Jeeves chooses another path to officially debut in Brazil: working capital and revenue-based credit

LABS spoke with the director of operations in Brazil, Fernando Torres, about the startup's first steps in the country.

Fernando Torres, director of operations at Jeeves in Brazil. Photo: Courtesy.
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Just over two months after announcing its C Series and its arrival in Brazil, Jeeves, a startup that offers management and financing solutions for fast-growing companies, kick-started its operations in the country. Unlike what it did in other regions, where it started offering a corporate card, in Brazil, Jeeves debuts with two financing products in partnership with the Brazilian Bank-as-a-Service fintech and direct credit company, QI Tech. “For regulatory reasons, it was easier for us to evolve in credit products than in the card offering. We believe that we will be able to offer the corporate card by August,” explains Fernando Torres, director of operations at Jeeves in Brazil.

Founded in 2019 by Dileep 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 (ColombiaChile, 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.

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According to Torres, a new waiting list was created with a specific focus on credit products. “It’s a pre-qualified list, so there are about 500 opportunities for us to follow.” In April, Jeeves began beta testing with customers it already served in other regions. Last week, the first financing operation was closed with Onfly, a B2B travel management startup. “Our pipeline is flowing without setbacks.”

Jeeves portfolio is currently made of four products: the corporate card; B2B non-card payments (which soon will mean PIX, Brazil‘s instant payments system); working capital loans, with payment terms of 30, 60 and 90 days; and a kind of 12-installments 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.

And it is precisely these last two products that Jeeves is now launching in Brazil.

The timing of Jeeves’ debut couldn’t be better. Due to the generalized high inflation in all regions of the world, high-interest rates made investors more cautious and, consequently, entrepreneurs review their growth strategies. In this scenario, not depending on equity rounds or debt can be attractive.

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“It’s a delicate scenario for startups as a whole. Y Combinator, which is one of Jeeves’ investors, recently spoke about the need for startups to look at their margins, generate results, and seek alternatives to extend their runaway strategy [how many months a business can keep operating before it’s out of money] and reduce their cash burn rate. We have not changed or accelerated our plans because of this scenario, but it was a positive coincidence,” says Torres.

Because they do not require collaterals, both Jeeves financing products carry interest rates of 25% to 30% annualy. Jeeves does not have a target or amount of credit to grant this year. “We had an idea in mind considering the previous scenario, but we are reviewing these numbers. However, what is clear is that we are going to invest heavily in the Brazilian market.”

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Locally, there are only two people at Jeeves (counting Torres). But new hires will happen, mainly in sales, after-sales, marketing, and credit analysis. The startup intends to expand its Brazilian team to up to 30 people in 2022.

By setting foot in the largest Latin American market, Jeeves also knows that it will face many competitors, like a55, Clara, Conta Simples. But most competitors operate only locally, which means that they do not keep up with the regional expansion of the companies they serve. Indeed, 60% of Jeeves’ customers have operations in more than one country or territory.

Another advantage offer by Jeeves is that the builds its own infrastructure, meaning it masters the process of collecting and analyzing revenue data, which brings much more embedded intelligence to its solutions.

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