Authorized by the Central Bank and based out of Sao Paulo, Cora, a technology-enabled lender that caters to small and mid-size businesses, has successfully raised USD 26.7 million in a Series A round led by Ribbit Capital, a Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm.
The funding round witnessed participants including QED Investors, Kaszek Ventures, and Greenoaks Capital, bringing the total funding raised to USD 36.7 million for the fintech start-up since 2019.
Cora witnessed its first impressive USD 10 million seed round funding led by Kaszek in December 2019, which was also known to be one of the most significant investments in LatAm, followed by Ribbit Capital.
In 2020, Cora received its license approved from the Central Bank of Brazil, confirming it as the 403 bank. Cora then introduced its product in the market in October 2020 and since then has managed to create a 60,000 strong clientele and a 110-employee workforce.
What does Cora offer?
Registered as a fintech, Cora offers a wide range of solutions ranging from Visa debit card, digital checking account, management tools, including cashflow dashboard and invoice manager. Additionally, with the checking account, customers can send, receive money, and pay bills digitally.
Cora is not the first venture by its co-founders Igor Senra and Leo Mendes. The duo in the past have worked together and founded their pilot venture focused on online payments called MOIP in 2005. Later the company was sold to Germany’s WireCard in 2016, with a three million-strong customer base. After three years, the founders created a fresh start again.
With Cora, the founder duo’s long-term goal is to “provide everything that an SMB will need in a bank.”
Focusing on the future, the duo has the ambitious goal of achieving “the fastest-growing neobank focused on SMBs in the world.”
Furthermore, they plan to deploy the fresh capital to add new features and enhance existing ones and introduce a credit product portfolio.
In particular, Cora aims to dive deeper into particular segments, including B2B professional services such as real estate brokerages, education, and law and accounting firms.
As per Ribbit Capital partner Nikolay Kostov, Cora has embarked on “an ambitious mission” to transform how small businesses in Brazil access and experience banking.
He adds, “While the consumer banking experience has undergone a massive transformation thanks to new digital experiences over the last decade, this is, sadly, still not the case on the small business side.”
For instance, Kostov points out, opening a traditional business bank account in Brazil requires weeks, “reels of paper, and often comes with low limits, poor service, and antiquated digital interfaces.”
He also stresses the fact that the number of new small businesses in Brazil continues to grow.
Kostov stated, “The combination of these factors makes Brazil an especially attractive market for Cora to launch in and disrupt.” He added, “The Cora founding team is uniquely qualified and deeply attuned to the challenges of small businesses in the country, having spent their entire careers building digital products to serve their needs.”
Since Ribbit’s inception in 2012, LatAm has been the primary focus area for the firm, “given the magnitude of challenges, and opportunities in the region to reinvent financial services and serve customers better.”
Ribbit has invested in 15 companies in the region and continues to look for more to back.
Kostov said, “We fully expect that several fintech companies born in the region will become global champions that serve to inspire other entrepreneurs across the globe.”