Global since its inception, Jeeves, a hybrid-remote startup that offers management and revenue-based financing solutions for fast-growing companies, announced its arrival in Brazil. Jeeves’ CEO and co-founder Dileep Thazhmon told LABS that Latin America’s largest economy will be the startup‘s fourth region, following a $180 million Series C round led by Tencent and closed only a few weeks ago, in which Jeeves reached a $2.1 billion valuation (yep, a brand new unicorn).
Founded in 2019 by Thazhmon and Sherwin Gandhi, Jeeves first launched in Mexico in March 2021. The U.S. and Canada (Jeeves’ second region) came right after that, followed by other Spanish-speaking countries (Colombia, Chile, and Peru) and, then, the U.K. and Europe (Jeeves’ third region). Jeeves is present in 24 countries and wants to reach 40 in the next three years.
It’s really all happening fast for this one-year-old startup. In the last 12 months, the company snagged over $380 million in investments.
It closed its $131 million Series A in May 2021. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and included YC Continuity Fund, Jaguar Ventures, Urban Innovation Fund, Uncorrelated Ventures, Clocktower Ventures, Stanford University, 9 Yards Capital, and BlockFi Ventures.
At the end of August, Jeeves sealed a $57 million CRV-led Serie B round, reaching a $500 million valuation. The round was followed by new investors, such as Tencent, Silicon Valley Bank, The Chainsmokers, among others, the founders of eight Latin American unicorn companies, including Adolfo Babatz (CEO, Clip), Gabriel Braga (CEO, QuintoAndar), Pierpaolo Barbieri (CEO, Uala), and many other startups’ founders in the region.
Besides previous investors, this latest Series C round was also accompanied by family offices linked with FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) founders and Carlo Enrico, president of Mastercard for Latin America and the Caribbean.
But enough with the investors. Let’s talk about Jeeves’ business model and what seems to be attracting so much attention.
Jeeves portfolio is currently made of four products: the corporate card; B2B payments – for any non-card payment, Jeeves offers a local solution, such as ACH in the U.S., SPEI in Mexico, and (soon) PIX in Brazil –; working capital loans, with payment terms of 30, 60 and 90 days; and, finally, a kind of venture debt, revenue-based financing, by which Jeeves analysis the revenue coming in, projects the cash coming out and anticipates part of the forecasted revenue for its customers.
To sum up, its all-in-one, card-based management platform, is capable of working in the same way across all its markets, helping startups and other types of fast-growing companies to move money smartly and insightfully while having access to credit. It is also a model capable of growing with its customers. A company can use a Jeeves card in the U.S., paying its expenses in USD, or Mexico, paying in Mexican pesos, and so on.
Since Series B, Jeeves has doubled its customer base to over 3,000 companies – more than 1,000 of them in Latin America, still the startup‘s largest market – and multiplied its revenue tenfold (Thazhmon hasn’t opened up exactly how much for LABS). And that is far from its potential. Thazhmon said the startup’s revenue in the first two months of 2022 has already surpassed the entire year of 2021. In addition, Jeeves states it has exceeded $1 billion in gross annual transaction volume (GTV), with an average monthly growth of 76% on this metric.
In addition to expanding geographically, what Jeeves seeks with all this capital is to beef up its infrastructure to operate with different currencies, hire qualified professionals and accelerate the integration of new companies to its platform.
Thazhmon told LABS that the startup is landing in Brazil with 3,000-4,000 companies on its waiting list – about a third of the customers come to the startup via word-of-mouth referrals. Jeeves wants to launch its card-based entry product in the next 60-90 days and its loan solutions in 45-60 days. “We want to have tested our lending product by the end of April,” stressed Thazhmon. In Latin America as a whole, Jeeves is already used by many unicorns and fast-growing companies, such as Kavak and Rappi, to name a few, and they will use the startup in Brazil as well. “Startups are more open to trying new products, but they are only 35% of our customers; 30% are enterprises, and the other third is medium-sized businesses,” detailed Thazhmon.
By setting foot in the largest Latin American market, Jeeves also knows that it will face many competitors, like Clara and Conta Simples. What Thazhmon argues, however, is that most of them operate only locally and that Jeeves builds its own infrastructure, meaning it masters the process of collecting and analyzing revenue data, which brings much more embedded intelligence to its solutions.
“Most companies plug into a third-party provider in their country, get the information they need and send it back to their customers. What we do is that our app plugs into our own infrastructure lawyer, which plugs into the platform’s different components in each region. So we own the entire vertical stack [of our solutions]. That gives us a lot more flexibility because we do the underwriting, providing the capital in the customers’ local currency, and providing the payment railroads they need. So if you are a fast-growing company in Brazil, you can use different vendors: one for local corporate cards, one for working capital, one connecting you with PIX, etc. But if you want to go to Mexico, you will have to replicate that there and coordinate these six vendors. Or you can come to Jeeves, and we can provide you this full-stack platform, and you can go anywhere having the same level of service and consolidating all of your operations’ data [in one place],” explained Thazhmon. Indeed, 60% of Jeeves’ customers have operations in more than one country or territory.
The startup is able to do all that because it maintains a central US account and local operating accounts. So, when Jeeves does credit assessment, it looks at all the company’s transactions, including the USD account in which the startup has deposited its last rounds. And that no traditional bank does.
By looking at each customer globally, Jeeves can also allocate credit where it is needed, preventing the company from losing money by moving money from one country to another.