Neobank Revolut arrives in Brazil and promises financial superapp in the second semester

March 29, 2022
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The competition among digital banks in Brazil promises to get even tougher.

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Revolut, the second most valuable neobank in the world, announced its local leadership and is expected to launch a financial superapp in the country with a focus on international products in the second half of 2022.

As the largest market in Latin America, Brazil is a "strategic priority," according to Nik Storonsky, founder of the digital bank currently valued at $33 billion after a round led by SoftBank and Tiger Global in July 2021. The company currently has a portfolio of 18 million customers in 35 countries.

To lead the Brazilian subsidiary, Revolut chose Glauber Mota, a former partner at BTG Pactual, who, among his achievements, set up the bank's digital retail operation and led the private banking operation in Switzerland. The executive joins Felipe Lachowski, who leads the strategy and operations area of the company in Brazil, and 10 other employees.

With plans to accelerate hiring in the coming months and create a technology hub in Brazil, the British neobank is not afraid of competition. In an interview with Startups, Glauber said that the Brazilian market is still very inefficient in markets where Revolut is strong.

"There is no doubt that Nubank is a standout, there are other entrants trying to do exchange solutions, opening accounts for customers abroad. But they are all local companies looking to expand outside of Brazil and we are bringing a relevant competitive differentiator," says the executive.
"We are coming at the other end of convergence, with a presence in dozens of global markets and a mature product. We are the first successful case of super app outside China, and differentiated in relation to any player that is trying to do this in Brazil," he adds.

What Revolut has
Neobank should be launched in Brazil before the World Cup in November, starting with the international account and card. The offer should enable customers to buy currencies like the dollar for later use and automatic conversion to more than 25 currencies, for example. According to Glauber, the proposal is an alternative for Brazilians who use credit cards and exchange houses paying high fees on e-commerce sites or traveling abroad.

"The exchange world in Brazil still has very high spread rates, and for the small customer who wants to exchange little money, it is even worse, because only the big ones have access to better rates. Revolut is democratic in this," he adds.

Investments in international exchanges and a cryptocurrency offering, which Glauber describes as much more user-friendly than most alternatives on the market, are on the post-launch roadmap. "Considering Mercado Bitcoin, which is a crypto specialist, our experience is unmatched and much better," the executive points out.

"We see a very high demand in crypto. We will bring a very relevant solution for this segment, which many of the Brazilian players try to copy. We will also have a solution for direct access to investments abroad - which there are people doing in Brazil as well, but we will deliver everything in a single app with a differentiated experience," he adds.

Other services that Revolut customers in Brazil will have in the future include a proprietary travel booking solution with cashback, supported by global partnerships such as large hotel chains. Revolut Junior, a gamified financial education product in which parents can, for example, reward teenagers and children for household chores through the app, is in the plans.

An insurance offer and an account for companies, with services such as payroll management, are also among the services of the super-app, according to Glauber. "The end game is to bring the full Revolut experience to Brazil, and this is a matter of phasing: we will start with this [global account] offering, which is a specialty of ours abroad, and we will add to the portfolio of features," he explains.

Possible acquisitions

Unlike other players about to enter the Brazilian market - such as N26, whose core banking in Brazil is developed by techfin Pismo - Revolut develops its own technology. According to Glauber, proprietary technology enables a more agile launch. "[Brazil] is an addendum to our global platform, we are making customizations to adapt to local rules, but we don't need to do everything from scratch," he points out.

The fact that Revolut does the main thing in house does not mean that the company is averse to acquisitions. Last month, neobank bought Arvin Forex, a foreign exchange remittance company to accelerate regulatory compliance and operation in India, for example.

"We have not ruled out making acquisitions in Brazil as well, but that is something that will come over time. As we have the global platform to start very well, we will over time plan what is the best way to accelerate things here," says the executive, adding that one of the options in Brazil would be to make acqui-hires (acquisition modality in which a company buys the talent of another), mainly in technology.

Revolut's biggest challenge for the coming months, according to the CEO of the Brazilian operation, is to "attract the right talents for a group that has the appetite to create a large team", besides the competition for the best professionals. "Other players want the same talents as us, and our bar is high, so there is a hiring challenge," he points out.

In addition, the company will need to guarantee that its offer is adherent to the demands of the Brazilian consumer. For this, the operation commanded by Glauber will create a committee of initial customers, which will support a strategy focused on adhesion and points of improvement. "We will do well-done tests with the first interested customers to guarantee that the solution will be ideal when we go to the open sea," he concludes.

Las opiniones compartidas y expresadas por los analistas son libres e independientes, y de ellas son responsables sus autores. No reflejan ni comprometen el pensamiento u opinión de Latam Fintech Hub, por lo cual no pueden ser interpretadas como recomendaciones emitidas por la platafomra. Esta plataforma es un espacio abierto para promover la diversidad de puntos de vista sobre el ecosistema Fintech.

Revolut, the second most valuable neobank in the world, announced its local leadership and is expected to launch a financial superapp in the country with a focus on international products in the second half of 2022.

As the largest market in Latin America, Brazil is a "strategic priority," according to Nik Storonsky, founder of the digital bank currently valued at $33 billion after a round led by SoftBank and Tiger Global in July 2021. The company currently has a portfolio of 18 million customers in 35 countries.

To lead the Brazilian subsidiary, Revolut chose Glauber Mota, a former partner at BTG Pactual, who, among his achievements, set up the bank's digital retail operation and led the private banking operation in Switzerland. The executive joins Felipe Lachowski, who leads the strategy and operations area of the company in Brazil, and 10 other employees.

With plans to accelerate hiring in the coming months and create a technology hub in Brazil, the British neobank is not afraid of competition. In an interview with Startups, Glauber said that the Brazilian market is still very inefficient in markets where Revolut is strong.

"There is no doubt that Nubank is a standout, there are other entrants trying to do exchange solutions, opening accounts for customers abroad. But they are all local companies looking to expand outside of Brazil and we are bringing a relevant competitive differentiator," says the executive.
"We are coming at the other end of convergence, with a presence in dozens of global markets and a mature product. We are the first successful case of super app outside China, and differentiated in relation to any player that is trying to do this in Brazil," he adds.

What Revolut has
Neobank should be launched in Brazil before the World Cup in November, starting with the international account and card. The offer should enable customers to buy currencies like the dollar for later use and automatic conversion to more than 25 currencies, for example. According to Glauber, the proposal is an alternative for Brazilians who use credit cards and exchange houses paying high fees on e-commerce sites or traveling abroad.

"The exchange world in Brazil still has very high spread rates, and for the small customer who wants to exchange little money, it is even worse, because only the big ones have access to better rates. Revolut is democratic in this," he adds.

Investments in international exchanges and a cryptocurrency offering, which Glauber describes as much more user-friendly than most alternatives on the market, are on the post-launch roadmap. "Considering Mercado Bitcoin, which is a crypto specialist, our experience is unmatched and much better," the executive points out.

"We see a very high demand in crypto. We will bring a very relevant solution for this segment, which many of the Brazilian players try to copy. We will also have a solution for direct access to investments abroad - which there are people doing in Brazil as well, but we will deliver everything in a single app with a differentiated experience," he adds.

Other services that Revolut customers in Brazil will have in the future include a proprietary travel booking solution with cashback, supported by global partnerships such as large hotel chains. Revolut Junior, a gamified financial education product in which parents can, for example, reward teenagers and children for household chores through the app, is in the plans.

An insurance offer and an account for companies, with services such as payroll management, are also among the services of the super-app, according to Glauber. "The end game is to bring the full Revolut experience to Brazil, and this is a matter of phasing: we will start with this [global account] offering, which is a specialty of ours abroad, and we will add to the portfolio of features," he explains.

Possible acquisitions

Unlike other players about to enter the Brazilian market - such as N26, whose core banking in Brazil is developed by techfin Pismo - Revolut develops its own technology. According to Glauber, proprietary technology enables a more agile launch. "[Brazil] is an addendum to our global platform, we are making customizations to adapt to local rules, but we don't need to do everything from scratch," he points out.

The fact that Revolut does the main thing in house does not mean that the company is averse to acquisitions. Last month, neobank bought Arvin Forex, a foreign exchange remittance company to accelerate regulatory compliance and operation in India, for example.

"We have not ruled out making acquisitions in Brazil as well, but that is something that will come over time. As we have the global platform to start very well, we will over time plan what is the best way to accelerate things here," says the executive, adding that one of the options in Brazil would be to make acqui-hires (acquisition modality in which a company buys the talent of another), mainly in technology.

Revolut's biggest challenge for the coming months, according to the CEO of the Brazilian operation, is to "attract the right talents for a group that has the appetite to create a large team", besides the competition for the best professionals. "Other players want the same talents as us, and our bar is high, so there is a hiring challenge," he points out.

In addition, the company will need to guarantee that its offer is adherent to the demands of the Brazilian consumer. For this, the operation commanded by Glauber will create a committee of initial customers, which will support a strategy focused on adhesion and points of improvement. "We will do well-done tests with the first interested customers to guarantee that the solution will be ideal when we go to the open sea," he concludes.

Las opiniones compartidas y expresadas por los analistas son libres e independientes, y solamente sus autores son responsables de ellas. No reflejan ni comprometen el pensamiento o la opinión del equipo de Latam Fintech Hub y, por lo tanto, no pueden interpretarse como recomendaciones emitidas por la plataforma. Esta plataforma es un espacio abierto para promover la diversidad de puntos de vista en el ecosistema Fintech.
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