Argentine money manager Ualá raises $150m in round led by SoftBank and Tencent
Argentine money management app Ualá has raised $150 million in a Series C funding round led by Asian multinational conglomerates Tencent and SoftBank.
The mobile banking and lending platform has no intention of becoming a bank according to TechCrunch, but does have similar offerings to digital challengers which did become banks – namely, its service is linked to a Mastercard prepaid card.
Bloomberg says Ualá is close to a $1 billion valuation with the new investment, which also saw participation from three New York-based investors Endeavor Catalyst, Soros Fund Management and Jefferies, as well as Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Brazilian venture capital firm Monashees and Silicon Valley-based Ribbit Capital.
Marking SoftBank’s entry into Argentina with its Latin America-focused Innovation Fund, the investment round for the personal finance app comes at a time when the country is in a $330 billion debt. This means fintechs offering transparency in payments are most-welcome by both citizens and investors.
With just 1.3 million issued cards issued in a country of 45 million, Ualá’s founder and CEO Pierpaolo Barbieri says it will focus on Argentina and its huge stand-alone market for now.
Barbieri says he wants to triple the size of Ualá by hiring 400 people across operations and technical roles, as well as scaling partnerships and business development teams which will create similar opportunities to those created by Ualá’s already-established partnerships with Netflix, Rappi and Spotify.