Monkey, a financial marketplace for receivables in Latin America, has raised $6 million in Series A funding.
Quona Capital and Kinea Ventures co-led the round.
The São Paulo-based startup was founded in 2016 by a trio that includes former Citi investment banker Gustavo Müller, Bruno Oliveira (who worked in strategic planning for Telefonica) and Felipe Adorno, an ex-senior developer for Netshoes and Infracommerce.
Monkey has developed what it describes as Supply Chain Finance (SCF) programs for small and medium enterprises. So what does that mean exactly? It pairs up SMEs with large enterprises such as Brazilian petrochemical giant Petrobras and Fiat Chrysler, and banks. Through its network, the company claims that buyers can “find the best receivables in the market, suppliers get the best sales conditions, and sponsors strengthen their businesses and production chains.”
Monkey was founded on the premise that the Brazilian financial system is highly concentrated among just a few players, with little competition -- a common refrain in Latin America.
“You have high rates, the spreads are crazy and it’s almost impossible for small and medium companies to access additional capital at a reasonable price,” CEO Müller told TechCrunch.
Monkey’s goal, he said, is to solve SMEs frustrations by creating “a competitive environment that brings multiple financial institutions onto Monkey's platform to compete for the purchase of SMEs’ receivables with top tier buyers.”
Today, Monkey has 55 large companies on its platform, many of whom signed on in 2020, leading the startup to see its trading volume surge from about $187 million to $1.5 billion over the course of the year.
Jonathan Whittle, partner and co-founder of Quona Capital, said his firm -- which invests in startups focused on fintech for inclusion in emerging markets -- was impressed with what he described as Monkey’s “novel approach.”
By combining buyer-sanctioned marketplaces and auction-based pricing through a multi-funder platform, small and medium enterprises in Brazil have access to credit in a way that they never have before, making the cost of capital more affordable, he said.
“What we're excited about with Monkey is how it is opening up access to Supply Chain Finance for all the suppliers of larger enterprises, not just the large and mid-sized ones that have typically had access to it,” Whittle told TechCrunch.
The startup plans to use its fresh capital to double its team of 40 in 2021, and to grow operations not only in Brazil, but across Latin America by providing the same offerings for its own clients in other countries. It also plans to use the money to improve user experience and roll out new products such as a credit card marketplace.
“We actually think that what they're doing is fundamentally different to the way that Supply Chain Finance has been done anywhere around the globe,” Whittle said. “Typically these have been relationships between one bank and a buyer. And what Monkey is doing is kind of turning it on its head with a value proposition that we think is super strong for all three participants in the marketplace.”
Quona’s other investments in the region include Creditas, BizCapital, Neon, Contabilizei, Kovi, Konfio, Klar and ADDI.
Kinea Ventures is a venture capital fund focused on investments in the financial services and technology space. The new fund is part of one of the main alternative investment managers in Brazil, Kinea Investimentos, which was founded in 2007 in a partnership with Itaú Unibanco, and currently has US$13 billion in assets under management.
Monkey had previously raised about $1.5 million through two seed rounds from investors such as Wayra Brazil – Telefonica Group's CVC – and Parallax Ventures.