Saturday, June 15, 2024

Mexico-based Commerce and BNPL Fintech Platform Aplazo Secures $70 Million in Equity Funding

Aplazo, an omni-channel payment platform that offers flexible payment solutions and commerce enablement tools to help merchants accelerate sales and grow their brands, has announced the closing of $70 million of additional equity financing, including a $45 million Series B.

QED Investors led the equity financing, which also included participation from new investor Volpe Capital as well as existing investors Oak HC/FT, Kaszek and Picus Capital. Aplazo has now secured more than $100 million in equity financing and $75 million in committed debt funding since launching in late 2020.

The financing round comes on the back of a threefold growth in revenue from rapidly expanding market share among online and offline merchants, as well as strong financial performance, operating near breakeven in the last couple of months. The company will deploy the additional capital to continue shaping Aplazo’s best-in-class product offering for consumers and merchants alike and double down on product innovation including using AI capabilities to better understand consumer and merchant needs and to enhance risk decisions.

Angel Peña, CEO and co-founder of Aplazo, said: “Aplazo set out to become the preferred payment method in Mexico through fair, simple and transparent financial solutions, rather than traditional credit products that lure users into a debt trap. This behavior has been common practice in Mexico over the past decades, and we put the consumer at the core of our fair payment solutions offering. With this investment we look to further advance on our mission and are tremendously excited to welcome QED as one of the leading global consumer fintech investors as a partner on this journey.”

Aplazo has positioned itself as the category leader in the BNPL space by tackling the massive offline retail market, which represents around 93 percent of total retail sales in Mexico. Presently, in-store transactions account for roughly more than half of Aplazo’s business and have been a meaningful driver of retention and loyalty.

In many cases, Aplazo is the first and only credit source, noting that 70 percent of its users don’t have another credit product registered on bureau records. This has been coupled with the firm’s ability to deliver low-single-digit credit loss rates, ranking among the lowest in the country.

Today, 40 percent of Aplazo’s users have no credit history, yet the company maintains a credit approval rate of over 80 percent. Peña emphasized that these achievements underscore Aplazo’s product significance and the team’s capacity to establish a sustainable business model while providing value to both consumers and merchants.

Aplazo stands out from any other BNPL provider as the only player to truly give infinite possibilities of where a user can “buy now and pay later.” Besides having the largest network of merchants in Mexico, both online and offline, Aplazo offers a single-use virtual card that allows users to buy in installments anywhere they want.

“We’ve identified clear gaps in the market when we look at offering consumers better payment and financing products,” added Peña. “We see an opportunity to provide deeper engagement with our customers as they start to transact more frequently with us. Our ability to offer ubiquitous BNPL services allows 88 percent of the Mexicans that don’t have credit cards to make every-day purchases and pay them later in installments in a simple to understand way, which resonates well with the underserved Mexican population.”

Aplazo’s success has also been attributed to its focus to deliver an exceptional experience to brands. “We act as a growth lever to our partner merchants to drive new customers and incremental sales online and in-store,” said Aplazo’s chief revenue officer and co-founder Alex Wieland. “After working with Aplazo, our partners have seen on average 60 percent higher average order value and 30 percent higher conversion. Additionally, all Aplazo merchants have access to a marketing tech stack and AI tools that are designed to understand unique customer insights to better run their business.”

QED Investors partner and head of LatAm Mike Packer added: “We are incredibly excited to partner with Aplazo on the journey to become the preferred payment solution in Mexico. The company has made great progress in recent years, including delivering sustainable unit economics with a laser focus on the customer experience. Angel and Alex have surrounded themselves with a world-class team that we believe is just scratching the surface on the consumer and merchant payments opportunity in Mexico.”

Volpe Capital partner Andre Maciel said: “We are extremely excited to partner with Aplazo as the largest BNPL provider in Mexico. Aplazo’s growth profile and unit economics not only make the company stand out among all other peers we have seen in the region but also comfortably position the company for self-funded growth going forward.”

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