Latitud has released a new report in which the company takes a deep dive into the present and future of seven industries in Latin America: B2B Fintech, B2C Fintech, E-commerce, SaaS, Proptech, Healthtech, and Climate Tech.
Latitud is a technology platform that supports the next generation of startups in Latin America. The company is creating a suite of solutions to help address the biggest friction points for early-stage entrepreneurs starting businesses in Latin America.
Through data analysis and interviews with experts, Latitud presents a detailed report on investment trends in technology startups in LatAm.
“Part of growing and driving an ecosystem is to have more information about it, what we did with this study is to go directly to the key players to identify trends, we consolidated information about the investments that have been made, and we also identified the main challenges faced by each sector” explains Gina Gotthilf, COO and cofounder of Latitud.
These are some of the report’s main findings in each sector:
2 out of every 3 dollars of fintech investment during 2021 went to consumer fintechs. That amounts to $7.2B, with the largest amount of that money going to digital banking and digital lending startups. Regarding the latter, 1 out of every 5 dollars went to lending, represented by new categories such as BNPL and digital lending.
Total fintech funding in LatAm reached a record $12.9B through 315 transactions in 2021. Overall, fintech funding in Latin America saw a decline of 29% in the first half of 2022, in comparison with 2021’s average. Still, it should be noted that the volume of investment in the first three quarters of 2022 has already surpassed 2020’s investment.
Also, B2C fintech startups founded by women raised about 20% of the total in 2021, but 80% of that came from Nubank’s Series G alone.
The growth of the sector will continue to be driven by trends such as:
- Open Banking
- Migration to digital banks
- Embedded finance
- Digitization of payments
- Shift to high-yield investments
- Adoption of cryptocurrencies
- Innovation in developed infrastructure
Opportunities in the coming years:
- Integration between payment methods
- Personalized loyalty programs
- Blockchain-based payments
- Alternative lending companies that increase their efficiency thanks to technology
- Innovations in biometrics, along with technologies such as GPS, AI, and ML to make payments faster and more secure
- Autonomous finance
- Voice commands focused on improving the fintech consumer experience.
B2B Fintech funding in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia accounts for about 73% of all fintech funding volume. It is especially impressive in Colombia, where the total funding in 2021 was $206M, of which 90% went to startups related to B2B Fintechs.
With record levels in 2021, the region saw 74 M&A deals completed throughout the year in this sector.
Current and near-term global trends are:
- Payment facilitators
- B2B-focused payment solutions
- Revenue-based financing
- Buy Now Pay Later B2B
- Expense management software
- Accounting and procurement software solutions targeting unbanked SMEs
- Open Banking: banking infrastructure and API-based banking software
- Advanced salary and rewards programs based on increased connectivity.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Latin America has seen incredible growth in the volume of capital raised for SaaS startups. Venture capital funding grew 100% between 2013 and 2021, and between 2020 and 2021 alone, it grew 7x. Rounds are getting bigger, growing from $3M in 2013 to $500M in 2021.
These are the segments that still do not have strong local players:
- Cloud infrastructure and verticals.
Brazil leads by far the LatAm region with ~80% ($2.5B) of all total funding raised by startups.
In 2021, health-related startups increased their annual funding by 4,700%, compared to an also impressive growth of the overall startup ecosystem, which was 1,800% in the same period.
These are the immediate trends:
- Mental health
- Health insurance
- Dental Solutions
- Employee benefits.
In the medium and long term, the greatest opportunities for Latin American healthtechs are:
- Data interoperability
- Remote patient monitoring
- Virtual reality for surgeries
- The Internet of medical things
- Big data and AI.
The size of e-commerce in Latin America still represents only 19% of U.S. e-commerce and 8% of Chinese e-commerce. Latin American e-commerce is fragmented in terms of the number of players and is concentrated in urban areas.
The pandemic accelerated e-commerce penetration rate by almost three years: Latin America was the fastest growing e-commerce market in the world in 2020, with a growth of 37%.
Some of the current trends:
- Greater penetration of purchases made through mobile and digital payments
- Growth in cross-border e-commerce and digital goods and services, such as video games, e-books, and streaming
- Social commerce
- Loyalty as a currency to differentiate from competitors and retain valuable customer.
Medium and long-term opportunities are:
- Social commerce models
- E-commerce aggregators and players that benefit from network effects
- Investors also look for logistics providers that are environmentally friendly and fintechs that enable e-commerce.
While global players dominate commercial real estate and tourism/short-term rentals, Latin American players lead the construction and residential real estate segments.
Almost all the investment made in proptech startups in LatAm went to companies in the residential sector, as only 12% went to other categories. Brazil accounts for 70% of total financing and 50% of the companies included in the research. Apart from Tul, a construction marketplace, no company in Latin America was able to raise more than $100M outside the residential category.
These are some of the trends in the proptech sector:
- Greater fragmentation and lower penetration of online classifieds
- Acceleration of digital adoption
- Increase in remote work
- Relocation of capital from commercial to residential real estate.
Some markets that local proptechs have yet to work in:
- Commercial real estate
- Foreign investment property.
Opportunities for proptechs in Latin America:
- Fractional ownership
- Verticalized SaaS solutions
- Creation of complete platforms and marketplaces.
Investment in climate tech is recession-proof, and even during the challenging year of 2022, climate tech investment is holding up.
14 cents of every US$ in venture capital are going to climate tech worldwide. In LatAm, this is not happening yet. LatAm represents only 7% of the investment made in renewable energies, but has one of the highest potentials of production. There have been $35.4M invested in agtech in LatAm through venture capital across 15 disclosed rounds in 2021.
The current trends in Latin America are:
- Adaptation responses, such as paid ecosystem protection
- Ocean and coastal initiatives
- Urban water management and housing
- Climate-smart agriculture
Some of the medium and long-term opportunities are:
- Technology in agriculture
- Green real estate
- Access to water
- Renewable energy and green hydrogen
- AI and ML with a focus on biodiversity
- Nature-based solutions
- Reimagining processes and systems through R&D.
Latin America’s climate tech startups could take a look at global trends such as high-emission biotech food replacements.
Trends are different for each sector of the startup ecosystem, but the common denominators are that all will use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for their development in the coming years. Also, all sectors have benefited from the growth in Internet access and the use of mobile solutions in Latin America.
The report’s conclusion is that there is still quite a lot of progress to be made by technology startups in Latin America. They commonly face the challenge of recruiting top talent while competing globally and continuing to innovate and increase their efficiency and productivity -– all for the good of technological and business advancement in the region.
“These companies are the bet of sustainable innovation that will undoubtedly help achieve the fundamental objectives of inclusion, equality, and economic benefit of Latin America” concludes Brian Requarth, cofounder of Latitud.