Impacta VC’s Catalina Taricco on Backing Retorna

Plus, Retorna CEO Atilana Piñón shares growth strategy as VC firm makes its largest investment to date
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In a significant development for Latin America’s fintech sector, Impacta VC has announced its largest investment to date in Retorna, a startup poised to transform the remittance industry. This underscores the growing importance of innovative financial solutions in the region and highlights the potential for technology to address critical social and economic challenges.

Catalina Taricco

Catalina Taricco, COO & CMO of Impacta VC, shared insights into the decision-making process behind this investment. “Retorna reached a very good company level with operations sustained 100% by bootstrapping before raising this round,” Taricco explained. “This already demonstrated their great ability to build the company and solve the problem they set out to address.”

The investment was influenced by several key factors, including Retorna’s multidisciplinary team, the vast market size they’re addressing, and their potential for global scalability. However, what truly sets Retorna apart is its founders’ personal connection to the problem they’re solving. As Taricco noted, “Their main differentiation is that all their founders are the primary users of the problem they solve, that is, they manage it from a personal need as migrants, which generates an unstoppable force and motivation.”

This personal understanding translates into a service that not only processes remittances faster but also reaches more remote locations, expanding financial access to underserved areas. Perhaps most notably, Retorna offers 24/7 customer service with human representatives. “They have 24/7 customer service attended by humans that provides quick solutions to their customers, adjusting to each case, with the flexibility and focus that their users need. That is worth gold today,” Taricco emphasized.

“Our goal [at Retorna] is to grow the user base to gain dominance in the markets where we operate.”

Atilana Piñón, Retorna’s co-founder and CEO

Despite the complex regulatory landscape of the remittance industry in Latin America, Retorna is making swift progress. The company is currently opening five new routes every two to three weeks, navigating the regulatory requirements of different countries with apparent ease. This rapid expansion is a testament to both Retorna’s agile technology and its team’s ability to navigate complex regulatory environments.

Atilana Piñón, co-founder and CEO of Retorna, outlined the company’s growth strategy: “Our goal is to grow the user base to gain dominance in the markets where we operate.” This aligns with Impacta VC’s expectations for the company. As Taricco shared, “We hope they will take their company to the next level, taking a larger market share in an industry that in Latin America alone moves US$160 million.”

Impacta VC’s involvement goes beyond mere capital injection. The firm plans to support Retorna with knowledge and connections, helping the startup navigate its growth journey. “Our goal is to help with capital, knowledge and connections,” Taricco explained. “This goes far beyond just depositing a check for them, what interests us is to accompany them on their growth path and add continuous value.”

In the short term, Impacta VC will assist Retorna in designing and executing its Series A strategy, aiming to help the company secure its next funding round. The VC firm also plans to support Retorna’s market penetration efforts and the opening of new routes.

This investment aligns closely with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 10.2, which focuses on reducing inequalities and promoting social, economic, and political inclusion. By providing a more efficient and accessible remittance service, Retorna is helping millions of migrants worldwide integrate financially and overcome one of the major challenges of leaving their home countries.

Impacta VC’s investment in Retorna reflects a growing trend in venture capital: the alignment of financial returns with social impact. As Taricco states, “For investors, the greater the impact, the more valuable the company will be. It is a whole that works in parallel, there is no social impact if there are no operations and financial returns.”

In the competitive fintech landscape, Retorna’s success will likely depend on its ability to maintain its unique value proposition while scaling operations. Taricco highlighted the unique dynamics of the sector: “As Atilana said, in this industry there is the ‘frenemy’, a combination of the words ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’, where they ‘fight’ with the competition for customers, but there is also a collaborative environment in terms of platforms, learning from each other’s mistakes and successes.”

As Retorna continues to expand and refine its services, it stands as an example of how technology can address critical social needs while building a successful business. For Latin America’s tech ecosystem, this investment signals the potential for homegrown solutions to solve regional and global challenges, paving the way for more impactful startups in the future.

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