Contxto – Stop your timers! We have a winner. It has been barely just 58 days from the November 20 launch-date of Colombia’s a2censo crowdfunding platform. And now, startup Alegra has managed to raise COP$250 million (just shy of US$75,000) on this Colombian Stock Exchange (BVC) -sanctioned operation.
This has all been thanks to the 147 investors who have put their trust (and their money) in this Medellín-based Colombian fintech.
Luckily for them, Alegra should at least have its affairs in order for its coming spending spree. This is given that it owes its success to its alluring administrative and accounting cloud-based software that helps SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) keep tabs of their transactions at the point of sale.
The company’s co-founder and CEO was certainly pleased. He decreed that the incoming funding would be “a catalyst to drive local business”. Specifically, the cash will be going into the development of their Alegra POS project
The startup has certainly already done rather well for itself. It currently brandishes a portfolio of a quarter of a million users—so, that’s one customer per Colombian peso raised in the a2censo round—, and can boast to have grown at a yearly rate of over 80 percent for the seventh year running.
As of today, Alegra can be found across Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, passing through Peru, Central America, the Dominican Republic, and beyond. Indeed, the quarter-million dollars will now go into further aggressive expansion.
What’s in a name?
We often use the term “startup” loosely. Do they have to be small businesses? Well, no, just ask Nubank. Do they have to be technological? Not necessarily.
Often a good indicator is that the company is privately run. Once the IPO (initial public offering) is out, some might stop considering you to be a startup.
But with the rise of alternative funding solutions like a2censo, we approach a strange blurring of the line that divides venture capital-funded startups with your run-of-the-mill public company.
The BVC has created this funding half-way house by giving its official blessing to what for all intents and purposes is a crowdfunding platform, but with the rigors of things like stated annualized return rates.
Interested parties can invest as little as US$58 through a2censo, and, in return, they receive investment bonds with a set interest rate. In Alegra’s case, the offering was of a healthy annualized rate of 12.56 percent.
So, is Alegra a startup? This author still thinks so. Let’s keep watching and see what happens next.
Related articles: Tech and startups in Colombia!
Wanna hear more? We recommend you listen to the following podcast episode: Cambio de reglas para las fintech argentinas y el llamado al estrellato de Notco. You can find the time stamp available in the description.
Correction: A previous version of this story mentioned Alegra raising US$250 million, the sum is, in fact, COP$250 million (just shy of US$75,000). Apologies.