All eyes are on Las Vegas. Starting this Sunday (October 27th), the American city will be home for Money20/20, the leading conference on financial services worldwide. More than 3,000 people are expected to debate the future of money and the payments ecosystem in the world. And many of these eyes will be focused on one thing: Latin America and its huge business potential.
For the first time in eight years, the event will have a “Spotlight on LatAm” track on its agenda. At the stage, invitees will be discussing the banking transformation in the region, the emergence of Latin American fintechs and unicorns, and the opportunities of a market where the number of internet users surpasses the population of the USA.
Recently, LatAm has been chosen as the place to be by many investors. Financial services and the technology industry have been developing quickly: the region is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world and is attracting billions in investments from Venture Capital funds, such as SoftBank.
“When lives become digitized, and the traditional banking system has low penetration, the opportunity becomes exponential”, said Sanjib Kalita, spokesperson and editor-in-chief of Money20/20, in an interview to LABS.
He reminds that much of Latin America has had relative stability recently, and this has been increasing investors’ interest in the region. “There are millions of people seeking to upgrade their lives, which should hopefully lead to strong economic growth. Since our first event in 2012, Money20/20 has followed and tried to highlight the most exciting and energetic parts of the industry.” It is only natural, then, that Latin America becomes a main feature in this year’s conference.
What one can learn from Latin America
The Latin America track at Money20/20 will be mostly held on the first day of the event. Leaders will bring to the stage lessons on what are the best payment solutions for the region, the disruption in the investment and banking industries, and the emergence of Latin American fintechs and its specificities.
Executives from Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina, from companies such as Clip and dLocal, will be on stage to share their experiences.
According to Kalita, in general, Latin American fintechs have “a greater appetite to take a chance and try something new”. Companies such as Stone, MercadoLibre, EBANX, and Nubank (which have all became unicorns) are building their businesses based on the problems that Latinos are facing — difficulty to access banking services, high fees, and expensive credit, for instance.
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“This can be used to start testing and making improvements to the status quo”, says Kalita.
Bringing these experiences to the stage at Money20/20 is seen as an opportunity to promote synergy between the different actors and companies from the payments industry, and expanding business opportunities. “Historically, many folks in business and finance in Latin America tended to be inward facing and only rub shoulders with the ‘old boys’ club’. What the industry has recognized is that future growth will come from beyond this club”, says Kalita.
It is no accident that traditional banks and financial companies –not only in LatAm, but around the world– have opened up to new partnerships with fintechs or have even created spinoffs, expanding access to financial services and, ultimately, improving quality of life for millions of people worldwide. Latin America entrepreneurs and fintechs are in the midst of this movement — and ready to show it all at Money20/20.