SURA is a key contender in the Latin American market and whilst also being a household name in insurance policies, the holding company also specialises in investments. The company continues to look to advancements in financial services across its organisations and it appears that SURA Mexico is next on the list. The Mexican branch has now opened an open innovation program, combined with Protección Colombia, for fintechs from Mexico or Colombia.
According to KPMG’s most recent report Pulse on Fintech, investment in the Americas has hit $14.8B just this half and 2018 looks to be fintech’s biggest ever year in terms of global investment and venture capital. And with that extraordinary growth in interest, the giants of tech and finance have started to pay attention to startups within this vertical.
“The big win with these startups is their velocity and capacity to change quickly,” Gabriela Garcia, manager of the open innovation program at Sura AM Mexico, told us. “The time that it takes to make the business case takes a lot of time in a company like Sura so we need startups to give us that speed.”
We spoke to Garcia before her scheduled panel on the importance of investing on fintechs at the Peru Venture Capital Conference–held in Lima and organised by UTEC Ventures— and it’s a topic she feels comfortable with given her long stints in universities studying about entrepreneurship.
The 12-week-program began this year on August 21 and the four startups that were chosen this year will get a chance to make their pitches to potential investors come November. “We usually see in eight weeks whether an alliance is possible,” Garica said, noting that they had taken on two startups from a previous batch. This year’s intake offers a variety of startups, from a chatbot and P2P lending to a platform for pension funds.
And though velocity might be their strong suit, Garcia noted two big obstacles that startups have to bypass in order to establish an alliance with SURA Mexico. “The main obstacles we have are either legal or technological…as they have to work with our clients we have to think of the legal implications.
“There’s also the technological barrier,” Garcia added, “They have to connect to our system to collect the money, which is often a big difference technologically.”
More information on the open innovation program at Sura Mexico can be found here.
Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company.