While the company finds itself in the pre-product phase, it’s attracted the attention of QED’s Fontes fund, Max Levchin’s SciFi, and a16z’s Angela Strange, who also participated in this round, among other investors.
Through its fintech-as-a-service model, Pomelo aims to enable fintechs and embedded finance players to launch virtual accounts and issue prepaid and credit cards via “compliant” onboarding processes.
“We know from previous experiences…that building a fintech, and particularly issuing cards, in Latin America is a real nightmare,” said Pomelo co-founder and CEO Gaston Irigoyen. “It takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months to launch a simple prepaid card, and unfortunately companies have to go through the painful experience of repeating the process in every market where they operate.”
Pomelo’s goal is to build a new payments infrastructure that accelerates the process of creating fintech businesses and launching cards for companies in Latin America. The founders– Gaston Irigoyen, Juan Fantoni, and Hernan Corral –are former executives at Mastercard, Google, LatAm, Mercado Pago, and Naranja X.
Index Ventures’ Mark Fiorentino explains the market opportunity that Pomelo identified.
“It takes over 12 months for a business to spin up a plastic or digital card for itself. And because most legacy processors are owned by banks or large financial institutions that have been around for decades, pricing is inflexible and expensive,” said Fiorentino to TechCrunch. “And if that wasn’t enough of a headache, stable reliability has been a huge pain point with these issuer processors. Pomelo is building the dev-first, self-serve API solution to address this clear market need.”
Pomelo currently has about 15 employees, 11 of which are engineers. The company plans to open offices in São Paulo, Brazil and Mexico City, and expand its team by hiring dozens of people in these cities as well as in Argentina.
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