Open Co, Brazil’s first and largest credit fintech, has received a 600 million reais ($104.86 million) investment led by SoftBank Latin America Fund, in which Raiz Investimentos, IFC and LTS also participated, the company said.
The investment is one of this year’s largest involving end-consumer financial services fintechs in Brazil.
Open Co is the result of the merger earlier this year of Geru, a pioneer in online credit in Brazil, and Rebel, which carries out credit analysis using artificial intelligence. In March, Open Co garnered an investment of R$150 million ($26.24 million) in a Series C round led by IFC and Goldman Sachs, and which also included Monashees, Chromo and Sampa.
The funds will be used to expand Open Co’s business, including investment in technology, product, and hiring talent, the company said. Open Co has lent more than R$2.3 billion ($403.1 million) at rates starting at 1.9% per month. The company’s partners include Ame, Americanas’ digital wallet, and Voltz, Energisa’s digital account.
The fintech focuses on customers who face difficulties in accessing credit, which has become more expensive and scarce due to increased interest rates and Brazil’s economic slowdown.
Brazil’s unsecured credit market currently accounts for R$1.1 trillion ($192.6 billion) annually, of which more than R$700 billion ($122.6 billion) corresponds to revolving credit, such as overdraft and credit card debt, and which are the most expensive credit, with rates exceeding 300% per year, according to Open Co. Some 62 million people in Brazil suffer restrictions due to pending credit, the company said.
“With interest rates at the levels we see here, delinquency increases. With the growth of default, interest rates increase even more. It’s a vicious cycle that we want to break,” Sandro Reiss, cofounder of Open Co, said.
Open Co cofounder Rafael Pereira said the funds from the new investment will allow the company to continue offering loans at “fair rates” and in a convenient way for its customers. “We will expand, for example, our partnership model to finance consumption in the ‘buy now pay later’ model,” he said.