Pablo and Oriol here, founders of Belvo (https://belvo.co/), a financial data API platform for Latin America. Think Plaid for Latam.
We were previously building a payments startup (something like Venmo) in Europe and when expanding to Latam realised how hard it is to connect to legacy infrastructure, whether it is to access data, validate bank accounts or process payments. We’ve also been working in fintech in Europe for the past few years (at companies like Revolut) and one of us comes from a traditional financial services background. We’ve seen the impact open banking technology, which has become common in Europe, has had on providing end-users with more transparent
and fair offerings and on lowering barriers for fintech developers to get started and launch innovative new products. But this technology hasn't made it into Latam yet, so we saw a big opportunity and started Belvo to solve that.
Belvo allows end-users to connect their financial data to new fintech apps across Latam. We’ve seen a number of relevant use cases for our product so far. For personal and business finance apps, we allow users to connect bank accounts and view them in one place through account consolidation. This allows developers to provide better spending analytics and proactive recommendations. Business-oriented finance apps can reduce manual errors and costs via automated accounting by syncing bank feeds and reconciling transactions on a recurring basis. We’ve also seen that digital-first banks and wallets can use us to build in-house personal finance managers and authenticate the owner of any bank account - thus streamlining their know-your-client (KYC) processes. We also enable credit providers to build better and faster experiences for borrowers. Instead of having to build onboarding flows or asking users to self-report or upload their information, data can be synced via our API. Fraud risk can also be reduced and scoring improved by accessing more granular and broad data.
Currently we allow end-users to connect banks and bank-like sources to fintech apps. That being said, our goal is to aggregate all relevant financial data sources, not just banks. This is particularly important in Latam, where 50% of the population is unbanked. In this context, sources such as service providers (think prepaid phone, prepaid TV, electricity bills), digital wallets and gig-economy apps are relevant for both users and fintech apps. These are typically paid in cash and don’t go through a bank statement or debit card but all have portals where consumption and spend can be analysed and categorised. Becoming the “source of truth” for all this data is pretty tricky as all data sources have different formats, ways to access, granularity, etc. and that’s something we’re looking to solve.
The process of connecting accounts to fintech apps is built on the premise of full and strong user consent to data sharing. Security / privacy is something we’ve been focusing on since day 1. Our engineering, infrastructure and data teams have past experience in working on products with similar complexities.
We went live in January in Mexico, our first market. We will soon be expanding to Colombia and Brazil and working on some additional products and sources to complement the core data API.
Belvo has been built by developers, for developers and our API documentation is public. The way to get setup is directly via our developer portal (https://developers.belvo.co/). Upon signup, you’ll be able to retrieve your API keys for both our Sandbox and Production environments.
Oriol and I would be delighted to get your thoughts and feedback on what we’re building.
Fire away HN!