~70% of Latin Americans are unbanked or underbanked. That means that there’s a huge opportunity to improve access to financial products and services across the region by leveraging data and technology.
Ximena Aleman is co-founder and CEO of Prometeo, a startup that develops Open Banking APIs for fintechs and financial companies in Latin America. We invested in Prometeo in 2019 to support its mission to provide the infrastructure needed to help the region’s fintech ecosystem evolve with better products and services.
I sat down with Ximena to talk about LatAm’s fintech wave and how Prometeo is building the future of financial services in the region. We also discuss her impressive career trajectory – from journalist to entrepreneur– and what it means to be a non-elite Uruguayan female founder in fintech.
A concentrated financial landscape
Ximena explains that in Latin America, a very small number of banks (4-5 in some, 2-3 in others!) generally have 80% of the market share in each Latin American country, compared to the US where there are thousands of banks across the country. In addition to this market concentration, most banks are more conservative and invest less in innovation. This conservative mindset results in financial products and services that are outdated and don’t necessarily respond to the population’s evolving needs.
Learn more about how Prometeo is addressing this problem in this episode of Crossing Borders.
Jumping from journalism into tech
After conducting interviews with many tech entrepreneurs during her journalism days, Ximena was inspired by what was happening in the tech scene. It was while working at a publishing house that she learned about scalable business models for the first time. That experience convinced her that she wanted to create her own company.
Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn more about Ximena’s path to fintech.
Embracing fundraising from Uruguay
For Ximena, being a Uruguayan female founder in fintech used to just be contextual information. It was when she started fundraising that she realized that these labels had a meaning. In understanding what it meant to be a non-elite or an underestimated founder, Ximena was able to make sense of why certain situations or processes weren’t following through as she had expected.
Learn about why Ximena considers that there’s power in understanding these labels and how she finds ways to reframe what it means to be an elite founder in this episode of Crossing Borders.
Ximena Aleman is redefining what it means to be an elite founder with her drive and passion for the fintech ecosystem. With Prometeo, she is powering the next wave of innovation in LatAm’s fintech scene.
Outline of this episode:
- [1:35] – About Prometeo
- [1:50] – Differences between LatAm and US markets
- [4:58] – Being an entrepreneur from Uruguay
- [6:58] – From journalism to creating a product that scales
- [12:25] – Choosing to specialize in fintech
- [15:45] – Understanding the ‘elite’ labels
- [27:15] – The female founder in fintech experience
- [30:54] – Advice to Ximena’s younger self
- [35:23] – What’s next for Prometeo?
Resources & people mentioned:
This episode of Crossing Borders is brought to you by AWS Startups.
AWS Startups supports entrepreneurs in Latin America across multiple programs, including Cloud Credits to help startups test features and extend runway, technical support to help optimize AWS solutions and integrations with your product, and – on the business side – help you build strategic contacts with investment funds, accelerators, and corporations to accelerate your growth.
For more information, check out aws.amazon.com/es/campaigns/founders, where you can access $1,350 in AWS credits for your startup.