Kueski and Fintech in Mexico

Kueski and Fintech in Mexico

What’s in it for me:

  • Why Mexico is an interesting market for fintech?
  • Why Kueski is an interesting startup?
  • How Kueski works?

Talking to many investors, I realise that more and more they are interested in what is happening in Latin America. In the last year, we have seemed a couple of great investment rounds in Latin America’s startups from top tier investors such as Sequoia Capital (Nubank in Brazil), Andreessen Horowitz (Rappi in Colombia), Accel Partners (Cornershop in Mexico), just to highlight a few. Here follows a Techcrunch post by Julie Ruvolo, explaining more details, article link.

This way, I decided to start analysing the best startups from Latin America so that people could understand better what’s happening in Latin American startup ecosystem.

For this post, I selected one of the hottest startups in the fintech, Kueski. Kueski is a Mexican startup that received US$ 35 MM round from which US$ 10 MM is an equity investment co-led by Richmond Global Venture, CrunchFund, and Variv Capital (source), and US$ 25 MM is a debt round.

First, let’s start talking about Mexico. Why Mexico is an interesting market for fintechs?

Here follow some important statistic about the country:

  • GDP of US$ 1.063 trillion (15th largest economy by GDP, and the second in Latin America) (source);
  • A population of 128.6 MM people, 10th largest population (source);
  • Only 27% of the population older than 15 years is banked (source);
  • 17.3MM credit card issued, less than 13.5% of the population has access (just for comparison, Brazil has 28% credit card penetration and US more than 40%) (source);
  • Even with credit card, Mexicans prefer to pay in cash in 47% of the transactions while only 36% of the times with credit card (source);
  • There are 44.2 MM smartphone users, a penetration of 34.4% (source);
  • 69 MM users of internet, a 56% penetration (source);
  • Basic interest rate is no 5.75% (source);
  • Credit card average interest rate is 32% (source) and default rate of 5% (source);
  • 56.6% of the population are informal workers, which correspond to 23.6% of Mexico’s GDP (source);
  • Private sector credit is 32.7% of the GDP while in Brazil is 67.9%, and US is 188% (source);

This data show the huge potential for fintech startups in Mexico. It’s a big country where most people are still unbanked without access to credit cards,  but that have access to internet and smartphones. The credit private sector is still small compared to other countries.

Fintechs can exploit these conditions to delivery financial services in new ways. And that’s exactly what they are doing, as Mexico became the most active fintech ecosystem in Latin America (source and more information).


Let’s talk about Kueski now. Kueski is a micro-loan startup from Guadalajara founded by Adalberto Flores and Leonardo de la Cerda in 2012.

Problem and Customer Segment

The problem Kueski is trying to solve is the Mexican population access to credit, especially for those that are unbanked. They decided to focus initially on the small and short personal loans.

How it work?

It’s quite easy; anyone can enter their website and request a loan.
Right now, they have a minimum limit of $1000 pesos (US$47.13) and a maximum of $2000 pesos (US$94.26) for the loans and also a limit of 30 days to pay.
After filling a form, they give you answer in 29 minutes regarding the loan request.

So, what exactly is their value proposition?

Money in developing economies is scarce, so it’s not as easy to get credit in Mexico as it is in the US, for example. Their value proposition is to give an easy and fast way to access credit to anyone, including the 73% of the population that is unbanked and doesn’t have access to this kind of financial services.

Quite an interesting value proposition, right?

But how works their business model works?

Kueski does the underwriting process and lends the money itself, charging an interest rate.

Since they use their own money to lend, makes a lot of sense the debt round of US$ 25MM  they raised (credit line up to US$ 100MM – source). With that money, considering an average loan of $ 1500 pesos (US$ 70.70), they can borrow to more than 350,000 people, not considering taxes and reinvesting the money. That leaves them with a good working capital for the loans.

Their revenue model is an interest rate charged in principal of the loan. Due to the risk profile of this kind of investment, they charge a very high-interest rate, an average of 339.3% per year, which is quite high compared to the average interest rate of a credit card (32% per year). It’s important to remind that less than 13.5% of the population has access to a credit card.

Just making a rough calculation, with an average loan of $1500 pesos (US$ 70.70), even with a default rate of more than 60% they would still have a profit margin higher than 20%. Not bad, right? (I’m not considering tax and fees)
Although I don’t have data from their default rate, I would guess that it would not be so high since the default rate for credit card there is only 5%. Even though, Kueski has still two problems to deal with:

  • They still don’t have a very good historical data to have a more probabilistic idea of their risk;
  • They probably suffer an adverse selection because they will attract as customer people that couldn’t get loans with financial institutions with lower interest rate;

Due to the high-interest rate that they charge and the debt round they raised, I think they have enough room to overcome those challenges. Also, my guess is that their secret sauce is in the underwriting technology that they use.

I would love to understand better how they do it, but I couldn’t find much information about it. What I know is that they use social profiles as input for their underwriting process.

Another interesting side of their business model is how they make loans available for unbanked people. Since most of their clients (my guess) don’t have a bank account, they developed a partnership with a local Bancomer (local bank) and a chain of stores called OXXO, which is a convenient store that has more than 14,000 stores in the country.

Why is Kueski an interesting startup?

Mexico is a market where still most of the population don’t have access to credit. They are using technology and an innovative business model to untap a huge potential market. Also, as Kueski doesn’t have the pressure of banks as competition, this gives room for them to experiment and improve their underwriting process.

What’s next?
My guess is that they got the debt round and set the loan to a small amount to test as much as they can, this ways start to have some historical data and also to improve their underwriting process. It’s important to highlight that the underwriting process and the acquisition strategy are key to their business model to work.

After learning and improving the process, they will probably focus on higher amounts and more long-term loans using technology as a differential.

I don’t think they will try to compete directly with banks since their cost of capital is probably much higher, especially because there is still a huge market to explore.

What do you think? Would you invest in Kueski?

Key Takeaways:

  • Mexico is a hot market for fintech startups;
  • Kueski is targeting a blue ocean market that doesn’t have many other options;
  • Kueski underwriting process is probably what will make or break the company;
  • There is still room in the market for Kueski to target larger and longer loans; 

The Demoday is dead, long live the Demoday

The Demoday is dead, long live the Demoday

What there is in for me:

  • Why Demodays aren’t working anymore?
  • How Wayra Brazil improved its Demoday format and achieved great results
  • What others startupa accelerators are doing?

In 2014, our team at Wayra Brazil was struggling with the limited results in our last Demoday. Wayra Brazil, as most startup accelerator, had at the end of its acceleration period an event to present its accelerated startups to investors and the market.

To contextualize, in Brazil, we were having a boom of startup accelerators, leading to a boom also in Demodays. Most of them were quite similar, a big event where startups pitched 5-10 minutes to an audience of around 100 people composed of venture capitalists, angels investors, press, partners (lawyers, accountant…), other accelerators, and other startups. After the pitch session, there was some moment to socialize, especially for the entrepreneurs to talk with the investors, while having food and drinks.

It was a big event, therefore was not only expensive but also a burden to organize it.

Our team decided to analyze the problems and propose improvements to this “traditional” format. As we always ask our startups to talk to their potential clients to understand their problems and perspective, we started by talking with our clients: Wayra’s startups, angel investors, and venture capitalist.

Talking with entrepreneurs, we understood better many of the challenges they faced and also asked for ways to improve. The main problems were:

– They had a lot of pressure to do the perfect pitch in 5-10 minutes in front of a big audience;
– They didn’t want to open all their numbers since there were non-investor people, press, and might even have competitors;
– They also had trouble to talk with the investors after the pitch session since the event was crowded, and investors were always stopped by someone;

Talking with the investors, we discovered more problems.

  • The partners in the VC funds didn’t want to participate in Demodays anymore because they couldn’t talk with the entrepreneurs, and startups didn’t present the important numbers. So they sent their analysts which didn’t have the same view and decision power;
  • Investors agenda, especially partners, are really complicated with many travels out of the town;
  • Investors started to see the Demodays as a networking event, instead of a significant deal flow event;

In summary, Demodays were starting to become more of a party than a fundraising event, which, of course, wasn’t what we wanted.

Working with those problems and the ideas investors and entrepreneurs told us, we began to brainstorm how we could improve the Demoday and achieve our goal of increasing the number and the volume of investment in our startups.

After a couple of days discussing, we decided to not only change some things of the Demoday, instead to restructure it. We decided to focus on improving the connection between the entrepreneurs and the investors. That is when we came up with the concept of the Demoweek. Here follow the main changes:

  • The event would be only to investors (angels investors and venture capitalist). If you’re not an investor, sorry but you’re not invited;
  • Instead of a big event for many people, we decided to make it more like a business meeting. The entrepreneurs would have 20 minutes with an audience of no more than 15 investors, who could ask any question at any time;
  • The Demoweek would be (surprise) a week long, giving more schedule options to the partners of the funds to participate. The investors would be divided into small groups to interact better with the entrepreneurs;
  • Each day 8 startups would pitch during the morning organized by the amount they were raising. So we had different days for angel investors, seed investors, Series A, and Series B, making it more straightforward for the investors;
  • Each day after the pitch session, we would offer lunch to the investors and entrepreneurs, giving more opportunity for interaction between the investors and the entrepreneurs;
  • Not all graduating startups were presenting, only startups that were performing and that were raising capital presenting. Also, they could be from any previous batch;

With all those changes, we had incredible results in our first Demoweek. The entrepreneurs and the investors loved the new format. More important; we increased the number of investments in our startups.

We achieved all this while lowering the cost and burden to organize the event. After our first experience, it was settle, our Demoday from that day on, would not be a Demoday, but a Demoweek.

We’re not the only ones to realize the problems of the Demodays, some of other Wayras were trying different formats to improve the outcome.

I know other formats from different accelerators that doing interesting things to solve those problems

One of those accelerators is Techstars Chicago, which has two separate Demodays. The first one happens in the morning only for important investors, where they put all the startups to pitch at the same time to different investors, one at a time, and then the startups rotate to pitch to another investor. The second is in the afternoon and is a bigger event open to the other parties in the community, more similar to the “traditional” Demoday.

The Demodays as we know are with their days counted; new formats will appear to solve the problems listed above and also to adapt to local ecosystems.

I would love to hear your experience with Demoday. How did you think they could be improved? Which other formats did you see and enjoyed?

Key Takeaways:

  • The Demoday format has many problems that some accelerators are trying to solve
  • Dare to think outside of the box, don’t be stuck with a traditional format if it’s not working for you
  • There isn’t a one size fits all for the Demodays, 
  • Always get your customer perspective of a problem before coming up with a solution

Stretch Goals for Startups

Stretch Goals for Startups

What there is in for me:

  • Should a startup use stretch goals?
  • What a startup needs to use a stretch goal?
  • The framework of The Stretch Goal Paradox works for startups?

I recently read an interesting article about setting stretch goals, “The Stretch Goal Paradox” by Sim B. Sitkin, C. Chet Miller, and Kelly E. See.

Setting stretch goals became quite famous recently, especially in the tech world because of the OKR methodology that Google, Intel, Twitter, and other use. In the OKR (if you don’t know what it is, read these slides), the goal isn’t to achieve 100%, but rather to set a challenging goal that even you working hard you would probably achieve 70-80%.

They are also very common when a new CEO is hired to turn around a company and needs to change moral of the team and also to convince the investors.

The article argues that not all companies should use stretched goals because it can backfire. Also, the authors propose a framework to evaluate if a company should use it or not, as you can see below.


They use two variables to evaluate: Past Success of the Team, and Uncommitted Resources. The framework seems to make sense, at least for big corporations. However, my interest is in startups! Would this framework work for them?

Let’s check each variable for a startup. First the past success of the team, by definition, startups are still in early stage, not having any real past success, at least in the actual company anyway.
Regarding uncommitted resources, we all now that startups don’t have spare resources, they always lack resources. They are most of the time working beyond their capacity.

Using those assumptions for variables in the framework, we got that none startup should use Strech Goals. But… Should they?

Growth is the fuel for startups, a startup without growth is a walking dead startup. So, startups should grow, not only grow but grow really fast. That means that they should put hard goals to achieve and work as hard and intelligent as they can to achieve it. Would any of the great startups we have been successful if they didn’t have bold and audacious goals?

That leads me to conclude that all startups should use stretch goals, meaning that the framework won’t work for startups.

Although I think all startups should use it, they have different problems than big corporations. Therefore they need to evaluate different variables to check if they should use or not.

  • The startup should have a metric-oriented and accountable culture. If the team isn’t focused on metrics and it isn’t held accountable for their results, setting a higher goal will just make the CEO get even more stressed;
  • Startups should understand well their business metrics before commit to a stretched goal. It’s bad to walk in the wrong direction, but it’s even worse to run with all your strength to the wrong direction;
  • The startup should have a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG). The team will put all their effort to achieve a challenging goal if it’s linked to a remarkable purpose, not just because the CEO set the goal.

There might have other pre-requisites for a startup to use stretch goal in a proper way, even though those seem to me as the main ones.

What do you think? Should a startup use a stretch goal or not? Why? When to use and when not to use?

Key Takeaways:

  • Stretch goals are even more important for startups
  • Use stretch goals when you have a metric-oriented and accountable culture
  • Use stretch goals when you know well your real business metrics
  • Use stretch goals when you have a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG)

Here follows some BHAG to inspire you with yours:
“A computer on every desk and in every home.”Microsoft
“Organize the world’s information.”Google
“Connect the world.”Facebook
“Transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.”Uber
“Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”Tesla
“Make easy to do business anywhere.”Alibaba
“Remember everything.”Evernote

The Importance of Communication in a Startup – Part II

The Importance of Communication in a Startup – Part II

What there is in for me:

  • Why communication is a key attribute for entrepreneurs
  • Good news and bad news, which one to share with my team
  • How to build trust and motivate your team using communication

Continuing my last Communicating with Investors, now let’s talk about:

Communicating with the Team
If you’re really aiming to create a great company, you and your team are onboarding in a very tough journey. The problems with communications usually start in setting the expectation. As working in a startup is cool nowadays, everyone wants to work in one, but few are willing to face the struggle and work the long hours necessary to create a great company.

Startups need a talented and dedicated team, so it’s important to set the expectation to the new employees upfront and make sure they are willing to commit together with the rest of the team in this endeavor.

The other problem that many entrepreneurs face related to communication with their team is the difficult to inspire the team toward the dream the entrepreneurs have. Sometimes the entrepreneurs can’t articulate in a proper manner his mission, and other times is just a lack of communicating it well to the team.

If a CEO wants their employees to give all their sweat and blood for the startup, he needs a clear Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) and communicate clear and constantly to all members of his team. Elon Musk uses SpaceX BHAG to motivate his team to achieve unthinkable results, here follows its statement:

“SpaceX was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”

That is a quite powerful goal to motivate SpaceX team, even during the many arduous times they face!

Another common communication problem entrepreneurs have is not delivering bad news.

Is part of the human nature to not like it to deliver bad news; we don’t want to disappoint people or make them feel bad.

Therefore, founders tend to only communicate good news to their team. When a big account is won, they celebrate; when an investment round is closed, they celebrate even more! However, when they lose the most valuable client or when the startup has a month of cash…silence! During these situations is exactly when you can identify the great entrepreneurs. They inform, take responsibility, and work together with their team in a plan to turn the situation around!

If you worked hard to hire an amazing team, don’t expect them to be stupid and don’t discover what is happening in the company. Also, remember the equation from the post Part I:


Although there will always be change, good and bad, in a startup, entrepreneurs can reduce the uncertainty by communicating the situation, preventing gossips and speculations that can lead the team into chaos.

Google has a meeting called TGIF ( “Thank God is Friday”) where any employee can ask any question to the founders, that shows a culture of communication and transparency.
When times are hard, it isn’t the lack of information that will save a company. Rather, a great leadership and a motivated team are needed to overcome this situation. For your team to work hard for you, they need to trust you! And they won’t trust you if you’re hiding the situation from them.
Concluding, communication problems with team can have a huge impact on a startup performance, for better or worst! Start a culture of communication while your team it isn’t that big, changing it in the future is going to be a bigger challenge!

Key Takeaways:

  • Have a great Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) and communicate it
  • Sharing bad news is as important as sharing good news
  • Don’t hide bad news; your team isn’t dumb
  • If you hired the right team, trust them
  • Change + Uncertainty = CHAOS

O que é BPMN ?

o que é bpmn

BPMN é uma notação padrão que representa processos de negócios por meio de diagramas de processos de negócio. A abreviação vem do termo em inglês Business Process Modeling Notation – modelagem orientada a objetos.

Essa notação padrão foi desenvolvida pela Business Process Management Initiative como um método consistente para diagramar fluxos de processos de negócios. O BPMN é muito parecido com uma tabela de fluxo, mas é mais focado em gerar uma maneira útil e natural para gerenciar fluxos de trabalhos complexos.

Isso pode incluir qualquer um dos fatores internos e externos para contribuir com as operações da companhia. Usando o BPMN, supervisadores podem ter uma compreensão melhor das operações internas e mais conhecimento sobre como cada participante contribuir para o todo.

Normalmente, Stakeholders tem muitas questões para gerenciar, por isso se comunicar com clareza e de forma breve é muito importante. O BPMN é um dos melhores meios para implementar um método padronizado de compartilhamentos de fluxos de trabalho.

O BPMN é uma forma de tornar qualquer interessado tão informado quanto possível de qualquer atividade da empresa.

Como usar BPMN no meu negócio?

Stakeholders de negócios podem usar BPMN para ilustrar processos essenciais  das companhias. Essa é uma técnica muito eficaz para eliminar ineficiências, ajudar os membros a visualizarem novos caminhos e pode ser usada para inserir colaboradores de forma mais eficiente e eficaz.

BPMN 2.0 vs. BPMN

BPMN 2.0 é uma atualização do BPMN. Combinado com o BPDM – Business Process Definition Metamodel – uma forma única de linguagem. BPDM define conceitos usados para expressar os modelos de processos de negócios, enquanto BPMN 2.0 define a notação, metamodelo e um formato intercambiável.

Essa versão com nova forma e estrutura permite ao BPMN algumas funções adicionais que aumentam os possíveis usos e processos de decisão. BPMN 2.0  expande os usos do BPMN  para representação da criação e interação entre tarefas com modelos integrados ou unos.

Enquanto BPMN revela um sistema colaborativo de  negócio-para-negócio e processos de negócios internos, BPMN 2.0 amplia essa função providenciando símbolos para coreografias, colaborações, e conversas.

Para mais informações sobre BPMN acesse:



O que faz um contador e como ele pode ajudar sua startup

O que faz um contador e como ele pode ajudar sua startup

Você sabe o que faz um contador? Um contador é um profissional que tem como objetivos cuidar de diversos tipos de questões financeiras, bem como cuidar de questões financeiras, de ordem tribtária, econômica e patrimonial de uma empresa. No seu dia a dia, este profissional lida com planilhas, bem como demonstrativos de resultados, contas para pagar e ainda receber as guias de impostos e vários outros tipos de números.

Esta é uma profissão que exige muita atenção e responsabilidade por parte do contador. E para exercer as suas devidas atividades, os contadores precisam ter um diploma de graduação em contabilidade que seja reconhecido através do MEC e ainda obter o registro através do Conselho Regional de Contabilidade. Os profissionais técnicos em contabilidade precisam contar também com o registro do chamado CRC.

“Levando em conta um levantamento do Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea), saber o que faz um contador é importante, já que a contabilidade está entre uma das dez profissões que tem a maior taxa de ocupação em todo o país. Mais de 93% dos profissionais da área de contabilidade estão empregados, e principalmente trabalhando na sua área de atuação.” Afirma, Álvaro Nantes do site http://www.contabilidadezonanorte.com/.

Entenda o que faz um contador

O contador é um profissional fundamental para qualquer tipo de empresa e organização. Já que é ele quem acompanha todas as transações de empresas que ocorrem desde a sua abertura até mesmo o encerramento das suas atividades.

A função dos contadores não é restrita apenas a área de gestão de empresas, este profissional poderá ainda atuar nos mercados de seguro, perícia e auditoria.

Estes profissionais podem ainda atuar de forma autônoma ou como funcionários de escritórios de contabilidade, bem como empresas públicas e privadas, as organizações não governamentais e até mesmo em setores militares.

A auditoria contábil

Além de saber o que faz um contador, é importante saber que o profissional poderá atuar na área de auditoria contábil. O contador terá a função de verificar a exatidão de todas as informações contidas nos registros de ordem contábil, examinando ainda documentos contábeis, como os balanços, os fluxos de caixa, entre outras possibilidades.

Como escolher um sistema de Help Desk?

Quando estamos no processo de montar a nossa empresa pensamos em várias coisas, como por exemplo: onde vamos nos instalar, o preço que precisaremos para levantar o nosso empreendimento, o mercado consumidor, entre outras.

E algo que sempre deixamos para o final para pensar é o sistema de Help Desk, mas não se engane: tal escolha errada pode trazer grandes problemas adicionais, que vão, desde frustrar os seus clientes e até perder potenciais consumidores. Por isso, deve-se escolher com cuidado, deve ser o setor responsável por atender suas necessidades presentes e futuras.

As características básicas que você precisa realmente observar em qualquer solução de Help Desk são: a identificação e acompanhamento do problema relatado, busca da solução, comunicação e colaboração entre o sistema e o funcionário encarregado. Aqui vão algumas dicas para a hora de você escolher o seu provedor de Help Desk baseando-se nesses conceitos, veja:

Ferramentas de Monitoramento

Essa característica é necessária para ser possível manter qualquer informação do seu cliente com problemas, a forma que você enxerga o problema no sistema, os diferentes estágios em que se encontra e como você gerencia a resolução dessas dores de cabeça.

O recomendável é que o software de Help Desk deixe você manter qualquer informação sobre o cliente de forma que seja fácil localizar questões relacionadas a um cliente especifico. É extremamente importante que consigamos encontrar problemas não resolvidos, que já foram solucionados e ver em quanto tempo a solicitação de auxilio está em aberto e o tempo que tivemos para fazer o acompanhamento desse problema.

Como achar soluções para esses problemas

Um aspecto importante na busca para resolução de problemas é a possibilidade de achar na sua base atual de solução de ocorrências, algo que seja útil para esclarecer aquelas dúvidas que são expostas de forma mais recorrente.

Com isso você não perde se tempo resolvendo questões que já foram resolvidas dentro da sua empresa; é preciso ser capaz de achar essas situações e aplicá-las a seu problema atual.

Ferramentas que integram o setor de comunicação e colaboração

O software escolhido de Help Desk deve possuir ferramentas integradas de comunicação. Precisam ser capazes de possuir e utilizar ferramentas mais completas, como as responsáveis pela integração com chamadas de celular, videoconferência, ou algo mais simples como transformar as informações que estão contidas no Help Desk em mensagens de e-mail, com apensas um clique do mouse.

Não confie em soluções de Help Desk nas quais você copie a informação de um problema e cole em outro e-mail separado; a função de integração com o e-mail deve ser básica para qualquer tipo de software eficaz de Help Desk.

Um bom software precisa fornecer uma maneira de permitir que um grupo de profissionais da equipe de suporte técnico de colaborar na busca de uma resposta ao problema. Deve ser possível haver algumas maneiras de um individuo ser possível documentar a informação em um arquivo, e repassá-lo para outra pessoa que poderá ajudar na busca de uma melhor solução.