Nubank’s Velez: Let the best product win
Brazil's Nubank is the world’s most valuable fintech in the digital banking space – now worth over $25 billion. In his first interview this year, chief executive and co-founder David Velez explains why he’s in no rush to IPO and why he would rather focus on the huge opportunity left in Brazil and elsewhere in the region.
Over the last 10 years the question most often posed about the growing number of fintech unicorns emerging around the world is whether their businesses – the vast majority of which were launched after the global financial crisis of 2007/2008 – could survive a global downturn.
It’s not a question that has ever challenged David Velez, chief executive of Nubank, the Brazilian digital bank that, thanks to a $400 million Series G funding round in January, is now worth more than $25 billion.
“We’ve only seen bad times – it’s the only times we know,” he says, contrasting the economic environment of Brazil with the benign economies in which similar digital finance companies grew in Europe, Asia and North America. “We launched in 2013 just as the country went into its worst recession in history.”
Brazil’s economy subsequently contracted by eight percentage points and GDP is lower today than it was when the bank launched.
“We were getting ready to see the good times in 2020 – and then the pandemic hit,” he adds.
For us it’s about maintaining focus and doing a few things very well
Despite the pandemic sending economic growth in Brazil negative once more, it has inarguably been good for Nubank.