MIAMI – The potential for “fintech” in Latin America is significant because it’s still “early days” and so it is “essential to work with all these entrepreneurs” who are leading the transformation, Visa Fintech Engagement vice president Arnoldo Reyes told EFE.
Reyes said that Visa is playing the role of “orchestra conductor” in “bringing all players to the table” as part of its “open cooperation strategy” to create payment solutions and electronic commerce in Latin America involving fintech, banks and businesses.
He emphasized the “robust growth” over the past year of financial technology companies – or fintech – in the region, evidence of which is the more than 400 companies participating this year in the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) for Latin America, which was won on the weekend by Culqi, a Peruvian online payment platform.
Reyes said that other good indicators of this great “entrepreneurial spirit” are Brazil’s online bank Nubank and Colombia’s Rappi delivery application, the first two “unicorn” companies in Latin America, that is, startups that have been valued at $1 billion.
He said that the many innovative ideas are each designed to “solve something very different,” like Chatty, a communications channel employing artificial intelligence for use by firms and their customers.
He also mentioned other online payment platforms like El Salvador’s Pagadito, which allows companies to sell and accept payment via the Internet.
Visa is important in this ecosystem, he said, because it’s at the “epicenter” of financial institutions, businesses and consumers, with all of whom it is working “aggressively.”
Reyes said it’s the wave of the future, because “any kind of company that’s starting up is going to need ... payment transactions all the time.”
Although Culqi won the VEI this year, there were 12 finalists from assorted companies in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico.
Reyes urged new participants to submit their ideas to Visa with the expectation that they will be taken into account.
He attended the presentation of the finalists as part of the Finnosummit, the key Latin American forum for startups and fintech that is being held for the second time in Miami, adding that more than 2,000 companies from all over the world have participated in the VEI program, created by Visa in 2015.