Mexico City — Mexican fintech startup Aviva has raised $2.2 million in a pre-seed round, one of the largest at that stage in Latin America this year, and which has been a difficult year for raising capital.
The round was led by the Mexican fund Wollef, with the participation of Argentine fund Newtopia VC, Swiss fund and accelerator Seedstars International Ventures, as well as 500 Startups and Mexico’s Xtraordinary VP, as well as a dozen angel investors from across Latin America.
Aviva seeks to be a neobank that serves the bottom of the pyramid, meaning that, unlike other banks in the market, Aviva is not looking to capture already banked customers that are served by traditional banking, but rather offers services to an underserved market, co-founder and general partner of Wollef Ventures, Cristóbal Perdomo, told Bloomberg Línea.
This investment makes it the third largest pre-seed round in Latin America in the second half of 2022, behind only Colombia’s BiaEnergy, which raised $6 million, and Mexico’s OneCarNow, which raised $2.3 million.
With the capital raised, the company aims to strengthen its credit origination system based on an experience that uses computer vision and natural language, in addition to deploying a phygital (physical-digital) acquisition network in cities with fewer than 500,000 inhabitants, and issuing the Aviva credit card designed for the under 10,000-peso ($500) monthly income segment, which has a potential market of more than 50 million Mexicans.
Aviva’s founders include Filiberto Castro and David Hernández, who previously managed credit portfolios at Scotiabank and Citi respectively, in addition to leading the growth, risk and data science offices of Mexican lending unicorn Konfio.
Filiberto Castro said in a statement that people excluded from the financial system are also being cut off from the possibility of credit by some fintechs that, while offering loans to people who are unbanked, do so “with predatory interest rates”.
Aviva seeks to combine the physical and digital worlds, combining three-square-meter kiosks that house video call booths for customers to apply for credit of up to 15,000 pesos ($750) and receive a response within five minutes via video call.
The fintech focuses on customers with little or no access to formal financing, and with low use or knowledge of technological tools, and who also live outside large metropolitan areas.
As of August 2022, Aviva has opened a first kiosk in Chalco de Díaz, a municipality of Mexico state, followed by one in Ixtapaluca and another in Texcoco, municipalities in the same state on the periphery of Mexico City.