Exactly 10 years ago, a Brazilian, an American, and a Colombian were able to finally incorporate their startup with an odd choice of name: Nubank, or “banco nu”. The name, and the chosen purple color, were unorthodox decisions for a new bank in the conservative financial services space. But the team felt that there was an opportunity to challenge conventional wisdom and create a new institution that was consumer-obsessed, simple, and transparent, and that “provided oxygen” to an industry badly needing it.
The experts highly cautioned that the enterprise was doomed as it was impossible to build a new, digital bank. But the team listened and concluded that smartphones were a complete change of paradigm, and that consumers were ready for new alternatives. With “frio na barriga”, the team pitched to their potential investors going from 12 customers in 2013 to 1mm by 2019 – most investors declined.
This week we celebrate Nubank turning 10, and the scale and impact of “the roxinho” has surpassed any of our wildest expectations. Today, we serve 80 million customers in Latin America. In Brazil, research shows that almost 1 out of 2 Brazilians that have a smartphone are Nubank’s customers, and around 40% of PIX transactions between banks in April passed through our systems. Our revenues in the country have grown from $1mm in 2014 to $4.5bn in 2022, and our local Net Income, at $138mm over the last quarter, already shows that NuBrazil is one of the financial institutions with the highest return on capital in the country with a 35% ROE. But beyond the numbers, what has always driven us is impact. We have saved 248 mm hours for our customers and over $8bn in fees that have remained in our customers’ pockets. And we have brought positive competition to an industry that was too concentrated: banking concentration in Brazil has gone from 70% in 2014 to 58% at the end of 2022.
As we plan for the next ten years, the same “frio na barriga” remains as our market share in most financial verticals remains tiny, and “sky’s the limit” given our starting point: we have the largest fully-digital consumer platform in Latin America, with one of the most loved and trusted brands in the region, one of the best technology and product teams in the world, a strong culture, and a robust and growing profit engine that allows us to self-finance all of our future endeavors. Our journey is truly in the first minute of the first half of the game, and we are energized!
Today I wanted to recognize every single one of our customers that has believed in us since the very beginning. Thank you for your trust in us, and believe me that it pains me deeply to see us failing at times in delivering less than the very best experience for you – we work very, very hard every day to make sure we only make the same mistake once. I also wanted to recognize the entrepreneur: this journey is filled with pain, sweat and tears. It takes strong conviction to continue moving forward in the face of the macro crises and the naysayers. As Albert Einstein supposedly said: “Everyone knew it was impossible, until a fool who didn’t know came and did it”. Be that fool.
David Vélez – Founder and CEO
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