Business

Brazil's Startup Sensedia raises a BRL 120 million Riverwood Capital-led round

The funds will be used to expand the startup's product offering and internationalize

Kleber Bacili and Marcílio Oliveira, co-founders at Sensedia. Photo: Courtesy/Sensedia
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  • The Sensedia Platform allows customers to scale software architectures based on APIs;
  • In the first four months of 2021, the Sensedia team grew by more than 20%.

Brazilian application programming interface (API) startup Sensedia announced on Tuesday that it had secured a BRL 120 million round led by Riverwood Capital.

Kleber Bacili, CEO and co-founder at Sensedia, told LABS that the project to raise capital was been designed since last year and that the resource will be applied to the evolution of the platform and the expansion of the service, besides further support structure for customers, and internationalization.

The startup created in 2007 claims to have seen a 160% increase in demand for its API platform in the past two years, with the growing digitalization of the market, which gained momentum last year with lockdown measures to contain the pandemic, and with financial regulatory innovations, such as instant payments system PIX and open banking.

“We understand that within the enterprise market there are many customized solutions and the integration between these applications has always been a burden for large companies. In 2013, we noticed this new technological standard for using APIs. It is a simpler, lighter, more performative outfit. At that time, we had Twitter opening APIs and we thought it could be a potential for companies to become more digital,” recalls Bacili.

APIs, which allow communication between platforms, have been widely demanded by technology companies, such as fintechs, which have multiplied in Brazil to compete with traditional incumbents.

“When we talk about platforms, we have several subdivisions. Currently, we are working hard with open banking because of its boom right now with all the regulations defined by the Brazilian Central Bank. We have an offer that drew a lot of attention from this market and we are sure that this unfolds for open finance. So we are looking at investing in engineering products.”

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According to Bacili, the movement of breaking large monolithic applications into small services within companies has grown more and more, which means that the company that had some microservice applications now has hundreds and even thousands of microservices that communicate with each other.

“This whole communication network takes place through an API. So we noticed a significant increase in the complexity of managing this entire chain of dependencies in our client portfolio and the market in general. Our platform helps a lot to have visibility and to have a higher level of governance.”

Integrations with APIS are an important part of companies’ digital transformation process.

In 2018, Sensedia decided to “skip steps” and start an internationalization process to test new markets. “We compete with multinationals, large companies, which are the same companies that are present in other countries. The problem that we solve for large companies that are on this digital enabling journey is a global problem, ”added Sensedia’s co-founder and CGO, Marcílio Oliveira.

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Latin America, Europe, and the United States: Sensedia is coming

Sensedia started expanding across Latin America with clients in Peru and Colombia as major banks and insurance companies. In 2019, the startup opened an office in the UK and contacted a team to do the first tests in the region.

Oliveira says that when he realized that the startup solved the same problem and had the same competitors in these markets, he decided to adopt a global vision to position the startup among the three main players in the world in the segment of modern integrations.

That’s where Riverwood’s money comes in: to stand up to Sensedia’s competitors, who are ultra-capitalized. “We are going to expand to more countries in Europe and in the second half of 2021 we are making this same movement for the U.S. market”, said Oliveira.

It is not, according to him, due to a lack of space or growth in the Brazilian market, but rather a strategic decision by the company for global growth.

Mexico, which, like Brazil, has experienced regulations for open banking, is also the target of the Brazilian startup. “We have open vacancies to Mexico, exactly because the market there is also being worked on a regulated basis.”

Also, one of Lithuania’s largest payment companies is a customer of Sensedia. “We will certainly invest a lot there”, comments the exec. Against the trend of Brazilians working for foreign technology companies, Sensedia has job openings for Europeans.

“Now we are going to put a team more focused on the Southwest European market. We must hire people in Spain to work on the market there, but with great strength in the region of Germany, Lithuania, and England, which are relevant in the financial sector, one of the verticals that we have been most committed to.”

The hiring of Brazilians is also accelerated and there are altogether 100 vacancies open for sales, marketing, engineering, and product. The startup now has 470 employees and is expected to end the year with 700.

The company grew 70% this year compared to 2020, and last month doubled its revenue compared to the same month last year. The goal this year is to grow by 70%. The startup had a turnover of BRL 84 million in 2020 and expects to end the year with BRL 134 million.

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