Nubank, the Brazilian Fintech, Hits a Purple Patch

Brazilian fintech startup Nubank has added three million users since August this year.

Speaking at the Brazil Investment Forum in Sao Paulo, Nubank founder and CEO David Vélez said the fintech now had 15 million users.

Credit cards have predominantly contributed to this torrid growth.  Nearly 10 million out of the above 15 million users are holders of Nubank’s cards.

Founded in 2013, the startup is said to be the largest fintech startup in Latin America. It has doubled its user base since October 2018.

[Related Story:  The Revolut unicorn, a disruptive force in banking]

Nubank’s purple cards are well-known

Brazilians love Nubank’s purple, free-of-charge credit cards, which were once the bank’s sole and first product.

Moreover, the fintech has also expanded its operations to Argentina and Mexico.

However, credit cards are not its only line of business. It now offers bank accounts, credit lines to individuals, and services to small businesses.

According to Vélez, its interest rates on direct credit lines to consumers are at least 30% to 40% lower than Brazilian mainstream banks.

Also, the startup says on its website that in Brazil, people pay the highest fees and interest rates in the world for the worst banking services.

According to one report, 55 million people in Brazil do not have a bank account. Further, the top five banks in Brazil, led by Itaú Unibanco, control about 82 percent of banking assets. In June this year, Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said: “Banks’ profits are huge, they are really excessive.” He also complained that large sectors of the economy, including banking were ‘cartelized.’

“We know that technology and design can solve this problem,” Nubank says on its website referring to the standard of banking services in Brazil.

Top-notch investors

Nubank counts Sequoia Capital and China’s Tencent Holdings amongst its investors.

US investment firm TCV led the fintech’s $400 million fund-raising in July this year. The fintech was TCV’s first major Latin American investment. Previous contributors including Tencent, DST Global, Sequoia Capital, Dragoneer, Ribbit Capital and Thrive Capital also participated in the funding round,

According to the Wall Street Journal, the round valued Nubank at over $10 billion.

[Related Story: German Fintech and Digital Bank N26 Gets a $3.5 Billion Valuation]

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