Contxto – The speculations were true; the Japanese conglomerate Softbank has invested US$231 million in the Brazilian fintech startup, Creditas. The round set the company’s valuation at US$750 million post-money.
Now based on recent correspondence, it has been confirmed that this wasn’t exactly accurate. Rather, SoftBank just now formalized this arrangement.
While still subject to authorizations and closing conditions, funds will reportedly go towards Creditas recruiting new talent and expanding product portfolio. This way, the Brazilian unicorn can continue providing innovative financial solutions throughout its native country and beyond.
“Every day, Creditas helps people cope and fund their most important projects,” said Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank Latin America Fund, in a recent press release. “We are excited to work with Creditas as they use innovative technologies to achieve reliable financial tools that reach more Brazilians.”
Other investors from the financing round included Vostok Emerging Finance, Santander InnoVentures, as well as Amadeus Capital Appen.
While SoftBank executives hinted at this news during a dinner party in June, according to the Brazil Journal, it still wasn’t official. Based on the report, though, the Brazilian lending market is still unexplored territory for large banks, hence the interest.
This development comes after a few months of uncertainty. Originally, SoftBank was planning to facilitate a joint investment between its Vision Fund and the SoftBank Group Corp., while expecting to transfer the investment to the long-awaited Innovation Fund worth US$5 billion.
Originally known as Easy Bank, Sergio Furio and Leandro da Costa founded Creditas in 2012 as a credit lender. In 2016, they started implementing a model where borrowers use a property or vehicle as loan collateral. This model greatly reduces the chance of default to less than 2 percent. Credits range between R$5 thousand and R$2 million, approximately US$1.3 thousand to US$518 thousand.
“At Creditas we focus on creating an incredible experience that provides efficiency at better prices to democratize access to low-rate loans in Brazil,” said Furio, who is also the CEO. With this investment, we plan to accelerate this process to expand our business model with the goal of improving the lives of Brazilians.”
The monthly average interest rate on overdrafts and credit cards is over 13 percent. With Creditas, however, the vertical company charges 2 percent interest for vehicle-based loans and 1.25 percent on property-based loans.
So far, Creditas has distributed more than US$500 million of loans. At the same time, the company continues to grow at a steady pace. Net revenue increased threefold in 2016, seven times in 2017, and five times in 2018. The company’s goal is to grow by 27 before 2022.
Since the founding, Creditas has raised US$88 million during various investment rounds. The most recent was a Series C worth US$55 million from December 2017 to April 2019. Past investors have included Vostok, Kaspersky Ventures, Repoint, Naspers, and QED.