We just raised $12.5mm :)
Today, I’m thrilled to announce we’ve raised a $12.6 million Series A, led by Andreessen Horowitz (more details on the round here), almost eight months to the date from when Daniel, Elmer and I started ADDI. It’s a huge milestone for us as a business and an important validation of our strategy and progress so far, so now felt like an appropriate time to share a bit more about why we started ADDI, what we’ve accomplished so far, and where we are going next.
Why we started ADDI (aka, does the world really need another fintech startup?)
After a weeklong visit to Colombia in 2010, I saw a tremendous opportunity to start a tech-powered financial services company. I fired off Excel, modeled some outcomes, but I quickly realized that it would take a lot more than a financial model before I could get going. Shortly thereafter, I joined my first startup, an ahead-of-its-time AI company backed by Founders Fund, where I learned a lot, but where I also realized I had a lot to learn before doing something on my own.
Since then, I’ve worked under some great managers and also seen closely how some of the best in the industry operate, from seasoned CEOs like Jamie Dimon or Daniel Pinto at J.P. Morgan to emerging leaders like Hugh Edmundson at Theorem and Nicky Goulimis at Nova. I’ve learned from all of them, and I’ve had the opportunity to see first hand how technology has completely changed financial services in the U.S. and Europe. I’ve also been lucky enough to drive some of that change.
Yet, the opportunity to do so outside the U.S. and Europe is much, much larger. As an example, only 14% of Colombians have credit cards, and even people with steady employment and no debt often aren’t deemed creditworthy. We want to change that. We want to build a technology company that gives consumers affordable, simple, and fair credit at the point of sale, improving their financial condition, and, we hope, a bit more than that. And we want to build a business that matters.
Because it’s not just about giving credit. It’s about building the type of company where we would feel at home. Where all of us — not just the founders — can create the type of place where we can imagine ourselves working for 5, 10, 20 years. Where you look forward to going to work, while also appreciate that your colleagues know there’s more to life than work.
What we are building at ADDI
Right before we went back to the Bay Area to see if we could raise seed funding, Daniel, Elmer and I agreed that we would build ADDI on our own terms: relentlessly focused on building the right team with the right culture and doing right by our clients and partners; making decisions for the next decade, not the next six months; owning our entire stack; and treating our clients like we would treat our family and closest friends.
To us, then, ADDI is:
The best way to finance your purchases, from appliances and furniture to medical services. As is the case across Latin America, most Colombians lack access to affordable, transparent, and fair consumer credit. While in the US, Europe, and Asia companies like Affirm, Klarna and Afterpay have shown there’s a better way to get financing, in Latin America we remain in the age of the credit card and the layaway plan. There has to be a better way, so we are building it.
A true technology company from Day 1. This is common in SF, where tech-enabled companies are the norm, but a lot rarer everywhere else. We write our own software, develop our own algorithms, and use new tools and frameworks more at home in San Francisco than in the tropics. Over half of the ADDI team is in product and technology.
A world-class workplace, where everyone grows together and owns the outcome. We are committed to building a conscious company, and to offering conscious leadership training to our entire team. We use Areas of Responsibility (AoRs) to give people more autonomy than they thought possible. We celebrate our team’s non-work commitments, and encourage their growth in and out of the office. Lastly, everyone is an owner, from the founders to the call center operators.
What we have accomplished so far?
It remains Day 1 at ADDI. But since we launched our point-of-sale product last February, we’ve originated several million dollars and have now served close to 10,000 clients across more than 200 stores and 20 merchant allies. We have heard from customers how our product “works seamlessly,” how “it’s the first time I feel someone values me as a customer,” and how “I hope you launch with new merchants soon, so I can use ADDI again.” We have quickly become a strategic partner to merchants throughout the country, who now see us as core to their business.
We couldn’t have done this if it weren’t for our 30-strong team of talented engineers, product and business managers, and support specialists who have given their all to make our company a reality.
What comes next
This new round of funding will allow us to accelerate our originations growth and merchant partnerships even further. Starting this summer, we will allow our clients to use ADDI for their online purchases in addition to in-store, and we have a few more exciting product announcements in the works, all while remaining laser-focused on the purchase finance opportunity.
We can’t achieve our audacious goals alone. We are rapidly growing our team–check out our careers page! — and while we will remain focused on the massive purchase finance opportunity in front of us, we intend to become a key partner in our clients’ financial lives.
A big thank you
We couldn’t have gotten here without the support of our clients, our merchant allies, and, of course, our family and close ones who’ve put up with the long days and nights with love and unconditional support.
We also wouldn’t be here without the tremendous support we’ve received from our investors, who believed in us when we were just an idea and 16 slides. To that end, we are thrilled to be partnering with Angela Strange from Andreessen Horowitz and Marcelo Lima from Monashees, who will be joining our board. Angela has led both of our rounds, and Marcelo has become a trusted partner and key supporter to us. We couldn’t be happier to have them and all of our supporters on our side..
As Daniel likes to say, we’ve not won anything yet, but this round is the ticket to the next phase of our company.