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Goldman Sachs has joined George Soros and Steve Cohen in backing an Argentinian mobile banking startup

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 10 Oct 2018


Ual, an Argentinian mobile banking startup, has raised $34 million in a new round of funding led by Goldman Sachs's venture unit, along with investors includingbillionaire GeorgeSoros'family office and Point 72 Venture, the early-stage VC firm funded by Steve Cohen.The company - which offers a financial management app and a fee-free prepaid MasterCard - aims to disrupt the traditional retail banking infrastructure, according to Pierpaolo Barbieri, founder and CEO of Ual.Goldman Sachs' venture unit is leading a new round of investment in an Argentinian fintech company backed by billionaire investors George Soros and Steven Cohen.Ual, the one-year-old mobile banking startup, raised $34 million in its series B round led by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, along with existing investors including a private fund managed by Soros Fund Management, Jefferies, the venture arm of Steve Cohen's Point 72, and entrepreneur Kevin Ryan, according to an announcement seen by Business Insider.Goldman Sachs provided over half of the capital, according to Pierpaolo Barbieri, founder and CEO ofUal.TheBuenos Aires-based startup offers a personal financial management app that is linked to a prepaid Mastercard, which doesn't charge opening fees, transaction fees, and renewal fees. In the span of one year, the company has issued 400,000 cards, which allow users totop up cellphones, make purchases, and conduct P2P money transfers."Our goal is to replace the traditional retail banking infrastructure withUal," Barbieri said.Over 50% of people in Argentina had never had a card before and are only operating in cash, so the company aims to provide these people financial inclusion by giving them access to financial system, he added.Uals product offering reduces both cost and friction, while providing a great consumer experience, said Christopher Dawe, cohead ofGoldmanSachsInvestment Partners venture capital & growth equity team. We are excited by the companys mission of improving access to critical financial services and look forward to partnering with the Ual team on their next phase of growth.Ual will tap into the new fund to boost its user growth, expand its headcount, and execute the launch of a credit and savings platforms, according to the announcement.International appetite in Latin American startups hit a peak last year, with global venture capital investments in the region surpassing $1 billion in 2017 for the first time, according to The Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America.ALSO READ:Inside JPMorgan Chase's New York City tech officethe 'mothership' of the bank's $10.8 billion digital ambitionsA top Bank of America executive explains how the bank is luring top talent from companies like Apple and Disney to fuel its $10 billion digital ambitionsJoin the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: Ray Dalio says the economy looks like 1937 and a downturn is coming in about two years
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