Consumer financial services startup Listo Financial has raised $8.5 million in a Series A round.
Palo Alto-based LEAP Global Partners led the round, which also included participation from Mexico Ventures, Kingston, NY-based Continental Advisors, and other existing investors. The infusion brings Listo’s total capital raised since inception to $11.3 million, according to Crunchbase data.
San Jose, Calif.-based Listo is working to become a go-to financial services provider to the Latin American community in the U.S. It was founded in 2014 by Alan Chiu, Gustavo Lasala, and Sam Ulloa. Ulloa and Lasala were previously executives of Oportun (formerly Progreso Financiero), a Redwood City-based provider of affordable loans to people with little or no credit.
The funding is in line with LEAP’s thesis of investing in companies in the fintech space. The firm was formed last August by Goldman Sachs alumni Roman Leal and Pablo Perez III specifically to invest in LatinX-led companies based in Mexico and the U.S. Last year, it made four seed investments (in Listo, PayStand, Insikt, and Wizeline), but the latest funding in Listo marks its first Series A round investment.
Listo currently has offices in San Jose, Huntington Park, and Santa Ana. The company’s strategy is to put stores in areas where there is a dense population of Latinos or Spanish-speaking communities. With the latest funding, Listo intends to expand to up to 10 storefronts in strategic locations over the next 12 months, according to LEAP Managing Partner Leal.
“We are convinced that this is a large, untapped market opportunity and Listo is well poised to become the market leader given management’s relevant experience and the company’s ongoing traction,” Leal said.
Listo’s founders are learning from their experience with Oportun, which has lent more than $4 billion to more than a million customers since in its inception in 2005, according to its Crunchbase profile.
“Oportun served a very similar demographic but they took a while to expand outside California,” Leal said. “This management team wants a national footprint as soon as possible with a focus on states outside of California as well.”
Listo is also working to digitize all its financial offerings. It currently offers credit, auto, and life insurance.
“Their thought process is that the physical store becomes the introduction to their services and then customers can do everything else online,” Leal eplained.
The startup also plans to expand its tech team so that it can roll out additional mobile products, such as remittances.
As part of the financing, Leal and Continental Advisors Partner Paul Purcell will be joining the Listo board.
In a written statement, Adriana Narvaez of Mexico Ventures noted that Listo aims to become a trusted financial services provider “to the untapped U.S. Latino communities around the United States, many of which are not adequately served by the banks and traditional financial establishments.”
“Having an investment that makes economic sense and provides U.S. Mexicans access to credit and insurance is important to us,” Narvaez added.
Investors are increasingly putting dollars in companies focused on the Latin American market, and that trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
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