Argentina-based Fintech firm Uala will reportedly be investing $150 million over the upcoming 18 months in order to support its virtual banking business, primarily in Mexico and Colombia. This, according to company CEO Pierpaolo Barbieri (whose comments came during a recent interview with Reuters).
The Fintech company, which has a valuation of around $2.5 billion, is planning to further expand its client base at least 5x to about 25-30 million consumers within the next 5 years, from approximately 5 million customers currently in Latin American markets.
Barbieri stated at the companies offices in Buenos Aires:
“In the next 18 months alone we are going to invest $150 million more in growth. Most of those funds are going to be destined to push growth in Mexico and Colombia.”
Uala acquired Argentina-based virtual banking firm Wilobank during this year and has also invested $80 million in order to conduct operations in Colombia. This after finalizing a funding round for $350 million last year and acquiring Mexican bank ABC Capital.
“In a market context where others are cutting investment, we are expanding because we already have the capital.”
He added that the company was looking to expand its financial offerings into debit cards, loans, investments, as well as insurance.
Key investors in Uala reportedly include China’s tech firm Tencent and Japan’s SoftBank.
Uala, which is competing for market share with Brazil’s Nubank, Mexico’s Stori and MercadoLibre payment unit Mercado Pago is planning to tap into Latin America’s unbanked population.
“Latin America is 20% digitized against 50% in Europe and 70% in China. I know that digitization will continue. It seems to me a great shortfall of Latin America’s democracies that we have so many people outside the system. In 10 years there will be no people outside the financial system.”