In June, Visa announced the acquisition of the Brazilian payment platform Pismo for US$1 billion in a move to expand its presence in Latin America. With this operation, the Brazilian startup becomes the first success story of the Falabella Ecosystem, turning into a unicorn.

Pismo, founded in 2016, is a payment processor and central banking platform operating in Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. In 2019, Falabella started collaborating with Pismo to develop the digital wallet Fpay, a platform where users could load their cards digitally regardless of the banking entity and make transfers using a QR code.

In 2021, Pismo raised US$108 million in a Series B funding round led by the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, along with Amazon, Accel, B3, Falabella Ventures, PruVen, and previous investors Headline and Redpoint Ventures.

In an interview with Forbes Chile, Gaston Bottazzini, CEO of Falabella, stated:

“We are very pleased to have bet on Pismo, with a result that encourages us to continue promoting and developing our Venture Capital area. Through the Falabella Ventures and Falabella Link programs, we will continue to support ventures related to our ecosystem that can generate innovative solutions for society’s challenges.”

The Falabella Ventures program seeks strategic investments in startups, while Falabella Link connects the ecosystem through pilot projects in sectors such as e-commerce, fintech, storetech, and logistics.

Currently, Pismo operates in Brazil, the United States, and the United Kingdom. With Visa’s investment, the company expects to hire more than 200 engineers and new employees for product, commercial, and management areas to continue its international expansion.

According to Statista data from February 2023, Kavak led the list of the most valuable unicorn companies in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a value of US$8.7 billion. Pismo joins the Brazilian unicorn frenzy, as the study indicates that seven of the top 10 startups valued at over US$1 billion are based in Brazil, with the most prominent ones being in the fintech sector, such as C6 Bank, Creditas, or EBANX.

Leading unicorn companies based on market value in Latin America in 2022
Leading unicorn companies based on market value in Latin America in 2022. (Source: Statista)

You may also be interested in reading: Visa acquires Brazilian payments platform Pismo for $1 billion

Why is it relevant for the VC firms in the region?

  • The acquisition of Pismo by Visa speaks of the opportunities that large firms find in the emerging markets of Latin America, as unlike other countries, fintech appears to be one of the most stable sectors for investment.
  • Furthermore, the fact that Pismo becomes the first unicorn backed by the Falabella fund showcases the potential of strategic investments in Latin American startups, motivating local VC investors to explore opportunities in emerging companies with high growth potential.

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For detailed information, visit: Forbes Chile