This is Part 7 of Brazilstrat’s series about the Brazilian Unicorns. Links to the other parts can be found here: “Part 1 – Introduction and Summary”; “Part 2 – Nubank”; “Part 3 – Wildlife Studios”; “Part 4 – iFood”; “Part 5 – Loggi”; “Part 6 – QuintoAndar”; “Part 8 – Loft”; and “Part 9 – Gympass”.
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Ebanx offers local payment methods in eight Latin American countries to more than a thousand international merchants. Founded in 2012 by Alphonse Voigt (CEO), Wagner Ruiz (CFO) and João Del Valle (COO) in Curitiba, Southern Brazil, Ebanx started making “Boleto Bancario”, a famous Brazilian payment solution, available for international websites. The staff has since grown to 700 “ebankers”, making local payment solutions available for 50 million end users in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Equador, and Bolivia. In addition to the Curitiba head office, Ebanx has regional offices in São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Mexico City. Their international clients, which include AliExpress, AirBnB, Wish, and Spotify, are also served from eight international offices between the US, Europe, and Asia.
In 2012, the three founders carried out an analysis concluding that purchases made in Brazil on foreign websites was a $5-7 billion market, with a higher growth rate than local e-commerce. That same year, Ebanx processed BRL 3.3 million (about $650 thousand as of April 2020). That number has since grown to BRL 4.1 billion ($800 million) in 2017, and more than $2 billion in 2019. The company charges its merchant clients a fee of 4.9% plus $0.002 on successful transactions.
Prior to co-founding Ebanx, Alphonse Voigt (CEO) studied law at UNICURITIBA before working 14 years as a lawyer in Curitiba, combined with a post-graduate degree in international law from the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná. Voight has been an Endeavor Entrepreneur since 2012, and Endeavor Catalyst, the venture capital arm of the non-profit organization promoting local entrepreneurship, invested in Ebanx in 2019.
Wagner Ruiz (CFO) studied economics at the Presbiteriana Mackenzie University, specializing in money markets and foreign trade at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) as well as interest rate and currency swaps at ANCOR. With a broad background from various fields including finance, trading, and consulting, Wagner had held several board seats and management positions before Ebanx, including as business development manager, CFO and CEO. A serial entrepreneur, he also co-founded several startups including São José dos Campos, São Paulo-based sporting goods company Casas do Fitness. Wagner has been a board member at hi.capital, a Curitiba-based fund that invests in early stage companies since 2016, and like Voigt he became an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2012.
João Del Valle (COO) has a bachelor’s degree (BSc) in computer science and an MSc in object-oriented software engineering from Ecole des Mines de Nantes, France, with two years in between working at the software development company Visionnaire in Curitiba. Del Valle’s background is also varied and includes two years as a systems architect for Mozambique’s Ministry of Planning and Finance in the country’s capital Maputo, as well as various software and management roles between Curitiba and São Paulo. He has been an investor and mentor at the Porto Alegre-based accelerator WOW Aceleradora since 2015, when he also joined the board at the Curitiba-based venture capital firm Honey Island Capital. In 2018 he took a second board seat at PhoneTrack, a Curitiba-company specializing in call tracking and speech analytics. Del Walle started as CTO after co-founding Ebanx in 2012 and changed to his current position as COO in April 2018.
In December 2017, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm FTV Capital, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst (mentioned above), invested $30 million in Ebanx to fund expansion in Latin America and sales outside of the region. FTV became Ebanx’ first institutional investor, valuing the company to an estimated $120-180 million (35). Expecting e-commerce in Brazil to double by 2023, FTV added to its investment in October 2019 with an undisclosed amount that according to Ebanx itself resulted in a valuation above $1 billion and unicorn status.