Prosus Ventures has announced its first investment in Mexico, leading a $15 million (R246 million) Series A funding round in Klar, a challenger bank in Mexico. Prosus Ventures, formerly Naspers Ventures, is the early-stage venture investing arm of Prosus, a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world.
The round brings the total debt and equity funds raised to approximately $72 million.
Klar has been working to democratize financial services in Mexico since 2019 by offering a 100% digital, transparent, free and secure alternative to traditional credit and debit services.
“Prosus Ventures partners with entrepreneurs that are solving big societal problems with technology, in a uniquely local way. We invest in sectors of the economy where technology can lead to meaningful change in the lives of consumers. Klar has identified a massive need in the Mexican financial market and brings a unique solution through their credit and debit offering,” said Banafsheh Fathieh from Prosus Ventures.
“In less than a year, the team has shown an ability to build a world-class digital bank for the masses, one focused on financial access and inclusion. We are very excited to partner with them on that mission.”
Aging, archaic architecture has made it difficult for traditional banks to serve the needs of the growing middle class in Mexico – with a mere 10% of adults in the country owning credit cards.
“We’ve built a new banking infrastructure core that aligns with the financial needs of consumers and allows us to service a massive segment of the population in Mexico that has previously been left behind when it comes to financial services.” said Stefan Moller, Klar’s co-founder and CEO.
Klar’s significantly lower cost of technology is what allows it to offer premium products to segments under- or un-served by traditional banks.
The funds will be used to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs to expand the company’s product suite to help users manage their liquidity with simple, transparent and affordable credit products.
Klar has established a Tech Hub in Berlin. Currently, they have a 25-person engineering and product team and with the Series A investment plan to double the team and expand it to 50. Moller is a former consultant at Bain & Co. who advised large banks. Klar blends Moller’s work experience in Mexico with his connections to the German banking world.
“Klar is making credit accessible to all Mexicans, including those with no credit history,” explains Daniel Autrique, Klar’s co-founder and CFO.
“We help people build credit by looking at how and where they spend their money, instead of being stuck with traditional credit scores that are backward looking and obsolete.”
Klar’s business has experienced rapid growth having issued over 25,000 credit lines amongst its 200,000 customers in less than 12 months since inception. Moreover, the business has shown significant resiliency to the COVID-19 crisis, as growth has tripled during the pandemic.