Latin America’s newest unicorn dLocal — the first to emerge from Uruguay with a population of just 3.5 million people — is looking to double sales and expand to other developing nations after securing new financing.
The company, which was valued at $1.2 billion in the latest funding round, plans to use the proceeds to develop new services, products and kick off operations in 13 new nations, including Kenya, Vietnam and Thailand, according to founder and Chief Executive Officer Sebastian Kanovich.
“Typically, these are markets with large populations with a lot of friction in the payment space and that is where we want to focus,” Kanovich, 30, said in a Zoom interview. dLocal is already profitable and its sales will more than double to about $150 million this year, he said.
Montevideo-based dLocal provides payment platforms in 20 developing countries that allow multinational companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Booking.com to charge clients in different currencies by accepting local credit cards, bank transfers and other forms of payment. It also provides outpay services like sending money from companies like Uber Technologies Inc. to its drivers.
“I think companies that do payments in one market are going to struggle in the long run,” he said. “The more markets, the more geographies you are offering, the better off you should be.”
The company — which currently has some 285 employees — won’t seek to handle crypto currency payments until clients demand it and regulators authorize those transactions, he said.
dLocal’s rise to unicorn status is positive news for Uruguay, whose $56 billion economy is heavily dependent on government spending, agriculture commodity exports and tourism. The domestic market has forced its small, but vibrant tech sector to seek investment and growth from abroad.
“We don’t have a local market that allows you to just be a unicorn in Uruguay,” Kanovich said.