Bloomberg Línea — Argentine Julian Colombo worked for two decades at Santander, during which time he held leadership positions in several Latin American countries and at the bank’s head office in Spain, and during his tenure was responsible for areas such as products and corporate customer service, before leaving the bank with a new business in mind, aimed at addressing what he identified as one of the main opportunities in the segment he knows so well: the use of software in financial operations.
N5, the business that Colombo created together with other former banking executives, has closed a Series A round, of an undisclosed amount, with participation from Illuminate Capital, a venture capital company whose limited partners include some of the world’s largest financial institutions, such as J.P. Morgan, Citi, Barclays, BNY Mellon, S&P Global and Jefferies.
The amount raised was eight times the total sought, Colombo told Bloomberg Línea.
Other investors include Exor Ventures, the venture investment arm of Exor, a holding company controlled by the Agnelli family and a shareholder in Ferrari and Stellantis; Madrone Capital Partners, a company owned by Walmart’s Walton family; and Overboost, a venture builder.
In Brazil, LTS Investments, the investment holding company of the families of Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira; and Arpex Capital, the investment company of André Street and Eduardo Pontes, co-founders of Stone, also took part in the round.
The main product developed by N5 on a proprietary basis is a platform that integrates hundreds and even thousands of pieces of software needed by a financial institution, such as CRMs, BPMs and Omnichannels.
N5 is Argentine and is present in that country, and in Brazil - where the founder and CEO lives - and in 13 other markets, including Chile, Peru, Paraguay and Panama, as well as the United States.
Mastercard, Santander, Credicorp Bank, Zurich, Banco Atlas and Credicorp Bank are among its clients and its plan is to enter another nine markets in the coming months.
The company is growing by 200% a year and plans to end 2023 with a 60% increase in the size of its team, which essentially operates on a remote working model.
According to N5, the use of the platform enables gains of 53% in productivity and a 16% reduction in distribution costs, as well as an improvement in the NPS (Net Promoter Score).
Colombo, who is N5′s CEO and main shareholder, told Bloomberg Línea that traditional banks that have been operating for decades face a particular challenge: making the transition from legacy systems to new ones, something that digital natives generally don’t have to do. And this represents opportunities in the market.
“We are seeing an exponential increase in demand, which exceeds our most optimistic forecasts. In regions where we don’t yet operate, our access list has grown significantly, with customers asking for our platform in advance,” Colombo said.
“We understood that it was time to team up with great partners with the expertise that will allow us to serve these customers faster and keep pace with our global growth,” Colombo said.