Brazilian Digital Bank Nubank Raises $2.6 Billion in U.S. IPO

Selling nearly 290 million shares priced at $9 in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange this week, Brazilian digital bank Nubank has raised $2.6 billion, reaching a market value of $41 billion. An alumni of Finovate’s developer’s conference FinDEVr in 2016, Nubank is now the most valuable financial institution in Latin America in addition to being the world’s biggest digital bank. CEO David Vélez, who co-founded the company in 2013 with an initial investment of $2 million from Sequoia Capital and Kaszek Ventures, now owns a stake in the company worth $8.9 billion at the IPO price.

“We don’t think the banking branch will survive the way it is,” Vélez said to CNBC this week. “It is too costly to serve the majority of users, especially in emerging markets where you have a very high cost of operations, so a lot of that physical infrastructure will probably disappear.” Vélez predicted that most financial services providers will transition into digital entities in the next five to ten years because of this, leading to an increased focus on customer service as well as lower costs and interest rates.

With more than 48 million customers in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, and onboarding more than two million new customers a month on average, Nubank offers financial products for spending, savings, investments, loans, and insurance. The company claims to have provided more than five million people with their first credit card or bank account as of September 30, and to have saved its customers more than $4 billion (R$27 billion) in bank fees and more than 113 million hours of waiting time since inception.

Vélez said that the capital from the IPO will help fuel Nubank’s expansion in Mexico and Colombia, en route to becoming a truly pan-Latin American banking services provider. “There is a lot of opportunity to build the next generation of financial services, so we will continue to invest and grow for a very long time,” Vélez said an interview with the Financial Times.

This fall, Nubank acquired AI-powered assistant company Olivia, announced partnerships with a number of retailers to add a digital commerce section to its app in November, and purchased e-commerce payments company Spin Pay.

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