Nubank jumps into Latam financials top five with $400 mln fundraising

SAO PAULO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Nubank, Latin America’s most prominent financial startup, has raised $400 million in its seventh funding round, valuing it among the region’s top five financial institutions, its CEO and founder David Velez said in an interview.

That would place Nubank behind mammoth Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Banco Bradesco SA, Banco Santander Brasil SA and XP Inc, according to Wednesday’s market capitalizations.

The latest funding round valued Nubank at roughly $25 billion, according to a source familiar with the matter, more than doubling its valuation since the last funding round in July 2019. Nubank declined to comment on the valuation.

Its loan book is less than 1.5% of Brazil’s biggest lender Itau, yet the $25 billion valuation would put it at roughly half of Itau’s market value.

Nubank was founded in 2013 in Brazil as an issuer of a purple credit card with no annual fee. Since then, it has gained 34 million clients, launched new products and expanded throughout Latin America. Over the last seven years, it raised $1.2 billion in various funding rounds.

Singapore’s state investor GIC Pte Ltd, tech investor Whale Rock and Invesco led the new funding round, alongside existing investors Sequoia, Tencent, Dragoneer and Ribbit.

Nubank will use the proceeds to expand in Brazil and also in Mexico and Colombia, said Velez, a Stanford-educated Colombian who founded Nubank after negative experiences with Brazilian banks as an expat in Sao Paulo.

Nubank launched operations in Mexico and Colombia last year and is still scaling up those subsidiaries.

It also plans to launch new services, such as corporate credit cards, boost personal loans and expand its brokerage unit Easynvest, mainly aiming at middle-class individuals.

“2021 is the year we will pursue client base growth and diversification,” said Velez. “With more products to offer, we will become a full service financial institution for clients.” (Reporting by Carolina Mandl. Editing by Mark Potter)