Wagner Ruiz is co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of Curitiba-based fintech, EBANX, which today boasts over 55 million registered users and over 1,000 partner websites. In this exclusive interview, Mr. Ruiz discusses EBANX's success story as Brazil's first unicorn from the South region, the company's international expansion and how it is presently caring for its employees - known as ebankers - amidst the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, amongst other issues.
Leaders League. What is EBANX and what does it do?
Wagner Ruiz. EBANX is a global fintech company with Latin American DNA that offers local payment methods in eight different countries in the region (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia). Our goal is to enable Latin Americans to explore the world and to open the region for international companies. We were founded in 2012 to offer local payment options for Latin American consumers to purchase products and services on international websites. Today, the company offers more than 100 local payment options. We have helped approximately 55 million Latin Americans to access global services and products, and more than 1,000 international websites to expand into the region. For example, AliExpress, Wish, Pipedrive, Airbnb and Spotify – the last two in partnership with Worldline – are just some of the companies using EBANX solutions.
We stand out in the market due to our Latin American DNA. Our three founders are Brazilian, we are headquartered in Brazil, and we have teams present in eight different countries across the region, with over 15 nationalities represented among our employees. EBANX also offers the best service in the region, with high standards of compliance and functionality. We go beyond payment processing by offering marketing consultancy services to merchants and a 24/7 local customer support team which assists all merchant clients in Latin America, in their own language.
Finally, last year, we started offering local processing in Brazil, through the company EBANX Pagamentos Ltda., allowing Brazilian websites selling in the country to use EBANX solutions. Additionally, in early 2020, we set foot in the B2C world, with the launch of EBANX GO, a digital payments account in Brazil, with digital and physical cards.
What main challenges has EBANX had to overcome on its road to success?
We were born with a global challenge in mind as there was a very clear access gap in Latin America. In the beginning, we had a huge challenge with regards to endorsement. We were three very young Brazilians, so imagine convincing major businesses and global companies to even talk to us. We had to prove ourselves.
Secondly, our expansion to other Latin American countries was also challenging. Sometimes, people in the United States, Europe and Asia speak of Brazil and Latin America as if they were the same thing. Not only does Brazil speak a different language, but even among Spanish-speaking countries, there are completely different cultures and markets, as well as completely different technical challenges. In each new country, it was a huge challenge to start operations. Today we offer more than 100 local payment methods in eight countries on a single platform but it was not easy getting here.
What are the company’s plans for growth going forward?
We have always focused on taking care of our employees and customers in the most human and transparent way possible - and it would not be different in times like these. Amidst this pandemic, our aim is to provide our employees - who we fondly call ebankers - with the best possible working conditions. The whole company is working from home since March 16th and, thus, we need to maintain transparent and constant communication with our staff and clients. At this point, any company and leader needs to follow these guidelines to overcome the totally atypical situation which we are going through.
This is a scenario that neither we nor the global market has experienced before. As such, studying the lives of our employees and clients on a daily basis will help us understand how the company will perform in the short, medium and long term. We want to overcome this period by becoming even more human and united, taking away lessons that, albeit painful, can help us evolve as both people and as a company.