ImpactAlpha, December 2 – Digital financial institutions have expanded financial inclusion in Latin America. Still, in Mexico, only 37% of adults have a bank account.
Blue like an Orange Sustainable Capital provided mezzanine debt financing to Mexico-based kubo, which began as a simple saving and lending platform for low-income borrowers before getting a banking license. It now serves about 8,000 borrowers earning less than $1,000 per month.
Kubo’s loans are generally in the range of $500 to $2,500 – larger than microfinance loans but smaller than commercial banks or even most non-bank small business lenders (see, “Latin America’s micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises need working capital to survive and thrive”).
BlueOrange’s financing will help kubo build up its alternative credit assessment technology. The company aims to grow its customer base five-fold, focusing in particular on women and women-owned small businesses.
Kubo launched in 2013, along with Brazil’s Nubank and several years before Argentina’s Uala and Mexico’s Albo. Most of kubo’s competitors focus on middle-class millennials. BlueOrange’s Pablo Gonzalez Rueda told ImpactAlpha that kubo is distinguished by its full range of financial services “for those that are underserved (or not served at all) by traditional banks.”
Blue like an Orange touts the Sustainable Development Goal “report cards” it prepares for each investment (listen to our podcast interview with BlueOrange’s Bertrand Badré and Suprotik Basu). Basu told ImpactAlpha that kubo “very comfortably cleared our thresholds” with regards to SDG No. 8 (inclusive and sustainable economic growth) and No. 5 (gender equality).