Brazilian fintech Stark Bank has secured a $13 million Series A round (about BRL 74 million) to back its product portfolio expansion and consolidate itself as the “first digital bank for enterprise accounts.” “We will change the way large enterprises deal with their bank,” claims Rafael Stark, founder and CEO of the fintech.
The round was led by solo-VC Lachy Groom – the term “solo capitalist,” coined by Nikhil Trivedi, co-founder of Footwork Ventures, refers to venture capitalists who manage million-dollar investment funds, like a “one-man-venture capital firm”. The K5 Global, Iporanga Ventures, and Norte Capital VC firms, as well as founders of Coinbase, Dropbox, Flexport, Figma, Rappi, D.Local, Wildlife, and Slack, also participated in the investment round.
Founded in 2018, Stark Bank started with the proposal to serve small and medium-sized enterprises and, later, started to aim at large businesses. The fintech presents itself as the “first challenger bank for large enterprise companies” and already has more than 300 clients, among them big companies like Buser, QuintoAndar, Loft, and D.local.
Its main product is Cash Management, which manages accounts payable and receivable operations; the fintech also offers a corporate card.
According to Stark, the fintech already is profitable and has an average monthly growth of 33%, handling more than BRL 1 billion per month with its solutions – the goal is to grow this volume tenfold next year. In 2020, Stark Bank was licensed as a Direct Credit Society by Brazil‘s Central Bank and is now waiting for the license to act also as a Payment Institution.
The Series A funds will be used to improve current PIX (the Brazilian instant payment system), Cash Management, and Corporate Card products, and to launch new products in Acquiring, Foreign Exchange, white-label card issuance, and the offer of banking infrastructure.
The entire banking infrastructure provided by Stark Bank was developed in-house, which got Groom’s attention. “I don’t generally invest in Challenger Banks because most of them don’t own their technology. If you don’t own your technology, it’s impossible to make incremental improvements to the user experience, have operational efficiency and a robust system. Stark Bank has built its technology from the ground up,” says Groom.