Bloomberg — Marco Financial, a startup providing loans and other services to exporters in Latin America, received a $200 million credit facility that it will use to grow its trade-finance business.
The Miami-based financial-technology platform said MidCap Financial Investment Corp. and Castlelake LP are providing the credit, while Arcadia Funds LLC led an $8 million equity injection.
Founded by a former importer of Uruguayan beef and an ex-sales executive at tech companies, Marco said it has financed more than $250 million of deals in Latin America in the last two years. Peter Spradling, who ran the import business, said Marco’s rapid growth demonstrates the depth of unmet demand for financing from exporters, particularly small businesses.
“Anything associated with Latin America was just seen as being riskier,” Spradling, Marco’s chief operating officer, said in an interview.
Foreign banks and local lenders have pulled back from lending to small- and medium-sized exporters after tougher regulations were put in place following the 2008 financial crisis. That’s left a financing gap of roughly $2 trillion globally, including at least $350 billion in Latin America, according to surveys by the Asian Development Bank.
Marco has set a goal of completing $750 million worth of deals by the end of this year. In addition to loans, it provides services such as creating LLCs, buyer credit checks and cargo insurance, said Jacob Shoihet, the chief executive officer who comes from a sales background with stints at Yelp Inc. and Groupon Inc. He and Spradling co-founded the company three years ago.
Marco now has more than 60 employees and offices in Montevideo and New York. It’s focused on agriculture, manufacturing and wholesale trade companies in Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.
It will likely seek a new round of equity investments within the next year and a half that will value it around $150 million to $200 million, Shoihet said. Marco’s growth comes as other companies have begun to move into trade finance, which is starting to be seen as less of a risk in Latin America.
Marco’s portfolio has not registered a loss since its inception, he said.
“We think we’re at the right place at right time,” Shoihet said. “Hopefully we’ll start to see a shift in sentiment in the region as a whole.”
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