Hugo Garduño
Co-Founder
Verqor
/
Expert Contributor

Digital Platforms and Their Impact on the Financial Sector

By Hugo Garduño | Tue, 08/02/2022 - 13:00

We are at a privileged point for the technological development and optimization of the chain in many industries, mainly some that have experienced digital stagnation in recent decades. Today, they represent a huge niche for testing and accelerating their processes.

Latin America is home to more than 650 million people across 33 countries. Its two largest countries, Brazil and Mexico, have populations of 210 million and 130 million, respectively, and GDPs of US$1.8 trillion and US$1.3 trillion. Other countries in the region have also reached significant scale, including Colombia (50+ million people; US$300+ billion GDP), Argentina (45 million people; US$445 billion GDP), and Chile (19 million people; US$280 billion GDP). Building a company in Latin America provides an incredibly large addressable market to build better products and distribute them to a vast number of eager new customers.

Until recently, most banks in Latin America didn’t have a mobile app and required in-person banking for the majority of their users. In Colombia, for example, consumers must still visit a physical branch to open a bank account and for many other services. Banks have long ignored tech-driven, mobile-first approaches; for consumers, the digital banking experience is often sorely lacking. At Itau, one of the largest banks in Brazil, prospective customers must fill out 26 fields, which takes more than 15 minutes, to open an account on its app, according to Idwall. If that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, it takes another 18 hours for the account to get approved! And this in itself is a significant improvement: five years ago, applicants had to visit a branch in-person to open an account, then wait weeks for approval.

Great ideas and business models have been positioned in record time but not because they exist in an app, or on a digital platform. The process begins in a different way, with business ideas, where intermediate steps that may become unnecessary are omitted, the optimization of time and resources, and finally, with the right team that knows how to implement automation and develop the business in a digital environment that is friendly to the end user.

In Mexico, 43 percent of the population is under the age of 25. This large, youthful consumer base expects their banking service to more closely mirror the consumer apps they use on a regular basis. Additionally, smartphone usage is becoming the norm, rather than the exception. Six years ago, only 35 percent of Mexicans had access to smartphones and internet penetration was below 50 percent; today, more than half of Mexicans have smartphones and 70 percent have internet access. That means many new customers have a potential bank branch in their pocket. In addition, Brazil is WhatsApp’s second-biggest market, with 120 million users. The app is used throughout Latin America to text, shop, and pay.
 
In Mexico, there is a great opportunity for development in the agro industry, where more than 90 percent of producers do not have formal financing and logistics and production expenses must be closely watched since many of their processes are virtually handmade. At Verqor, we have developed a B2B platform that helps us connect producers in Mexico with large companies. Producers can carry out the most basic procedures from their mobile device, such as financing production, receiving an agile credit evaluation, and later, accessing a marketplace where they can find all kinds of supplies for the field. We have also thought of large companies. Through our B2B platform, we give them access to valuable information to monitor the performance of their suppliers. This is how we complete the end-to-end chain and offer for the first time digital KPIs in real time. This model must be taken into account for the development of large industries and enhance their growth, considering our country is a generator of great ideas.
 
Many of the features include real-time produce monitoring, production cost efficiencies, and in the near future, recommendations and practices that can be applied in a short period of time.
 
We are facing the times where the resources are limited and being conscious of this by applying technology can create savings and make a substantial difference in climate impact.
 
Verqor’s platform offers much more than just a panel, as it is the first all-in-one location for the agro industry, providing:
 
1. Availability. Customers can use our platform on any device: laptop, tablet, or phone. Its responsive design is ideal for mobile OS.The platform is also available in offline mode, meaning our users can access the service without a connection.
2. Digital and encrypted documentation sign-up with high security standards.
3. Registration via mobile phone instead of using email.
4. Strong infrastructure from Amazon - service available 24/7 for our customers.
5. Online webinars for customers.
 
Our developer team continues to work as the real-time indicators and heatmaps display how the user interacts with Verqor. In conclusion, the agro sector is finally on the radar for companies willing to invest in technology and development to achieve a significant impact.

Photo by:   Hugo Garduño