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帮助银行详细了解贷款者情况,Portal Finance获2亿美元融资

随着波哥大借贷创企Portal Finance拉美的小企业和拉美最大的金融服务机构BTG Pactual签订了2亿美元的借贷联合投资,拉美的小企业又将获得新的助力。

Portal Finance曾获得过150万美元融资,当时其估值为6000万美元。在两年的时间内,它从一个500万美元的借贷试点项目,扩大到如今庞大的2亿美元借贷联合投资。

“一年前,我们公司只有四个人,如今已经有70人。”首席执行官兼联合创始人Diego Caicedo说道。

这家公司的成功印证了许多拉美经济体正在作出改变,以及资本在这一过程中起到的重要作用。在过去几年里,随着哥伦比亚政府和最大反叛组织RAFC(哥伦比亚革命武装力量)的和平谈判,并结束了长达50年的内战,这个国家的经济已经开始有所复苏。

同时Magma Partners这些针对种子轮等早期阶段融资的投资公司也在寻找布宜诺斯艾利斯、波哥大和利马等地区的创业公司,而智利稳定的经济基础也为这些创业公司提供了一个市场去获得发展动力。

Portal Finance这类公司能帮助银行更好地了解寻求贷款者的经济状况,主要包含三种方式:

  1. 它们会通过和保理公司合作,对于急需运营、优化资金,却得不到贷款和股权融资的公司而言,保理公司是它们最后的求助对象;
  2. Portal Finance会通过小企业供应的大公司来了解它们的应收款项;
  3. Portal Finance还会直接接触小企业,搜集额外的信息,从而给贷款发放者提供完整的借贷人经济状况。

Caicedo与Felipe Puntarelli、Nicholas Bohorquez两位联合创始人从Magma Partners那里获取第一笔5万美元的融资时,三个人就构想了这种获得小公司经济状况的“全栈”方法。

其机遇之大,让Charlie Cliff在完全不懂西班牙语的情况下,加入了公司担任首席技术官。Cliff曾是航空领域一个国防项目的承包商。

Caicedo和Cliff最初主要为那些根据应收款项的预期利润,向企业发放贷款的保理公司解决这类问题。这也是2016年Portal Finance向市场里推出的第一个产品。2017年它又推出了新产品,其中包括帮大公司管理向小企业的付款。

Latin American small businesses just got a big boost with a new commitment for a $200 million lending joint venture between the Bogota-based startup Portal Finance and Latin America’s largest financial services institution, BTG Pactual.

For Portal Finance,  the deal with BTG caps a meteoric rise, which has seen the company raise $1.5 million at a $60 million valuation and move from a small $5 million lending pilot to a $200 million deal in the span of two years.

“A year ago we were four guys in a closet. Now we’re 70 people,” says Diego Caicedo, the company’s chief executive and co-founder.

The company’s success is a testament to the changing fortunes of many Latin American economies and the role that venture capital is playing. For the last several years Colombia’s economic fortunes have been rising since the successful conclusion of peace talks with the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, brought an end to 50 years of civil war.

Meanwhile, investment firms like Magma Partners, which led the pre-seed and seed rounds for Portal Finance are linking innovative companies in places like Buenos Aires, Bogota, and Lima with Chile’s stable economic base to provide a market where innovative startups can gain traction.

It’s also a sign of the significant demand for small business loans across Latin America. In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis small businesses found their credit lines pulled as banks refused to take on the risks associated with lending to small businesses.

That left businesses with only supply chain financing and factoring as the only alternatives. With interest rates that are typically between 20% and 50% annually. These rates are being charged even though invoices can be used as collateral and default rates hover at around 1% per year.

Portal Finance, and other companies like it, solve the problem by giving banks a better window into their borrowers finances by tackling the problem from three ways. The first is by working with factoring firms who were the lenders of last resort to companies who needed cash for operations and improvement and could not take out loans or raise equity financing. Second, the company has a window into the receivables of small businesses through the large corporate customers they supply. Finally, the company has reached out to the small businesses themselves to collect additional data, giving lenders a complete view of the borrowers’ financing.

That “full-stack” approach to small business financial statements was the vision that Caicedo had for his company from the moment he and his co-founders Felipe Puntarelli and Nicholas Bohorquez, took their first financing — $50,000 from Magma Partners (a Latin American focused venture capital firm).

The opportunity was so great that he was able to convince his eventual Charlie Cliff, a former defense contractor in the aerospace industry, to come down to Bogota without knowing a single word of Spanish to help jumpstart the business as Chief Technology Officer. Cliff, who was connected to Caicedo through Magma Partners’ managing director and co-founder Nathan Lustig, flew down after three phone calls.

Caicedo and Cliff first tackled the problem for the factoring firms that would lend money to businesses off of the projected income for accounts receivable. It was the first product that Portal Finance brought to market when it launched in 2016.

By 2017, it expanded its products to include an offering for large corporations to help them manage their payments to small businesses.

With that information in hand, Caicedo reached out to financial services firms to set up a lending operation. BTG Pactual agreed to a pilot in Chile in January, and expanded to the $200 million lending joint venture in July that covers both Chile and Colombia.

Caicedo called the program the largest investment in a fintech startup by a Latin American financial services firm. So far, the company has issued 200 loans in Chile and 500 in Colombia. On the heels of that investment, Caicedo says that the company expects to close an additional $2.5 million in financing soon and will be profitable by the end of November.


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