The numerous difficulties in accessing credit faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are not new. These are adversities from years ago that compromise the country’s growth. In the pandemic, however, the interruption of activities and obstacles in global chains exacerbated the problem.
According to data from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), along with micro-entrepreneurs, SMEs demand annual financing of around R$ 514 billion. In response, the fintechs that hit the market in the last two years began to pay special attention to solving such pains.
And, as many of these players are focused on their own survival, well-structured governance policies are not exactly the sector’s strong point. Now, arara.io, a North American platform for sustainable financing that has just arrived in Latin America via Brazil, wants to change this scenario.
“We understand that Brazil has a relevant position in Latin America, it is a strong economy with growth potential, but with several challenges in ESG”, says the CEO and co-founder of arara.io, Felipe Gutterres, to Finsiders.
This story began to be drawn about 25 years ago. At the time, Ram Mahidhara was working on financing projects for the port sector at the World Bank and was performing services for a terminal in Salvador (BA) when he started to have Gutterres as a client.
Afterwards, Mahidhara went to work in Africa and Asia, without losing contact with Brazilians. During the journey, he met Sudhi Mukherjee, a finance professional with global experience implementing sustainability frameworks. About 18 months ago, the trio decided to come together to create an innovative solution focused on climate and sustainability issues in emerging markets.
With the areas of marketing and intellectual property on American soil, and technology professionals divided between Panama and India, as well as the United States, arara.io works as a bridge between financiers, large companies and their thousands of suppliers.
In practice, the operation begins with the enterprise contracting the platform (the so-called anchor customers). From there, arara.io designs the entire financing strategy for the suppliers of this large company.
In the scope of service, it assesses, for example, who these input providers are and how they act and makes an assessment of risks and opportunities. Finally, it classifies and ranks such SMEs with the ESG ‘glasses’ and climate targets.
The financiers are large banks, financial institutions and specialized FIDCs (Investment Funds in Credit Rights). They serve customers in industry, agribusiness, infrastructure, retail and energy. The ultimate goal is precisely to offer resources such as credit or prepayment of receivables at more affordable rates.
“The supplier can see where it is positioned and how it can improve. Thus, those who are seeking credit have an incentive to evolve. Depending on the goals of this anchor customer, it can also help its suppliers”, says Gutterres. Fintech does not reveal the payment terms or terms.
The platform monetizes the operation from the fee paid by the financiers, which is also offered as a discount to suppliers, and by monitoring the supply chain for major players.
In the first year, arara.io’s goal is to reach five anchor customers and 1,000 suppliers, and, thus, move something around BRL 3 billion — little for the size of the addressable market, valued at around BRL 400 billion. .
Between the third and fourth years, arara.io has an ambitious goal of reaching volumes of BRL 30 billion in its ecosystem. To get there, he estimates a structure with 40 large client companies and 8,000 suppliers.
For Gutterres, the current adverse scenario experienced by SMEs can be translated into opportunities. “Companies need to look for ways for chains to be healthy, suppliers need liquidity, and both companies and suppliers are under pressure. We want to democratize the ESG approach and link liquidity to decarbonization targets.
With increasing investments in startups in the financial sector, a huge number of these players are emerging with the aim of assisting SMEs. As you read on Finsiders, the also American Tribal landed in the country last week after a $60 million round led by SoftBank.
Clara, from Mexico, from corporate credit card and expense management, was another to paint here recently. For this, it had a ‘little push’ in cash of more than US$ 70 million, which raised the valuation to more than US$ 1 billion.
Another step taken in December was when Justa and Genial agreed on a partnership to serve merchants with sales of up to R$24 million.
By Fernando Barbosa on 09/02/2022