Cumplo in 2019: Regulated Growth Across the Americas
Nico Shea founded Cumplo in 2011 to enable peer-to-peer lending for consumers before changing the company’s focus to small-to-medium businesses (SMBs). Cumplo was a financial technology (“fintech”) company that provided a platform for SMBs applying for a loan to be matched with investors willing to fund that loan. The platform further differentiated itself among SMBs by allowing companies to use unpaid invoices as collateral. Despite significant issues in the beginning with regulators, Cumplo operations in Chile grew to become one of Latin America’s largest business crowd lending platform.
Cumplo facilitated its first loan in Mexico in February of 2018, a month before the local government passed a new law regulating fintech companies. This enabled the team to work closely with regulators to create rules that would prevent bad players from damaging the industry and not be surprised by the rules that were enacted. While the team also faced challenges in establishing Cumplo’s Mexican operations, after months of work they built a high-performing and motivated team.
Having proven the Cumplo business model to be successful in both Chile and Mexico, Shea was anxious to begin more rapid expansion. Now that Cumplo had been successfully established itself in the largest Spanish-speaking market, Shea considered expanding to the second largest market of Spanish-speakers, the United States.
This case focuses on a Latin American company operating in a new market within their region and considering expanding to the United States, facilitating discussion of expansion strategy. Because the company is focused on financial technology, there is an additional question about the importance of dealing with regulators and potential impact to product offerings.