Next Tuesday, September 20th, will mark the publication of the much-anticipated "Latin America Digital Transformation Report" published by Atlantico. The report's launch has become an annual tradition in the region (and abroad!), so I am excited to see what the Atlantico team will feature in this year's edition. You can sign up to watch the live presentation and receive a copy of the report at Atlantico.Pub .

  • In-person events are back! Latitud will be hosting its first Vamos LatAm Summit on September 21st. VLS is a full-day event for tech startup founders, investors, and builders from all over Latin America to connect. I will be there, if you are too - don’t be shy, come over and chat!

  • StartSe Payments Revolution Day 2022: I will be there moderating a panel with my good friends for fintech Marvin and Conta Simples. It is also in-person, so if you want to attend, click here to buy tickets.

  • Deal drivers in Brazil, H2 2022: preparing for what is ahead: In-person event which I will also be there moderating a panel on tech investment trends with industry experts. Click here if you are interested.

  • Cubo Itaú, the biggest tech ecosystem in Latin America, is also doing an event on September 28th. CuboConecta is back - and you can join live from anywhere by signing up here. If you are a venture capital fund and would like to join in person, respond to this newsletter!

  • Will you be in NY for LAVCA Week (October 10 - 14)? If yes, respond to this e-mail!

Follow me on LinkedIn Instagram or Twitter for daily updates!

Opinions expressed here are solely my own and does not represent those of people, institutions, organizations that I may or may not be associated with in any capacity, unless explicitly stated.

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Now on to the usual market overview. Last year, 537 unicorns were born. Now, as venture funding slows down -  fewer unicorns are being created each quarter. Q2’22 saw 87 new unicorn births , and just 18 unicorns have emerged in Q3’22 so far. At the current pace, only 27 will be born by the end of the quarter. according to CB Insights.  US and Asia have been most affected by the unicorn slowdown. Surprisingly, Europe, on the other hand, watched its share of total unicorns increase quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) in Q2’22. Looking at the different sectors, fintech has been hit hard, with the largest QoQ decline in new unicorns than any other sector. Meanwhile, digital health has remained resilient.

It's only natural that a tighter funding environment — where investors are not competing as intensely for access to deals — means there will be fewer deals at the unicorn level, making it harder for any given company to achieve a valuation north of $1B.

Shifting gears and focusing on Latin America, this week Tech Crunch released a great article about the e-commerce backdrop and its opportunities in the region. While on the one hand, e-commerce is cursed by high fraud rates in Latin America (Stripe observed that fraud rates at businesses in Latin America were 97% higher than in North America and 222% higher than businesses in the Asia Pacific), on the other it is still growing faster here than in any other region since the pandemic began. A recent study shows that online sales in Latin America will generate USD 379 bn in a 32% year-over-year increase. However, the payments landscape continues to be very fragmented, offering clear opportunity for new players.


Currently, Only 19% of Latin American adults own a credit card, and 70% of credit cards in Brazil, Argentina and Chile can’t be used internationally. Depending on the country, in order to sell online, the merchant needs to integrate with several service providers – apart from the fact that each country has its ideocracies – such as the Brazilian boleto and the Mexican Oxxo payment network. Together, Brazil and Mexico contribute about 60% of total e-commerce volume in Latin America, while Colombia and Chile are growing at a faster pace. And there’s still room for growth: Today, e-commerce only accounts for about 5% of total retail sales in LatAm.

With this scenario, and the absence of a “Stripe-like” player with dominance over the entire region, it seems obvious that there is a huge opportunity for vertically integrated payments orchestration startups. But, the fact is while there are several successful startups offering a part of the payments journey (Compra Rapida and its one click check-out; Protego for chargeback protection, etc) – there are few looking at the whole spectrum as of now (perhaps due to its complexity). When you look at the U.S., for example, Speedly has integrations with more than 100 gateway providers and third-party API endpoints worldwide. Currently, only 10% of its customer are in LatAm. Meanwhile, local startups such as Plug and Retry provide 20-30 integrations.

Is there still room to build a large independent player in the payment orchestration space in Latin America? Perhaps yes. Note that companies like Speedly and Primer are focusing in the U.S. and Europe. It seems that there is still a lot of space in Latin America for a new strong player to emerge. Let’s wait, and see…

Women`s Update: PitchBook's Female Founders Dashboard showed that startups with female founders have raised less capital and completed fewer deals in 2022 than they had by this time in 2021. The momentum that propelled female founders to their best ever year in 2021 is fading quickly, as deal activity is on pace for three consecutive quarters of declines. So far this year, female founders have raised a total of $28.7 billion across 2,496 deals. While that activity lags behind the highs seen last year, 2022 is still on track to be the second-best year on record.


  • Juno, Brazilian payments company previously owned by Ebanx, was acquired by fintech Iugu. While the terms of the transaction were not disclosed, with the merger, Iugu predicts a 50% revenue growth thus becoming more relevant in Brazil.

  • NG Cash, fintech that recently raised a USD10mm seed round with A16z and Monashees just announced Rodin Spielman, fromer CFO of Bemobi and Ideasnet, as their new CFO.

  • Ubii, Venezuelan point of sale device developer raised a seed round of USD 4.5mm with undisclosed investors. The company focuses on financial inclusion through the development of payment solutions.


  • The Brazilian fintech company formerly known as TruePay has announced important changes to its product and its new brand, Tino, reinforcing its commitment to SMB entrepreneurs. The company now serves more than 10 thousand customers with a B2B payment solution that streamlines the commercial relationship between merchants and suppliers.

    The startup, which has raised  BRL 221 million in two rounds in 2021, is moving from receivable as a payment method to receivable as collateral, helping small merchants to better manage their cash flow while unlocking working capital seamlessly and cheaply.

  • Kamino, financial hub for startups in Latin America, announced the expansion of its products: an interest-bearing account and a corporate card with a dynamic limit. 'Kamino Banking' is now available to a group of customers. The card is virtual and accepted for all expenses, including recurring and dollar purchases, such as subscriptions to SaaS (Software as a Service) tools and digital marketing campaigns.

  • Armínio Fraga and Eduardo Mufarej, former CEO of Tarpon Investimentos, are investing USD 2 mm into the startup Gen T, company that aims to set up the largest genetic database in Brazil.

  • Bhub, Brazilian subscription service that aims to replace the back office of small client companies with its accounting, financial management, human resources, and legal assistance services, raised a USD 7.7mm Series A round with funds such as Monashees, Picus Capital, Valor and Norte Ventures.


  • DolarApp, startup that provides a platform and develops a financial application intended to provide access to USD for people in Latin America, raised a USD 5mm seed round with Kaszek, Y Combinator and other undisclosed angels. With DolarApp, users can open a bank account going from peso to dollar dominated stablecoin USD Coin (USDc) and back in seconds. They can also save in USDc, earning 3% annually, and pay with an international Mastercard with up to 4% cash back. In addition, users can send and receive payments in the United States for a flat fee of $3 versus the $3 fee plus 2% charge that other money transfer companies charge.

  • A tokenized fund offering by Securitize is going to make KKR's PE fund available to retail investors. KKR will become the largest private-fund manager to date to tap blockchain technology to make its private equity offering accessible to individual investors. While not directly related to Latin America, the move is interesting and can influence other private fund managers to experiment new ways to expand their footprint.

  • Ebanx is currently present in 15 countries in Latin America – and just announced its new expansion focus: Africa. The plan is to expand globally starting from there as founders believe the region is ripe for opportunity. Operations started in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.


  • TPB Acquisition Corporation I a SPAC sponsored by The Production Board (“TPB”), and Lavoro Limited, a leading agricultural inputs retailer in Latin America, announced that they have entered into a definitive business combination agreement that will result in Lavoro becoming a US publicly listed company.  Lavoro is Brazil’s largest agricultural inputs retailer and a leading provider of agriculture biologics inputs; enabling farmers to adopt breakthrough technology and boost productivity. Upon listing, Lavoro will become the first US-listed pure-play Latin American agricultural inputs retailer.

  • Nubank announced that it will discontinue its listed Brazilian Depository Receipts (BDR) Level 3. These Brazilian investors will be migrated to BDR Level 1 or to the primary U.S. stock. There is no cash-out involved. The cited rationale is to reduce the “reporting” complexity that Level 3 requires under Brazilian regulation – such as, for example, quarterly detailed filings (ITRs) in BRL. However, the cost benefits of no longer having to comply with this requirement were not quantified by the company. Local regulators will have to approve the change.


  • Coinbase executives met with Renato Dias de Brito Gomes, Brazilian Central Bank Director to, among other things, discuss about the regulation of cryptocurrencies in Brazil. According to the Central Bank of Brazil, the meeting aimed to "deal with matters of organization of the financial system", Among the points discussed on the agenda was the regulation of the cryptocurrency market in Brazil. In a statement made earlier this year, the company highlighted that Brazil is a key part of its global expansion plan for the company and that the country is an important technology hub for the entire region.

On another note

What did I learn from readers?

I received a great article on Embedded Finance from a reader : Bain’s Matt Harris, Blake Adams, Jeff Tijssen, and Adam Davis put out a great overview of the revolution in banking as a service. Embedded Finance: What It Takes to Prosper in the New Value Chain it outlines how integrating payments and lending services into online products (1) creates better user experiences, (2) opens new revenue opportunities, and (3) increases global GMV. A recommended read for any digital goods or services providers.

What am I reading?

What did I listen/watch?

Incognia is now two years old!! Watch here the video of my friend and founder, Andre Ferraz, talking about the Company`s accomplishments and what lies ahead. I am sure they are only in the beginning.

Quote of the week:

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.” - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Originally published on my Substack.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Julia De Luca

Julia De Luca is part of the investment banking team focused on tech coverage at Itau BBA. With more than 10 years of experience in finance, her focus is to connect global players to the Latin American tech ecosystem – with content, intel and opportunities. Julia co-authored the book Brazil Fintech and constantly writes columns on the topics of open banking, venture capital investment, regulation and LatAm tech trends. Julia started her career as Global Investor Relations at Gávea Investimentos and also spent a couple of years at Stone Co. She holds a degree in Economics from Pontificia Universidade Católica (PUC-Rio). She is also a columnist at MIT Tech Review, ION and Inteligencia Financeira.

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