Revenue-Based Financing? This Team of Entrepreneurs Learned The Trade in Argentina
Javier Alvarez Wrobel and Juan Cruz Alvarez Wrobel, brothers from Argentina, have worked in the lending business together for years. They’re even co-founders of a company that’s based in Buenos Aires.
It’s taught them a lot. While Americans fret over single digit inflation, Argentina’s rate of inflation soared past 100% earlier this year, the highest rate since it began dramatically increasing in 2018. That makes it very challenging to lend in the country.
“Due to the recent complicated economic situation, lots of lending companies in Argentina have closed,” said Javier. “I’d say there are only around 30 to 40 companies in the country doing what we do right now.”
For a population that largely also has little or no credit history, credit reports generally can’t be relied upon to approve loans at scale.
“That is why a lot of the underwriting in Argentina, when people request a loan, is made based on the cash movements on the consumers bank accounts,” said Javier.
That’s what they learned how to do. And with such a skillset as theirs, they were intrigued to learn that a similar model had taken off in the United States, one where business owners can get approved for funding based on data mostly available in their bank statements, revenue-based financing. The result was an expansion to the US and their launch of Upfunding Capital in Miami, FL in 2022. There, they teamed up with a third co-founder named Paula Sborovsky, who previously worked in Entre Ríos, a province directly north of Buenos Aires that sits along the border of Uruguay.
In the process, they’ve established a niche, a clientele mostly made up of immigrant business owners that have an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) but not a social security number. The thin credit or lack of credit that may come with that is something they’re already used to.
“As we work with the Latino community, most of our clients are actually non-US citizens or at least not US born,” Javier said.
Javier said that the best and most reliable information they use for approvals is the way business owners conduct transactions on a day-to-day basis. Nevertheless, the company is pacing itself, testing out its technology and its underwriting models. Upfunding hopes to ramp up its volume in the second half of this year.
The work so far has been personally rewarding for the Upfunding team.
“It’s amazing to see,” said Javier, “for example, I got the chance to speak to a guy that is actually Argentinian living [in the US], trying to sell shoes, and seeing that we can actually offer a product for them to improve their own business that’s just starting out, for us is amazing because we are actually doing the same right now.”Last modified: May 26, 2023
Anaya Vance is a reporter for deBanked. Connect with me on LinkedIn.