The Business Year

Ángel Sahagún

Founder, ALBO

Ricardo Suárez

CEO & Co-Founder, WEEX

With 60% of adults in Mexico without an active bank account, initiatives by the government and central bank have helped companies with fintech solutions to succeed.

What opportunities in the market drove you to start the company?

ÁNGEL SAHAGíšN We created albo because we wanted to change the way people handled their finances. One in two people in Mexico is not satisfied with their current bank. Dealing with finances can be expensive, inefficient, or overwhelming. We saw an opportunity to improve the way people manage their money. Through technology, we can improve everyone’s financial lives. Every day, we open thousands of accounts because albo replaces one’s traditional bank account. We offer a debit Mastercard that can receive salaries and transfers. The account can be opened online in three minutes. We want to launch new financial products in the future, like savings, credit, and personal loans. We started two years ago and are on new products as we speak. Our goal is to change the way people do banking.

RICARDO SUÁREZ We founded WEEX to be a digital services hub. Of the industries we inquired into, telecommunications was full of opportunities. Around three or four years ago, the Mexican market was 85% prepaid, and people were limited in terms of mobile access to data, which is why we decided to get into the industry. We decided to start the MDNO, a model that is about segmentation and very specific differentiated value proposition. We were close with our target, which is how we came to the value proposition we have today. If you have any of the traditional operators, they decide how that service is divided. Now we give them each a menu of options; therefore, each user can create their own bundles based on their lifestyle and disposable income. In terms of MDNOs, we are the most differentiated in the market with a specific value proposition. That value proposition has been disruptive in the market, and moving forward we are working on new offerings and the evolution of what we have right now.

What differentiates you from other similar companies?

ÁS We want to create a product that gives everyone access to better rates and better credit without hidden fees. We want to make the process more transparent and efficient through mobile phones. We also focus on providing a great customer experience, which is why we have 24/7 customer support. There are more than 120 million people here, and only 40% of that has a bank account. albo has solved this need by allowing everyone to open an account for free from their mobiles. We have more than 60,000 customers per month using our product, and we are growing 20% month on month, so we are extremely excited. The market needs something like albo, where people can manage their money effortlessly without hidden fees.

RS We have the wallet that has the most traction in the market because it is more complete, and we have debit and credit cards. We also have peer-to-peer payments. Customers can buy cinema tickets and many other things. We have one of the largest networks of venues where users can top up. At the moment, it is more complete, and we are working on more functionality features.

What changes does the regulatory framework for fintech companies in Mexico need?

ÁS The government understands that one needs to invest in technology to create business models and financial products to access the millions of people that are currently satisfied by the current model. However, the bureaucracy is also painful in some aspects. Generally, the fintech laws are great news for everyone. It is great that the government is pushing initiatives such as CoDi, the digital payment platform. There will be many new competitors and foreign investors looking at the Mexican market. I am pleased and excited for the future of Mexico in the fintech sector.

What are your main priorities for 2019?

RS For mobile we are working on a new offering, and the telecom space is being commoditized. If companies do not start looking to other services to differentiate their offerings, it will be tough. This launch will be differentiated for the market on the telecom side. On the financial side, we are looking at new features and functionalities that will be important for our users. We have a product road map we are working on, and in terms of fintech we have a high growth expectation and goals. In terms of mobile it will not be that high, but we will continue to grow.



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