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Pomelo stacks $40M to scale its payments infra business in LatAm

Argentinian payments infrastructure startup Pomelo has raised $40 million in a Series B round of funding.

The Buenos Aires-based company started in 2021 with the goal of giving fintechs and embedded finance players a way to launch virtual accounts and issue prepaid and credit cards via compliant onboarding processes.

Pomelo went live with its first customer in January of 2022 -- at the time only supporting pre-paid products in Argentina.

Since then, the startup has evolved its model to provide local and international companies a way to offer prepaid, debit and credit cards to their customers in multiple countries via what execs describe as “a single technological integration…at a fraction of the cost” of traditional methods. Pomelo has also expanded beyond its home market of Argentina to Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

“Time to market is 10x faster” than traditional methods -- a matter of weeks in some cases, said CEO and co-founder Gastón Irigoyen, as Pomelo claims to be doing the “regulatory and operational heavy lifting” for its customers.

Today, Pomelo has over 100 corporate clients including banks, multinational companies and technology startups such as Rappi, Bitso, Stori, Nomad, PayJoy, Ripio and AstroPay. Revenue grew by 3x, or 200% in 2023 versus 2022, according to Irigoyen, and is expected to double this year. Meanwhile, total payments volume grew seven times in 2023, reaching a processing capacity of 55 million transactions per day, he added.

Some of its customers “are just global customers that want to execute in Latin America,” Irigoyen told TechCrunch in an interview.

“Companies such as the likes of Paysafe, which are, say, European companies that want to do business in Latin America, come and work with us…and they have an easy path to all of Latin America by leveraging our infrastructure,” he added.

Kaszek led Pomelo’s latest round, which also included participation from monashees, Index Ventures, S32, TQ Ventures and Endeavor Catalyst. The latest financing brings the startup’s total raised since inception to $103 million. Irigoyen declined to reveal valuation, saying only that it was “a positive round, not a down round.”

Pomelo raised $35 million in a Series A round in October of 2021, and then announced an $18 million extension to that round in August of 2022. It raised a $9 million seed round in May of 2021, pre-product and pre-revenue.

The startup handles card issuing, processing and also management of transactions for its customers.

“Issuing means allowing our customers to leverage our licenses with the networks, such as Visa and Mastercard,” Irigoyen said. “So we can technically be the issuers of those cards on behalf of our customers.”

As of late, the startup has been putting a lot of emphasis into its credit card management platform, which is essentially a SaaS tool “to manage an entire credit card business,” according to Irigoyen.

The company, which has 265 employees, plans to use the new capital in part to double down on Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

Kaszek co-founder and managing partner Nicolas Szekasy, who is joining Pomelo’s board of directors as part of the investment, said he was impressed with how the company “has demonstrated exceptional traction in a very short period of time.”

“Pomelo is leading a new generation of payment infrastructure companies in Latin America,” he added.

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