General Manager, Banco Finandina
The main challenge of transforming from a successful car niche company into a bank was to establish ourselves not as a traditional bank, but a digital bank. There is a huge opportunity to implement technologies where the client is at the center. The main challenge is how we digitize the current model and create new niches, products, and segments with a 100% digital model. It is also important to not neglect the traditional model in the process of digital transformation. If our allies are not ready to make the digital transformation, we have to do a step-by-step process of transformation with them in mind in which we help them understand that digital sales processes are much more efficient for all parties involved. We have two main strategies to improve financial inclusion: using fintech to create networks and bring transactional capabilities closer to people while generating greater transparency in operations; and the creation of financial tools that facilitate the life of the entrepreneur or the people that generate an integral part of financial movements. We made the decision to move the bank from the financial center to a place closer to our workers in order to avoid a greater carbon footprint. Colombia’s future is not clear due to the elections but it is important that bankers maintain an optimistic vision and continue to undertake new projects.
General Partner, Ventures EPM
Ventures EPM has consolidated its strategy and positioning since 2013. Our first fund, FCP Innovación, made its debut investment in 2014. The first year was a learning curve for our investor in the best possible sense. After our first two investments, we subsequently averaged three investments per year, and, as a result, have closed eight investments in total, moving us closer to our mid-2018 objective of having between 10 to 11 investments. The experience of the fund for EPM, our sole Limited Partner, has been positive. It saw a high strategic value in the companies we have invested in and is considering enlarging the fund by USD10 million. On top of that, we are structuring a second fund for USD50 million. We have analyzed 530 opportunities to date, which is well within the average number for a VC fund. We have invested in eight opportunities, and if we talk about the mix in the 530, it is dominated by two types of industries: ICTs and energy technologies. Our main priority for 2018 is to receive confirmation from EPM if we are effectively extending the fund. Should this happen, we will then deploy USD8-10 million in two to three investments. The focus would be to have all our companies on our portfolio meeting and exceeding their business goals and attracting other funds and strategic buyers.
Co-Founder & CEO Latam, José Vélez
We have been doing what many payment companies worldwide have done, which is to expand regionally through mergers and acquisitions to gain scale and geographic coverage. We currently operate in seven countries in Latin America. With those countries, we cover 80-85% of e-commerce in the region. We are the only company in Latin America that has a single platform to operate in those countries allowing us to provide our services to global and regional companies, allowing region-wide payments through one single contract and one account manager. We are starting to move from pure payments into credit to leverage our information and network; payment companies worldwide are eyeing a great opportunity to move into credit and participate in fintech. We are also innovating to develop the sector. A year ago, we started a service where consumers can buy products online and choose not to pay for 14 days for a small fee. Such strategies will enable us to move from payments into being a more comprehensive fintech player. From a Colombian perspective, we truly want to get involved in the field of credit for merchants. Our objective on the consumer side with our buy-now-pay-later product is to ensure that it is profitable from a microeconomic point of view; we want to grow it 10-fold.
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