Nubank IPO: The largest neobank hits the stock market
… And it requires no tellers. Neobanks — a fintech buzzword for “digital financial services” — are recently exploding in popularity. Today, Nubank — the industry’s poster child — is going public.
Say goodbye to physical banks
Neobanks are disrupting traditional banking with more accessible and cheaper products — made possible by their lack of physical locations. And Latin America is their perfect breeding ground — where financial services are expensive and unavailable to most people.
- In 2018, 70% of Latin Americans didn’t have a bank account.
- During COVID, over 100M people (15% of all Latin Americans) opened bank accounts for the first time — with the help from fintechs.
Nubank — backed by legendary investor, Warren Buffett — is Latin America’s largest neobank, providing online banking and credit cards.
Sales (and losses) took off during COVID — with over 48M customers. For the first 9 months of 2021, Nubank reported:
- $1.06B in sales — up 99% from the same period in 2020.
- $99M in net loss — up 54% from the same period in 2020.
Can Nubank maintain the momentum?
Thanks to COVID, Nubank acquired customers for dirt cheap.
- Traditional banks have been known to pay an average $300 to acquire a banking customer.
- But according to Nubank, it’s acquiring customers for $5 — with 80-90% of customers coming from organic word-of-mouth marketing.
But the real challenge comes post-COVID — maintaining momentum and reaching profitability. Despite a large portion of Latin Americans remaining unbanked — it’ll be difficult maintaining Nubank’s impressive 99% growth post-COVID.
Industry TLDR: A big concern for neobanks is whether they can reach profitability in a highly competitive industry — where companies are luring customers away from banks with free services and better rates.
Investors: What a time to go public
Nubank’s IPO comes at a precarious time for fintech companies and tech IPOs — both performing poorly in recent weeks.
- Of 55 tech companies that went public in 2022 — 20 have fallen over 50% from their peak (via CNBC).
- Rivian (NASDAQ:RIVN) soared over 70% in its first week before losing most of its gains in the following weeks.
Nubank lowered its expected IPO valuation to ~$41.5B — down from ~$50B — which isn’t the best sign for a company about to go public.
Diver deeper: Latin American companies make their way to the US stock markets.