LatinFinance: Who are your angel investors?
Fernández: Many of the investors in the US and Europe are fintech executives who have exited, but this is not the case in Mexico or the rest of Latin America. We mainly have executives of large companies who have disposable income and were entrepreneurs at some time. The individual angels have investments of $25,000 and $50,000. We can fund projects from $250,000 or more, which makes us relevant because with co-investment we can leverage up to $2 million.
LF: How many investors do you have?
HF: The network has 250 angels in the region, but the number is not really as important as the investment.
LF: How many requests are there from fintechs?
HF: Right now the fund is invested in 18 entrepreneurial projects with around one-quarter in fintechs.
LF: What kinds of fintechs are looking for funding?
HF: There is a little of everything. What you find today in Mexico and Latin America in general is basically a copy of what is going on in the US and Europe. But we are supporting fintechs that are geared to this market. We are invested in Kueski, which is an instant online lender, and Clip, which is like Square for transactions. Clip uses anti-fraud technology because fraud is rampant in Latin America. It has technology tailored to our reality. There is also a real estate company that is changing the way mortgages are evaluated. It uses big data to provide a profile of how a neighborhood is trending, making traditional methods obsolete.
LF: Have there been any successful exits?
HF: Not with fintechs. There have been some in the past in the region, such as MercadoLibre.com, but I think it is still too early in the cycle to talk about fintech exits. Many of the startups that are breaking out are capturing the attention of the establishment, so the trend is definitely in the direction of exits.
LF: Where do you see things by the end of the decade for angel investors?
HF: I think there is increasing interest among investors to focus on startups. An ecosystem is developing and governments are supporting angel investors and providing funds at the seed stage. It is a question of the maturation of the investors. The investors who are 40 years old and have disposable income have lived through the history of technology companies like Apple, Facebook, Google or Microsoft, which are now among the dominant players in the Fortune 500 in the US. I think that we are going to see a natural appetite among these investors for fintech startups. It is important for Latin America to start having exits, even if they are small, to attract capital from investors. It will have a snowball effect. I think another important step for the fintechs is the need for internationalization. Crowdfunding platforms have done it, but the rest are focused on just one market. LF
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