On Monday (21st) Acesso Digital announced an investment of BRL 580 million led by General Atlantic and SoftBank funds. The startup, created in 2007, made its first fundraising efforts this year. The first was in January when it received a round of BRL 40 million from Igah Ventures (investment manager born from the merger of e.bricks Ventures and Joá Investimentos earlier this year), and the second now – the highest amount ever received by a Saas (Software as a Service) company in Latin America in a Series B round.
According to the terms of the investment, General Atlantic (which has already invested in XP, Gympass, and QuintoAndar) and SoftBank Latin America Fund (which has invested in Loggi, Banco Inter, Creditas, and VTEX, among others) will each win a seat on Acesso’s board.
The IDTech works with digital identity protection solutions and will use the resource to hire new talents – mainly for its engineering teams – and to acquire companies.
“We are looking at the product roadmap, how we can shorten the time, looking at some companies that are already more evolved in themes that have synergy with our medium to long term strategy,” explained Paulo Alencastro, co-founder and VP of Strategy and M&A at Acesso Digital, in an interview with LABS. That is, to acquire companies that already have the products and solutions that Acesso wants to offer.
With this plan in mind, last month, the IDTech bought a Brazilian image analysis startup, Meerkat. “This acquisition came from the strategy of looking at technology teams. Computer vision, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, are part of data intelligence and it all makes sense to us,” stressed Alencastro.
When Acesso started the business, with its own capital, the startup intended to help companies to reduce red-tape processes. “We made companies’ business processes more digital using our platform,” said the co-founder. Since then, Acesso has matured not only the idea of its business model but also the technologies used by the startup to put it into practice. “We understand that the best way to work this part of the digitization of society would start from a central axis of the person’s digital identity.”
Thus, Acesso started to work with facial recognition seeking to guarantee the prevention of fraud.
COVID-19 accelerated the digitization process and also increased the number of fraud attempts, which leveraged Acessos’ demand. “We noticed a growth of around 30%”, said Alencastro. According to him, the pandemic anticipated by six months a behavior that was expected to happen only two years from now. “Things that until then had only been in the habit of doing physically started to be done digitally”.
The startup now has more than 400 customers, including banks like Itaú, Santander, fintechs like PicPay, and retailers like Magazine Luiza. For them, it offers digital identity authentication solutions such as facial recognition, remote admission, and electronic signature. Recently, the company has also started to serve the telemedicine sector.
Last year, the company earned BRL 74 million. Last month, Acesso had annual recurring revenue of BRL 120 million and intends to close 2020 with approximately BRL 150 million.
According to Reuters, Acesso has plans to hold an IPO in five to seven years. And although the company says it will concentrate its operations in Brazil in the next 18 months, an expansion for other countries in Latin America is also under study. “Within this process, we have already started the discussion to expand to other markets. I believe that within the short term we will have more clarity on the subject and possibly a global expansion”.