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August 9, 2022

A year of Fontes I: Portfolio, lessons learned and future outlook

As early investors in Latin America fintech, QED has had a front-row seat to the explosion of the ecosystem.

In 2021, we decided to expand our strategy and launched Fontes, a $12 million seed and pre-seed fund for Latin America. We were starting to see Cambrian shifts in consumer behavior, digitization of businesses and payments, and the rise of e-commerce, much accelerated by the pandemic.

In addition, we knew first-hand that there were massive opportunities and problems remaining to be solved, and that this was only the beginning of LatAm fintech. We therefore decided to extend the work we were already doing into the earliest stages - supporting the development of a vibrant seed ecosystem and the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Fontes is unique in that it is network-driven, meaning it is backed by some of the region’s top fintech entrepreneurs. Of the 35+ LPs, most are founders of QED portfolio companies, including luminaries like David Velez of Nubank, Sergio Furio from Creditas, Mate Pencz and Florian Hagenbuch from Loft, Dave Sherry from QuintoAndar, Carlos García of Kavak and Eduardo della Maggiora from Betterfly.

We strongly believe in the power of community and that the highest value for early founders comes from the journeys and insights of those that have been in their shoes before. We are excited about creating a platform for founders to invest in founders, and so strengthen the ecosystem even further.

Building fintech companies out of the ground is very hard to pull off. QED Managing Partner Nigel Morris use the 0.9^6 concept – you have to get so many different things correct – credit, ALCO, fraud, AML/KYC – and they’re contingent probabilities. You need all the help you can get.

2021 was an energizing first year of operations, to say the least. It turned out to be an incredible time to be investing at the seed stage in LatAm, as the flood of new capital in the region catalyzed a flywheel of talent, businesses and opportunity - more so than before.  

We are proud to now be backing 12 amazing founding teams through Fontes I, and we have even more conviction about the opportunities in LatAm. There are still plenty of deep, structural problems to be solved and talented founders aiming to solve them.

While capital markets are cyclical, great ideas are not. We believe what Latin America needs most is consistent, experienced investors committed to the region long-term. Fontes is one key way we are doing that.

Fontes I Portfolio


Location: Brazil

Founders: Jorge Vargas Neto, Fernando Ricco, Marcelio Leal, Vanessa Muglia

BHub is building an AI-powered back office as-a-service for startups and SMEs in Brazil.  Among their “as-a-service” offerings, BHub will include compliance, accounting, CFO, legal and HR. Their value proposition is to automate many of the processes that startups and SMEs deal with - including legal incorporation, KPIs, marketing and sales, forecasting and others.


Location: Global, starting with Brazil

Founders: Ezra Kebrab

Caliza provides USD accounts “as a service” via an API. In markets where currency can be extremely volatile, saving can be challenging and alternatives like opening USD bank accounts are only available to certain people. Caliza will partner with fintechs to provide access to USD accounts via USDC.


Location: Brazil

Founders: Roberto Biselli, Marcelo Lutz

Capim offers a vertically integrated financial platform for healthcare clinics in Brazil, starting with POS financing. Filling the gap between private health insurance and the public health system, Capim partners with private clinics offering everything from dental care to diagnostic testing.


Location: Colombia

Founders: Sebastian Caro

Hunty is a three-sided marketplace for job seekers in Colombia, Mexico and soon to broader LatAm. Aiming to end unemployment in LatAm, Hunty places job seekers in open positions through a combination of coaching, skill-building and AI to improve placement success.


Location: Mexico

Founders: Dan Pinchasi, Joel Liurner

Kalto is an online checkout platform for B2B payments in Latin America. Their solution allows merchants to offer multiple payment types for their customers in a frictionless, white-label manner, and offers automatic conciliation as well as financing.


Location: Brazil

Founders: Guto Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason and Gonzalo Parejo

Kamino is a corporate and financial hub for high-growth companies in LatAm. Starting with offshore and local incorporation, Kamino provides the tools to get new businesses off the ground.


Location: Mexico

Founders: Martin Schrimpff, Brian Requarth, Tom Baldwin, Graciela Arango

Kocomo is a marketplace that allows customers to purchase, own, and sell fractional interests in second homes around the world, starting with Mexico. Once a client purchases a share in a Kocomo property, Kocomo handles scheduling and property management.


Location: Colombia

Founders: Angela M. Acosta

Morado is building the next generation B2B marketplace for the beauty and wellness industry, the everything store for beauty shops. Morado provides access to thousands of products at great prices, and offers an end-to-end solution, from access to credit and equipment rentals, to last-mile logistics.


Location: Brazil

Founders: Alex Vilhena, Thiago Garuti, Marcel Nicolay

Plug provides a modular payments infrastructure through a single API, which allows merchants to choose which payments services they will use without having to tap development resources. They can change or add providers at a moment’s notice, and benefit from Plug’s routing engine, which always ensures they are approving good transactions and processing with the best providers.


Location: Argentina

Founders: Gastón Irigoyen, Hernán Corral, Juan Fantoni

Pomelo is a player in the "banking as a service" space, building infrastructure to allow fintechs and embedded finance players to issue cards and launch virtual accounts. Pomelo is building a new generation of infrastructure that will allow companies to build a fintech business and launch cards in a faster and more scalable way than they currently can.

Location: Mexico

Founders: Matheus Pedroso, Sebastian Carlsson is a data aggregation, processing, and visualization platform focused on risk analysis and underwriting. Starting with API access to IRS data, now provides tools for non-technical teams to analyze the data and gain additional insights into their business customers.

Wonder Brands

Location: Mexico

Founders: Federico Malek, Nicolás González Luna

Wonder Brands is an e-commerce holding company that acquires and optimizes independent brands that sell on leading marketplaces in Latin America. Wonder Brands leverages technology to supercharge operations and accelerate sales, including marketing, analytics, supply chain management, and optimizing working capital.

Lessons Learned

A year into Fontes I, we have learned a ton, and would like to share a few things that stand out about the opportunities and state of the fintech ecosystem in LatAm.

  1. The experience and quality of founders in LatAm has increased dramatically in the past few years.

Although there have always been great founders in LatAm (part of the reason we’ve been investing for more than seven years and see the investor base in Fontes), an increasing number of people are seeing entrepreneurship as a viable career path. Part of this we believe is driven by the influx of capital into the region and the success cases of companies like Nubank and Kavak which have also “trained” the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Whatever the reason, the volume and average quality of early stage deals has been elevated, as has the pool of talent hoping to join a startup. While this is an extremely positive change that will lead to accelerated innovation, it also means there are many first-time founders, which early stage investors should recognize and be willing to support and invest in.

  1. Infrastructure and embedded finance continue to be big opportunities in LatAm.

The “picks and shovels” necessary to build and scale a fintech business - data, banking as a service products, back-office tools - are still nascent or non-existent in the region. To the extent these tools are built, embedding them into various business models - fintech or not - becomes easier.

We believe that this local context is critical to understanding these infrastructure problems, as there are no perfect parallels with more developed markets – data, business structures, local requirements, forms of payment, all look different. We continue to be excited about this space - as evidenced by Fontes investments into Pomelo, Syntage, Plug and Caliza - and not only believe big infrastructure businesses will be built, but that they will catalyze the next wave of startups that will now have tools to build on top of.

  1. Collaboration is a powerful force, and is leading to a maturing ecosystem.

Fontes is unique in its structure, as we operate collaboratively – both in the way we invest and the way we support our portfolio. Where QED would typically lead rounds, Fontes is a co-investment fund, investing smaller amounts in partnership with other funds.

To date we’ve co-invested with our friends at Canary, ONEVC, Maya Capital, Nazca, and Kaszek, among others – highly respected funds that can each add a different set of skills and value. We’ve found this model to be incredibly powerful at the early stages, where entrepreneurs are focused on learning as much as possible as quickly as possible.

To the extent we can provide them with a range of resources – our own team, other founders, and funds we co-invest with, the more quickly they will be able to learn. We have also seen an increasing number of founders backing founders, both as angel investors and through platforms such as Fontes - creating a positive flywheel for the ecosystem. It is energizing to be a part of a shared journey, and to believe that a rising tide will lift all boats.

While the market may have shifted in recent months, the opportunities and problems to be solved have not changed. If anything, the noise and distractions are dying down, and we will see amazing talent focus on building fundamentally sound, sustainable businesses – the kind we are excited to continue backing and that will ultimately make the largest impact on the region.