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Contxto – Last week, the payment startup from São Paulo, Celcoin, closed a BR$6 million (approximately US$1.5 million) round from Vox Capital.
Although the company’s operations are already breaking even, it still raised external funding, to accelerate its expansion and boost growth exponentially.
Founded in 2016 with no more than 25 employees, Celcoin has created a network of 15 thousand small businesses, known as agents. These agents become the point of sale that allows people to pay for certain services – mainly utility bill.
In essence, the startup developed an app to turn a smartphone into a POS terminal for bill payments. People can now visit these commerces and liquidate their balances and bills. Some examples include cellphone recharges, utility bill payments, digital content purchases, games, public transport tickets, among other conveniences. All the while, the agents are able to earn commissions from those payments.
On average, the startup already processes over R$120 million a month of bill payments. Due to this enormous volume of transactions, the startup had to request an operating license in order to become a certified payment institution.
Daniel Izzo, Vox Capital’s CEO, emphasized the importance of the platform in local communities. Apparently, this is why it caught the fund’s attention in the first place.
“The app has transformed the lives of many people,” said Izzo. “The agent network is already serving more than a million people per month. Oftentimes, many of them don’t have access to payment branches or basic utility services.”
“More than R$8 million in commissions for the sale of these services has already been granted to our users, and we’re just getting started,” said Marcelo França, Celcoin’s CEO. “We want to become the complementary income for every micro-entrepreneur.”
These services allow Celcoin to democratize and provide access to valuable services. Much of this is due to partnerships with concessionaires, banks, and distributors. Therefore, this creates opportunities and enables small entrepreneurs to be agents of local transformation.
In the process, Celcoin reduces the economic vulnerability of their region, especially in rural areas. App users also earn bonuses for each transaction.
On average, Celcoin attracts over 130 people per month into their establishments, by account if the services offered. Celcoin also offers an open API to enable integration with other partners.