Nubank Transforms Banking In Latin America

Brazilian digital bank Nu Pagamentos (Nubank)—the largest FinTech startup in Latin America—has found success in transforming the banking industry in Brazil.

Founded in 2013 by Cristina Junqueira, David Vélez, and Edward Wible, Nubank began as a small startup that gave people control over their finances. All three of its founders created the endeavor because they were tired of traditional banking, specifically the way large financial institutions catered to the wealthy.

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

“I worked for the largest incumbent bank in Brazil for five years and I was just done making rich people richer. I was trying to make a lot of changes to make consumers’ lives better and failing miserably at it. And at some point I was like, ‘you know what? I’m done’,” Junqueira said in an interview.

Nubank has gone on to become the largest digital bank in the world, reaching unicorn status by 2018. Last year, it raised $400 million in a Series F round of funding led by TCV, making it the first major Latin American investment by the California-based fund. Previous contributors also participated in the round, including Tencent, DST Global, Sequoia Capital, Dragoneer, Ribbit Capital, and Thrive Capital.

Nubank also expanded into Mexico and Argentina last year, and now has more than 13 million customers.

As it continues towards expansion, the company has made some deals this year. In January it made an “acqui-hire” deal, bringing on employees from Plataformatec, a Brazilian consultancy specializing in agile method and in the development and management of digital products. It currently has more than 2,700 employees in Sao Paulo, Berlin, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires.

And in June, Nubank announced it had acquired Cognitect, the U.S.-based software consultancy behind the Clojure programming language and the Datomic database. Nubank is the largest company to adopt Clojure at scale. As part of the deal, Nubank will now employ some of the most experienced Clojure engineers in the world.

“This deal is a fundamental step in Nubank’s growth as it will help us further strengthen our team, improve our products, and expand our operations in a healthy and sustainable manner,” said Wible, co-founder and CTO of Nubank.

Rich Hickey will remain at the helm of Clojure, which remains independent, and will continue to manage the firm’s technical direction.