It’s not uncommon these days to hear from US-based investors supporting Latin American startups.
But it’s not every day that we hear about Latin American venture capitalists investing in US-based startups.
Berkeley-based fintech Flourish has raised $ 1.5 million in a funding round led by Brazilian venture capital firm Canary. Founded by Pedro Moura and Jessica Eting, the startup offers an “engagement and financial well-being” solution for banks, fintechs and credit unions to help them engage and retain customers.
Also participating in the round were Xochi Ventures, First Check Ventures, Magma Capital and GV Angels as well as strategic angels including Rodrigo Xavier (former CEO of Bank of America in Brazil), Beth Stelluto (formerly of Schwab), Gustavo Lasala (chairman and CEO of the People Fund) and Brian Requarth (founder of Viva Real).
With clients in the United States, Bolivia and Brazil, Flourish has developed a solution that includes three main modules:
- A rewards engine designed to entice users to save or invest money
- A smart, automated micro-savings feature where users can create personalized rules (such as transferring $ 15 to a rainy day fund whenever their favorite sports team wins)
- A financial literacy module, where personal financial transactions and spending habits are turned into a question and answer game.
In the United States, Flourish began by testing end-user mechanisms with organizations such as CommonWealth and OpportunityFund. In 2019, he released a B2C version of the Flourish app (called the Flourish Savings app) as a pilot for its banking platform, which can integrate with banks via an SDK or API. It’s also now licensing its engagement technology to banks, retailers and fintechs across the Americas. Flourish has tested or licensed his solution to US-based credit unions, Sicoob (Brazil’s largest credit union), and BancoSol in Bolivia.
The startup earns money through a partnership model focused on user activation and engagement.
The two immigrants, Moura and Eting met during the MBA program at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Moura emigrated from Brazil to the United States as a teenager, while Etting is the daughter of a Filipino father and mother of Mexican descent.
The couple bonded with their shared mission of building a business that has empowered people to build positive financial habits and understand their finances.
Currently, the 11-person team is working in the United States, Mexico and Brazil. He plans to use his new capital to increase his number of clients in LatAm, make more hires and develop new functionalities for the Flourish platform.
In particular, he plans to then focus on Brazilian market, and will operate in a few selected countries of the Americas.
“There are three things that make Latin America, and Brazil in particular, attractive to us right now,” Moura said. “Currently, the B2B financial technology market is still in its infancy. This, combined with open banking regulation and the need for more responsible products, offers Flourish a unique opportunity in Brazil. “