Latin America's new unicorn: Ualá raises $350 million from SoftBank and Tencent

Argentina‘s answer to Brazilian Nubank, the company was valued at $2.45 billion after this Series D round

Pierpaolo Barbieri, CEO at Ualá. Photo: Courtesy/Ualá
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Argentina‘s answer to Brazilian Nubankfintech Ualá is the newest Latin American unicorn. It raised a $350 million Series D round led by SoftBank Latin America Fund and affiliates of the China-based technology company Tencent, valuing the company at $2.45 billion.

Ualá, which offers an app and other tools for managing personal finances, became the eighth company to reach the billionaire status in Argentina. It joined the horn list after Mercado Libre, Globant, OLX, Auth0 (acquired for $6.5 billion by the US-based Okta last year), Vercel, Aleph, and, most recently, Mural. Yet, based on publicly available data, Ualá’s round represents the largest private fundraising round ever by an Argentinian company.

READ ALSO: Ualá meets with Argentina’s government and pledges to hire 750 people in the country

Participants in the round included existing investors, such as funds managed by Soros Fund Management, funds managed by affiliates of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Ribbit Capital, Greyhound Capital, Monashees, and Endeavor Catalyst. Ualá also welcomed new funds, such as D1 Capital Partners and 166 2nd, alongside angel investors such as
Jacqueline Reses and Isaac Lee.

Founded three years ago, by Harvard University graduate Pierpaolo Barbieri, Ualá offers a Mastercard branded prepaid card and an app that allows users access to a number of financial services including sending and receiving money, online shopping, withdrawing cash at ATMs, and requesting loans (including BNPL). It has issued, so far, more than 3.5 million Mastercard cards in Argentina and Mexico (its second market since September 2020).

This funding will allow Ualá to further accelerate its Latin American growth plans, and attract world-class talent. The neobank has a headcount of 1,000 and aims to raise it to 1,500 by the end of the year. In an interview in May, Barbieri said Ualá could eventually expand into Peru, Paraguay, Colombia, Chile, United States, and Europe.

“We are most impressed by Ualá’s ambition and execution. Our investment will propel the next stage of their vision, furthering a regional ecosystem that can make financial services more accessible and transparent across LatAm,” said Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank Group International and COO of SoftBank Group, in a press statement.

READ ALSO: Ualá to acquire Wilobank: from a digital wallet to main Argentina’s neobank

“Less than 4 years since launch, today marks a historic milestone for both Ualá and Argentina. We are honored to attract some of the world’s best investors to focus on financial inclusion and innovation in Latin America, a mission that drives our every move. These funds will propel our ambitions to provide simpler, fairer, and more transparent financial services for all in both Argentina and Mexico,” said Barbieri.

Ualá’s previous capital raisings:

  • $150M in Series C, led by SoftBank Latin America Fund and Tencent, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst and other original existing investors: such as funds managed by affiliates of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P., funds managed by Soros Fund Management LLC, monashees, Ribbit Capital, and Jefferies LLC (November, 2019).
  •  Tencent invested an undisclosed amount in April 2019.
  •  $34M in Series B, led by funds managed by affiliates of Goldman Sachs Asset Management with participation from Ribbit Capital and monashees (September, 2018).
  • $10M in Series A, led by funds managed by Soros Fund Management LLC, with participation from Jefferies LLC, Point72 Ventures, Greyhound Capital and Kevin Ryan, among others (January, 2018).
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