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Em Conversa Fintech Ecosystems South America

Em Conversa: Adaptable Payment Products for Financial Institutions and NBFIs With Pismo

Em Conversa looks to uncover the secrets in Latin America (LatAm) that have caused the fintech market to boom, from being worth less than $50million in 2016, to $2.1billion in 2022. This week we spoke to Ricardo Josua, co-founder and CEO at Pismo about the necessity of flexible and scalable solutions in the banking and payments spheres. 

Ricardo Josua, co-founder and CEO at Pismo
Ricardo Josua, co-founder and CEO at Pismo

Pismo is a technology company providing an all-in-one processing platform for those in the banking and payments sectors: large banks, marketplaces, and fintechs already use its cloud-native microservices platform. Its clients are launching next-generation solutions while migrating their legacy systems onto the most advanced platform in the market.

Pismo was founded in 2016 by experienced entrepreneurs and techies. It is a global company headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. 

As the LatAm fintech market continues to grow, Josua explains how Pismo’s services are tailored to help all those looking to expand in the region and beyond. 

Can you tell me more about the company and your role in it?

Pismo provides an all-in-one cloud-native platform for banking and payments. Today, Pismo has 366 professionals working remotely across the globe. Last October, the company received $108million in a Series B funding round led by Amazon, SoftBank, and Accel.

Since the beginning, Pismo solutions were designed to allow full customisation of its API and microservices platform. This “Lego” format enables customers to accelerate innovations and have instant scalability while maintaining complete control over the UX. This unique approach has called the attention and trust of big names in the market like Banco Itaú, the largest private bank in Latin America, and BTG Pactual, the largest investment bank in the region. Our clients also include international players like Falabella, a large retail chain headquartered in Chile, and N26 Brazil, the local operation of the renowned German-headquartered digital bank.

Nowadays, the Pismo platform manages 55 million accounts and is processing $110billion in transactions a year for customers in countries as Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, India, the UK, and Southeast Asia.

I’m the CEO and one of the four founders of Pismo. In 2016, Daniela Binatti reached out with this business idea: an open infrastructure for financial and non-financial institutions allowing reliable, secure and agile services. So we created Pismo to provide flexible and scalable solutions to payments and banking.

What was lacking in the LatAm region to spark Pismo into existence?

Latin America has one of the world’s fastest-growing banking sectors. According to Crunchbase, more than $7billion has been invested into Latin American financial services companies over the last five years.

Although there is still a large unbanked population in the region, the local economic scenario has stimulated the region’s banking system development. The adoption of internet banking in Brazil, for example, occurred years before it was implemented in the US For many decades, the financial sectors have been leading investments in technology in the region.

Another critical factor is the regulatory scenario: even though Latin America has an over-regulated system, there is a trend from central banks to stimulate innovation and foment financial inclusion.

Pismo was born in Brazil, and it is a global company now. We have operations and customers throughout the world. The core banking and payment platform we provide is designed on open and bleeding-edge technology. It allows financial – and non-financial – institutions to offer banking and payment products, adapting to any country’s regulations and specifications.

How has the LatAm fintech market differed from other regions?

The Latin American banking system is highly regulated and built upon high transaction fees. This and the fact that only 51 per cent of the population have bank accounts could be roadblocks for the region. But we are talking about 650 million people across 33 countries, which transforms the area into a very attractive market to fintech innovation.

The region is also becoming even more interesting for international players. To quickly land in Latin America, players like the German-headquartered neobank, N26, has chosen to use Pismo in Brazil for core banking processing and credit card issuing.

Also, with the rise of e-commerce in the region, many non-financial institutions are willing to offer financial services, especially retailers. Fpay, the digital wallet of Falabella Groups, a large retail chain headquartered in Chile, with operations across Latin-America, runs on Pismo’s platform.

What are some significant trends in the LatAm fintech space?

I can highlight three major trends that are happening right now in Latam:

First is the growing number of neobanks launching operations in the region. According to NeoBanks.app, There are 250 neobanks in the world in May 2022, of which 54 are in South America.

Second is the availability of new and improved digital payments and new alternative solutions. The Brazilian Central Bank (BCB) created Pix, the Brazilian IP scheme that enables its users — people, companies, and governmental entities — to instantly send or receive payment transfers, including non-business days.

The BCB has reported that more than 60 per cent of adults have used Pix to pay or receive payments In the first year of operation, making it one of the most used payment methods in the country.

And third is the rise of e-commerce in the region. Although the adoption of e-commerce in this part of the world is still lower than in other emerging areas, online retail sales in Latin America are expected to hit $160billion by 2025.

What are the most important things for a company to consider if they’re looking to expand into LatAm?

Although Latin America is a vast region, it’s not cohesive. It’s not the same doing business in Brazil and in Mexico – the two largest economies. And even more complicated to understand, adapt and comply with each of the 33 different financial systems that we have here. There is no “one size fits all.” That’s why Pismo was created based on the concept of open architecture. It makes it easier for any client to build upon it, increasing efficiency and allowing the solution to grow according to each company’s strategic plan and within every market’s own regulation.

What are the most important things for a LatAm company to consider if they’re looking to expand to another region?

Any globalisation strategy must be very well designed considering market specifics, opportunities and trends but, above all, people. The company’s culture is led and implemented by people and they are any company’s biggest asset.

Final thoughts – anything else you would like to mention?

We are proud of our origins and we understand that this expertise can be helpful to global players that want to accelerate the entrance into the region. But the other way around is also true. Our experience in such a diverse region as LatAm gives us the capability to be able to support operations worldwide. We have clients in Canada, India, the UK, and we are expanding in Asia with a recently-opened office in Singapore.

Author

  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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