Kaszek leads latest Z1 cycle as he develops banking app for Latin American teens

Z1, a Brazilian neobank focused on offering digital accounts and a prepaid card linked to teens and young adults, secured $ 10 million in Series A funding just six months after cashing in $ 2.5 million .

Co-founded in 2019 by João Pedro Thompson, Thiago Achatz, Mateus Craveiro and Sophie Secaf, Z1 has developed a digital banking app aimed at helping Brazilian and Latin American teens become more financially independent.

Since the last increase in April, the company’s revenue has grown 26-fold and continues to do so at nearly 40% per month, CEO Thompson said via email. Z1 also increased its customer base eightfold during the same period at a rate of 30% per month.

Kaszak led the last round and was joined by existing investors MAYA Capital, Homebrew, Clocktower and The Chainsmokers. Seeking new capital so early was not on the company’s radar, Thompson said.

“Our plan was to relaunch early next year, however Kaszek contacted us in July and convinced us to anticipate our Serie A,” he said. “From the start it was clear that they would be the perfect partner for us in the next phase of the business, and that we would greatly benefit from having them on board. “

The new capital will allow Z1 to increase its workforce in areas such as engineering, products, marketing and customer experience, with plans to grow from 60 to over 100 over the next three months. This additional workforce will provide support as the company aims to grow 10 times over the next 12 months and add new features to improve financial inclusion and customer literacy.

Along with the announcement of the new funding, the company also said it will start offering its basic banking experience for free. He was charging a monthly subscription of $ 2 per month.

Thompson attributes part of Z1’s growth to the fact that a year ago the Central Bank of Brazil launched PIX, an instant payment system where individuals and organizations can send and receive money instantly through a ID number, phone number, or free email, a service that he likened to “a government-built version of Venmo”.

Since the launch of PIX, an estimated 105 million people, or about half of Brazil’s population, have signed up to use it, Thompson said. He called it “the key to financial inclusion, as many people have entered the formal economy because of it.”

“PIX usage among Gen Z (and therefore Z1 users) is higher than that of older generations, because the convenience and social aspect of sending and receiving money through PIX were heavily explored by young users, ”he added.

Monica Saggioro, co-founder and partner of MAYA Capital, said via email that her company has doubled its investment in Z1 for a number of reasons, including that Gen Z is a growing but underserved market, and the The company thinks there is great value in serving it well with products dedicated to their needs.

What she says a lot of banks are trying to do is solve too many problems at the same time, and that doesn’t solve any of them very well. Instead, Z1 is uniquely positioned to serve the Gen Z population and grow with its customers, and it has yet to find another company with a similar proposition.

“JP and Thiago were entrepreneurs in residence at MAYA, so we got to see them take Z1 from scratch and gain popularity,” she added. “We are impressed with their ability to imagine, execute and attract top talent, which is a perfect combination of the qualities we look for in founders. “

“Generation Z is already the largest generation in the world today, representing around 30% of the Brazilian and global population,” Kaszek partner Nico Berman added in a written statement. in the years and decades to come. We believe the Z1 team is uniquely positioned to do so given their real purpose and deep understanding of this new generation of consumers. “

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