LFP217 – Fintech in Central and South America w/Ricardo Josua CEO Pismo

Ricardo is a Brazilian serial entrepreneur who joins us in this show to give us an overview of the key features of Fintech in Central/Southern (aka Latin) America. The region includes the worlds highest valued neo-bank which has reached an astonishing 65 million client base in less than a decade – most of whom never had a bank account before, so amazing things are happening down there.Which are the major players out of the nigh on three dozen countries? What are the trends. What historical and geographical features lie behind the patterns we see? How do Latin American Fintechs expand beyond their home territory?

Pismo is a Brazilian Fintech who provide core banking technology globally and who raised an impressive $108m B round last year… it only seems like yesterday that $10m was an impressive for a B.

They have offices in many countries around the world and for example power N26 neobank in Europe.


Topics discussed include:

  • Brazilian proposals
  • the recent Brazilian elections and a brief overview of Brazilian politics
  • what gets Brazilian annoyed re the lumping of countries into Southern or Latin America
  • quick historical overview
  • was Brazil discovered “by accident” or “on purpose”?
  • decomposition of Spanish empire vs Brazil remaining whole
  • different ethnic proportions depending on the relative histories of Latin countries
  • as with much of global politics now there are high levels of polarisation and plenty of craziness
  • right-leaning candidates tend to be more pro-multi-polar world
  • Ricardo’s career journey from investment banker through to serial entrepreneur
  • Banco Garantia Brazil’s emulation of Goldman Sachs
  • the impact of a visit to Californian Finmtechs
  • funding Pismo in 2016
  • are Central and South america different regions?
  • where does the Caribbean fit in?
  • migration between neighbouring countries especially in Spanish-speaking Southern America leading to business connections
  • Braizl is very separate from the rest of the demi-continent due to linguistic differences
  • what does the American phrase “Hispanic” mean? Is Ricardo a Latino as he doesn’t speak Spanish?
  • Mexico, Brazil, CHile, Argentina as the major players
  • Lat Am population is ~640+m
  • Brazil is ~215m and Mexico ~130m – so together they account for half the population of Lat Am
  • Brazil has about 60% of total investments in Fintech
  • many countries too small to attract Fintech investment
  • regulation varyong greatly and leading to very different outcomes
  • Brazil being lax in re has led to greater creativity
  • 55% of Lat Am population are “underbanked”
  • during the pandemic there was an increase in the use of cash :-O
  • Brazilian Nubank (formed in 2013) – the world’s highest valued neobank (~$65bn) – is Lat Ams largest bank with ~65m regular clients, 80% of whom use it as their primary bank account, and most of those didn’t have a bank account before
  • the lower limit for Fintech banking
  • the major role of the Brazilian regulator in not being strict that led to this explosive performance
  • examples of Argentina and Fintech
  • Chile and digital wallets
  • Mexico is the second most important market with strong regulation framework
  • two major divisions of Fintech in Lat Am – “payments and rails” and “lending structures”
  • corruption and political stability and consequent economic stability
  • expansion within the region
  • very little global expansion – Nubank and Pismo are more the exception than the rule
  • as a comparative Case Study it took Pismo much much less time to deploy their system in India than it did in Argentina
  • geography counts way less than other factors in Fintech establishment
  • an overview of Pismo’s products and services and many offices around the world
  • Pismo’s current direction

And much much more 🙂

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