International investors flock to back Argentine neobank, Ualá

LatAm ListPierpaolo Barbieri‘s fully-mobile, branchless bank, Ualá, continues to attract international investors in the midst of Argentina’s financial crisis. After receiving US$10M in investment from billionaires George Soros and Steve Cohen, as well as VC firms Ribbit Capital, Jefferies Group LLC, Point72 Ventures, Ualá recently received a further US$34M Series B round led by Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs and other investors have expressed optimism for Ualá success despite reservations for the state of the Argentinean economy. While international investors were anxious for Mauricio Macri to improve Argentina’s economic outlook, the president has failed to improve Argentina’s chronic deficit.

“Argentina doesn’t scare me,” said Ribbit Capital’s co-founder, Micky Malka. “It may be tumultuous over the next two or three years, but this investment is for 10 years. We’re not looking for something that we’ll flip in 12 months. And the more noisy it is, the less competition that will enter.”

Ualá has grown enormously in its first year, issuing over 400,000 prepaid mobile Mastercards with no fees. The app is free and allows people to pay bills, transfer money, and purchase online with no friction.

Said founder Pierpaolo Barbieri:

“Within a year from today we want to offer all the services that a bank does, so that having a bank will be a choice, not a necessity.”

 

Read more in Bloomberg.

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