Thirteen years ago, I became one of the first customers of Silicon Valley Bank in Latin America. Why? Because we needed something very important for VivaReal to keep growing: an international business account.
We were getting checks signed by international investors located across the globe and our A round was co-led by Kaszek and Monashees. With that, came the need to go beyond a Limitada in Brazil and also incorporate in the US. Startups are risky enough; VCs wish to at least know back-to-back the regulations and risks of the country the company is in.
But no matter which international corporate structure you choose, you still need to move money back and forth. And that's why one of my first Angel investors who was a CEO-in-residence at Accel Partners connected me with SVB. It felt like there was prestige to getting the intro.
Fast forward to today, VC investments grew a ton in LatAm and the need for an international corporate structure has only grown larger, and for an international business account with it.
These became requirements not only from international investors but from top LatAm VCs following best practices. The biggest challenge for founders is that there aren’t really good options for banking for Latin American offshore companies.
Silicon Valley Bank was a very relevant player in the venture and tech ecosystem, and the way to go until last week. With its crisis, this scarcity of financial products for LatAm tech companies that have an international corporate structure became even more troubling for Latin American startup founders.
I've decided to spend the next decade continuing to build solutions to serve founders in Latin America. Latitud started as a community for startup creators all over the region. We celebrate our successes but also seek support for our problems. And by listening to these pains, Latitud's solving them one by one and enabling local entrepreneurs to build world-class tech companies born and raised in LatAm.
With Latitud Go, we were already helping startups manage their international corporate structures. For months, we have also been working on helping them manage their money. Seeing how the market was left even more unattended with SVB's fallout, we decided that now was the right time to let everyone know about it.
I'm really proud to announce the beta product of Meridian by Latitud. We'll offer access to a business account with foreign exchange (FX). That will help founders manage their startups' runway and move money across borders while keeping their flow of funds compliant.
Meridian by Latitud is for LAtAm startups that are just like VivaReal was at the beginning: companies in their earlier stages already starting their venture capital fundraising journey. And because of that, seeing the need for an offshore holding company structure (like a Delaware Tostada or a Cayman Sandwich) and an international business account.
These startups rarely have enough operating history or cash in the bank to be served by traditional banks. They can require up to USD 10M in cash reserves and have their own reservations about banking startups.
We made a fintech product thinking about these early-stage tech companies, with something like USD 1M to 2M in the bank. Founders can access services such as investment cash management (receiving and managing investor funds), foreign exchange (transferring funds between their legal entities), and integrated compliance (following the best practices of FX regulation and capital increase reporting in Brazil, the US, and the Cayman Islands). They can also easily check financial metrics important for every startup on the path to profitability, such as runway and burn rate.
We're starting by serving Brazilian startups, with a plan to expand to all over Latin America in the future. No minimum balance, no sign-up fees, no maintenance fees, no bullshit. Founders can get early access to our beta and be the first to know when the onboarding starts through this link: https://updates.latitud.com/meridian.
Anything you'd like to know more about? Don't hesitate to reach out!
Important disclaimer: Latitud is not a bank; we’re a platform with fintech solutions. Banking, brokerage, FX, and other regulated activities are provided by licensed partners.