São Paulo, Brazil, November 6, 2017 – Brazil-based fintech startup and mobile platform SmartMEI announced today that it has closed a seed funding round to support its financial service offerings for underserved micro-entrepreneurs in Brazil. Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment initiative of financial inclusion leader Accion, and Canary Ventures participated in the round.
SmartMEI seamlessly integrates, in a single user-friendly mobile interface, a large range of financial services that meet micro-entrepreneur’s specific business management-related needs. Currently, the platform offers Brazilian micro-entrepreneurs a bank account, basic tax filing, payment solutions, invoice payments, cash advances, a mobile point-of-sale hardware, and other services.
“We are excited to welcome Accion Venture Lab as our newest investment partner. Their support and global expertise in fintech and financial inclusion will help us guarantee access to essential banking services to the 7.5 million Brazilian micro-entrepreneurs that formalized their business in the last few years but are still being completely ignored by traditional financial institutions,” said Marcello Picchi, co-Founder of SmartMEI.
SmartMEI started offering simplified financial services for micro-entrepreneurs in the beginning of 2016. The company has already added several features to its platform and now offers the main services provided by traditional business bank accounts. The new round of funding will allow SmartMEI to continue developing features to build a complete mobile banking platform, invest in the user experience to enhance adoption and engagement, and expand their marketing efforts.
“In Brazil, millions of micro-entrepreneurs lack access to the financial services they need to grow and sustain their businesses,” said Michael Schlein, CEO and President of Accion. “SmartMEI’s innovative business model and all-digital platform enable the company to profitably provide critical financial services to underserved businesses whose needs are not being met by current service offerings.”
“SmartMEI is a great example of the scalable, technology-based innovations that we look for at Accion Venture Lab to extend the reach of financial services. We believe that SmartMEI’s strong management team, compelling value proposition, and focus on user experience all position the company for success,” said Vikas Raj, Managing Director of Accion Venture Lab.
SmartMEI provides banking and automated accounting for micro-entrepreneurs in Brazil. The company was started by two Brazilian graduates from the MBA Class of ‘15 at the Stanford Graduate School of Business who wanted to use cutting-edge technology to help entrepreneurs in their home country to thrive. SmartMEI is a business-in-a-box solution that takes care of the basic back-office needs of every micro-business owner: being in full compliance with the government, collecting from clients, making payments and managing cash. SmartMEI is currently being used by companies in more than 3.500 cities all over Brazil. For further information, visit www.smartmei.com.br.
About Accion Venture Lab
Accion Venture Lab is the world’s leading seed-stage investor in fintech for the underserved. Venture Lab invests capital in, and provides support to, innovative fintech startups that increase access to, improve the quality of, or reduce the cost of financial services for the underserved at scale. Since launching in 2012, Venture Lab has deployed over US$10 million across more than 30 startups that work in over 20 countries worldwide. Venture Lab is a part of Accion, a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. Accion catalyzes financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector. For more than 50 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through its work with more than 90 partners in 40 countries. For further information, visit https://www.accion.org/venturelab.
Marcello Picchi (SmartMEI)
+ 55 .11.4171.0032
Katie Mounts (Accion)