Business

Aiming to serve gig workers in Latin America, fintech Lana raises $12 million

Base10 Partners, Cabify and Cathay participated in the funding round of the platform, which operates in Mexico and Chile and plans to debut in Peru next year

Pablo Muñiz, founder and CEO of Lana. Photo: Lana / Courtesy

Spain-based personal finance platform Lana, created last year targeting the traditionally underbanked population in Latin America, announced that it has secured a $12 million Series A, led by Base10 Partners. The funding round also had participation from mobility company Cabify and global venture capital firm Cathay Innovation via its C.Entrepreneurs fund. The investment reinforces Lana’s promotion of financial inclusion across Latin America, particularly by providing financial services to gig economy workers across the region.

The company does not reveal figures of its operations yet, but it started offering its services in Mexico and Chile, and is preparing for an upcoming launch in Peru next year. Colombia and Argentina are also on Lana’s radar. According to the firm, the Series A funding will enable it to continue to expand operations across Latin America and to hire talent for its global team.

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Lana informs that it is actively recruiting for engineering roles in Madrid, Chile, and Mexico.  “We believe that Latin America has a relevant challenge when it comes to financial inclusion”, company sources told LABS. “This reality combined with the fact that the gig economy is increasing made us think that there’s an opportunity to actually improve the lives of millions of people across Latin America.”

Founded in Madrid in 2019 by its CEO Pablo Muñiz, Lana aims to provide access to financial services through technology, with a strong initial focus on gig economy workers who use their mobile devices for work on a daily basis. Lana’s mobile app enables users to access services on a single platform.

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Lana allows its users to save money, make transfers, access insurance, credits and other financial products and pay online. Muñiz says Lana aims to connect people in Latin America that have been traditionally excluded or underserved by incumbent banks with payments and other financial services more adapted to their needs. 

Workers in gig economy marketplaces in Latin America often don’t have bank accounts and are paid through the apps on which they list their services in wallets that are exclusive to that particular app. What Lana is hoping to do is offer a unified service to these people, for example, drivers and couriers for Uber, Cabify, Rappi, iFood, among others. 

A large share of the population in this region doesn’t have access to financial services or if they do, they don’t take full advantage of them because they are not appropriately designed for them and don’t fit their needs. 

Pablo Muñiz, CEO of Lana

Muñiz says the local reality makes reducing inequality, and ensuring no one is left behind, even more complex. “With the additional resources that we have secured in this round, thanks to our investors, we are in a great position to seize the opportunity to promote financial inclusion and close the current gap,” the executive said.

Adeyemi Ajao, co-founder and managing partner at Base10 Partners, reckons gig economy workers in Latin America are historically underbanked and the number of these laborers in the region is only growing. “We’re excited to be partnering with Lana as they automate the financial services industry in LatAm, increasing financial access for these critical workers and in turn changing the lives of millions of people who do not have the access they need and deserve”, said Ajao.

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For its part, Cabify, a participant in the Global Compact and aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, reaffirms its commitment to more sustainable development through its partnership with Lana. Cabify ran a pilot project with Lana in the region to determine the viability of its products and services.

“The widespread use of mobile devices will enable technology companies such as Lana to have a bigger positive impact on people’s everyday lives. We’re thrilled to be supporting Lana’s team in this early stage, especially considering that financial inclusion is a strategic asset when it comes to improving quality of life. This partnership allows us to reinforce our already strong commitment in Latin America,” noted Juan de Antonio, CEO of Cabify.

Lana’s app aims to provide a single payment platform for gig economy workers. Photo Lana / Courtesy.

Cathay cited, as a reason to invest, the financial inclusion brought by Lana, which may have a positive impact and “unleash new opportunities for users across Latin America”. “At Cathay Innovation, we believe in the sustainable transformation of the world through innovation and technology. We are proud to support Lana’s team of visionary and seasoned entrepreneurs and to foster the growth of Lana through our global ecosystem and extensive experience in fintec,” said Jacky Abitbol, Partner at Cathay Innovation.

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Financial inclusion is critical to promote social development in regions like Latin America, and technology is a key driver of this expansion and optimization. In the past few months following the outbreak of COVID-19, the gig economy grew tremendously. “With our growing team, we will be able to fuel our customers’ growth, extend our product offering in existing markets, and to bring Lana’s vision to new markets”, commented Muñiz.