Fintech & e-commerce

Flink Takes $12M Series A To Provide Latin Americans Access To Stock Markets

Flink, which touts itself as the first Latin American consumer stock-trading platform, raised $12 million in a Series A round led by Accel. The company says it already has more than 1 million customers, less than a year after launching its first brokerage product.

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Sergio Jiménez, Ricardo Rafael Bueno and two other entrepreneurs founded the Mexico City-based fintech company in 2017. It previously raised $1 million in funding to bring its total funding to date at $13 million, Jiménez told Crunchbase News. That amount includes a seed round in 2019 led by LATINIA.

Though there are other brokerage options for small investors in Mexico, typically, someone has to have at least 25,000 Mexican pesos ($1,230) in order to open an account and be able to pay the associated fees, which is often difficult because the average wage is 60 percent of that amount, Jiménez said. In addition, many portfolio managers will not invest their time in a client that isn’t investing at least 100,000 pesos ($4,900).

“The structure we have on the investment side is built for the wealthy people,” he said. “Mexico’s population is 120 million right now, but there are fewer than 500,000 investment accounts in the whole country. Less than 1 percent have access. It’s a systemic problem in Mexico.”

The company intends to put the new funding to work improving its product, infrastructure and security, as well as building a team to address scale.

Flink launched its first brokerage product in June 2020 and now has more than 1 million users and 800,000 brokerage accounts, with 90 percent of users being first-time traders, Jiménez said.

Andrew Braccia, general partner at Accel, said in an interview that the firm has a large financial services portfolio that includes France-based Lydia, a peer-to-peer payment platform; Berlin-based mobile broker Trade Republic; and Salt Lake City-based Galileo Financial Technologies, a payment processing tool.

He sees Flink being an emerging player, sharing a common objective with those companies of making tools accessible to everyone. Other online investment startups have similar goals, including Vested Finance, which announced $3.6 million in seed funding Thursday, and is developing an avenue for Indian investors to invest in the U.S. stock market.

“They want to level the playing field, and that is a powerful mission,” Braccia said. “Investing is still unfamiliar in emerging markets, and the fact that Flink is already bigger than the entire market, in terms of number of people participating, is a testament that they are building trust and generating a community.”

Jiménez has his sights set on other countries, and people in Chile, Peru, Argentina and Colombia are already asking for Flink, he said.

And as the company creates a market, he said Flink needs to be responsible for that, providing education around stock volatility and transparent communication.

“The Mexican population is risk averse, and they do not invest a huge amount at the beginning until they get comfortable,” he added. “Everyone is demanding these products, and we have an opportunity to change the status quo and provide something meaningful.”

Feature photo of Flink co-founders Sergio Jiménez Amozurrutia and Ricardo Rafael Bueno courtesy of Flink
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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