Z1, a Sao Paulo-based digital bank targeting Latin American gents, has raised $2.5 million in a round led by US-based Homebrew. Several other investors, including The ChanceMockers, Goodwater, Gingelles, Soma Capital and Rebel-funded VC firms – ClockTower Ventures, Mantis – participated in the financing. Notably, Mantis has also supported a teen-centric fintech step based in the United States and has also invested in Goodwater Greenlight, a similar offer to the Z1.
The Z1 took part in Y Combinator’s winter ‘21 batch earlier this year and has since received $ 125,000 in funding from Accelerator. In March 2020, Maya Capital led its $ 700,000 seed goal. Simply put, Z1 is a digital banking app built for teens and young adults. The company was founded on the idea that Brazilian and Latin American teens could be more financially independent using this app and linked prepaid cards.
Joe Pedro Thompson and Thiago Ashtaz started the company in late 2019, and were soon joined by co-founders Matthews Cravario and Sophie Sekaf. In the early days, Z1 focused on Brazil but over time the startup plans to expand to other Latin American countries. “Z1 is what we’re building into the next generation of banks and what we want to build as a digital bank for teenagers only,” Achatz told TechCrunch. “We want to grow with him and one day, be the largest bank in Brazil and Latam.” Thompson agrees.
“We’re achieving really fast goals and building brand loyalty with the goal of making users lifetime,” he said. “We will still meet their needs when they become adults.” Although Z1’s offer is not entirely the opposite of that of Greenlight in the United States, the founders agree that its products are more adapted to Brazil-specific culture and market conditions, point to Thompson, for example, that most teenagers in Brazil use cash because they do not have access to other financial services, whether they are traditional or digital.
“We offer accounts where they can deposit money, exchange cash or spend via prepaid credit cards through the instant payment system in Brazil,” he said. “Most sites don’t accept debit cards so this is a big step compared to what teenagers have.”