‘Banks will have the opportunity to be as flexible and nimble as fintechs that are built to disrupt the banks. We are pushing this model into other Latin American markets.’

By Nancy Dahlberg

While fintech companies are often built to disrupt banks. YellowPepper actually partners with them.

The Miami-based financial technology company is bringing secure mobile payment solutions to Latin America, a region where more than seven out of every 10 transactions are done with cash — still. Banks in Latin America are interested in distributing this technology there, too, and Latin America’s Gen Z, more than any other generation, is counting on it.

To be sure, expanding the cashless payment purchase experience throughout Latin America by delivering secure and easy to use payment technology is a tall order.  YellowPepper already has several products on the market and others in development.

Founded in 2004, YellowPepper pioneered mobile banking in Latin America before turning its focus to digital payments. Partnering with banks, it operates in 10 Latin American countries, and currently enables over 7 million monthly active users that execute 565 million transactions yearly.

Today, we’re catching up with the company, which has its headquarter office in Miami’s Little Haiti, and talking with CEO and co-founder Serge Elkiner. 

It’s been a little over a year since YellowPepper announced a strategic investment by VISA.  VISA and other funders invested $12.5 million into YellowPepper in May 2018, and the investment has been very positive for the company, said Elkiner. “We have deployed very interesting MVPs for different clients and we have launched products in tokenization, the security aspect of the transaction,” he said.

In addition to banks, YellowPepper is also partnering with other players to get the technology deployed sooner.

For instance, Yellow Pepper and a Brazilian payment technology firm, HST, announced this week that it has partnered up to create a consolidated digital payment offering where clients can get everything they need under one roof, the companies said, and deliver fintech solutions to banks and retailers in the region. HST also has an office in Miami.

 “Our clients want more and more of a one-stop shop provider to help them accelerate their digital offerings in the market. This strategic partnership with HST will help us bring them the best-in-breed solutions in a single simple and secure platform,” said Elkiner in announcing the strategic alliance with HST.

YellowPepper also filled us in on two other developments. 

YellowPepper is launching a solution with several banks in Peru to offer real-time peer-to-peer transfer, similar to Zelle or Venmo in the U.S.

“That’s very exciting and has tremendous opportunity in scale,” Elkiner said. “We’ll launch in Peru first and try to replicate it in different markets.”

YellowPepper also entered Brazil last year and is delivering its first mobile payments security product to a client this month, partnering with VISA and the third largest bank in Brazil.

“As you have more and more digital transactions, the biggest problem is the security of the transaction. As we grow the pie of digital transactions, we make sure the transactions are very secure,” Elkiner said.

How is YellowPepper doing?

  • YellowPepper is projecting 50% growth this year and is on track to hit that, Elkiner said. That’s more than double last year’s growth.
  • YellowPepper is now at 78 employees globally; about a dozen of them work in Miami.
  • With the $12.5 million raised last year, YellowPepper has raised $50 million in venture capital.

Elkiner said LatAm will continue to be the company’s primary frontier. There is so much more market there to conquer.

“Banks will have the opportunity to be as flexible and nimble as fintechs that are built to disrupt the banks. We are pushing this model into other Latin American markets.”

YellowPepper’s Miami office. Photos provided by YellowPepper

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email her at ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com

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Nancy Dahlberg

I am a writer, editor and a leader with extensive media experience and a passion for journalism and serving the community. Most of my career has been spent with the Miami Herald in business news, and my expertise is writing about entrepreneurs. I'm also good at research and project planning. I enjoy running community-focused projects and utilizing social media. Contact me at ndahlbergbiz@gmail.com
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