Contxto – Troubling times and uncertainty in the Argentine economy continue to provide opportunities for startups to make a difference. With a reported 50 percent annual inflation rate, the people of this soccer-savvy country are in big need of keeping the value of their buck. What is Ualá’s fintech solution to this problem? Invest, people.
In partnership with Argentine firm Grupo SBS Financial Services, Ualá’s app users can now complete investments through this recently launched feature. Although you can only partake in low-risk mutual investment funds.
And hey, that helps keep your money’s value.
Because of this, users can start investing with as little as one Argentine peso. All they have to do is bust out their e-wallet on Ualá’s app. Moreover, according to a recent press release, users can withdraw their investment whenever they choose.
For Ualá’s CEO and founder, Pierpaolo Barbieri, now was the right time to launch because there’s a big need to encourage savings in Argentina.
“We’ve chosen this moment because we want to offer Argentines a good way to save,” he said in recent correspondence with Contxto.
“If we can’t do it better than the rest, we won’t go for it. And we believe it’s going to be a great feature. In this regard, people can sign up and experience immediate financial relief with as little as 1 peso. There are no limits. Plus, a level of transparency never before seen in such a lackluster market.”
A beta version of the app was launched in October. During that time, over 52,000 accounts were opened by a selected pool of customers with ARS$32 million (almost US$537,000) entering the fund.
Educating your users
For many people, saving consists of hoarding hard-earned cash underneath the mattress at home, safe and sound. While I highly encourage everybody to save money, the mattress approach can be risky when inflation abounds in Argentina.
Under those circumstances, low-risk investments can better protect the value of your money. This is why for Ualá, it’s important not only to innovate but promote financial inclusion through education. Keeping this in mind, the fintech also tries to educate its users to save and invest through multiple strategies.
“We have various initiatives from our User Community, to our new blog, where I often write but the team also pitches in, as well as various managers,” explained Barbieri. “Also, we have a YouTube channel with tutorials, including ones over our new investment product. We want everyone to learn and become capable of making informed decisions.”
Rapid fintech growth
Ualá has been on a roll this year. For example, it landed an investment from the Chinese tech giant Tencent in April. Then, it launched its credit line in July, not to mention being backed by major league investors George Soros and Steve Cohen.
Now, with over one million prepaid cards distributed throughout Argentina since its founding, the startup is entering the field of facilitating investments. Where will it go next in its quest for financial inclusion? Honestly, I’m eager to find out.