VCs, founders of unicorn back Truora, a startup helping LatAm companies onboard users via WhatsApp – MovieUpdates

Truora, a Colombian user authentication startup, has raised $15 million in Series A funding co-led by two Silicon Valley-based companies.

Propel Venture Partners and Accel led the investment for Truora, who valued the company at $75 million in hindsight.

Founded in August 2018, Truora was originally focused on background checks for gigster platforms. In 2018 and 2019, its largest customers were ride-hailing companies, and with the pandemic, the company saw an increase in e-commerce and marketplace customers.

Truora took part in Y Combinator’s Winter 2019 cohort and soon after expanded into digital identity and authentication technologies. In March, it raised $3.5 million in a seed round led by Accel and Kaszek at a valuation of $15 million.

Today Truora describes herself as a SaaS startup building authentication and communication tools for Latin American startups, marketplaces, fintechs and banks. It specializes in user authentication and onboarding, mainly through WhatsApp.

The technology includes automated onboarding with features such as automated chatbot conversations, facial recognition, document verification and background checks. In 2021 Truora launched its WhatsApp-targeted Truconnect product in an effort to help businesses connect with and authenticate users through a more accessible channel.

“We empower companies to increase user acquisition, reduce onboarding dropouts, provide 360-degree customer support, and even sell their services, with minimal technical requirements on their part,” said co-founder and Maite Munizwho serves as the startup’s chief product officer and is a former McKinsey consultant.

Today, Truora has more than 400 customers in 9 countries in Latin America. Those customers include Rappi, Clara, Bancolombia, Adelantos, Mercado Libre, Didi, Homie and Global 66. It says it averages 400,000 to 500,000 validations and background checks monthly and has annual recurring revenue of more than $4 million with to expected to grow by “more than 5x in the next year.”

Co-founder and CTO David Cuadrado was an engineer at Twilio for nearly five years, while co-founder Cesar Pino spent nearly three years as an engineer at the company.

The company has offices in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Peru and San Francisco. While headquartered in Cali, Colombia, Muniz said Truora’s new main focus, or best growing office, is Mexico City. The startup even plans to use part of the proceeds to expand its WhatsApp onboarding offering, which includes functionalities such as automated conversations, in Mexico. In time, it also wants to expand further in Brazil.

CEO and co-founder Daniel Bilbao says Truora wants to lower the barrier to entry by making its products available to companies with limited technical resources. He said Truora can be integrated into all of a company’s products in “less than two weeks.” The most popular channel, WhatsApp, takes less than a day to integrate with a no-code flow builder, according to Bilbao.

WhatsApp is widely used throughout Latin America by an estimated 80% to 90% of the population.

“By enabling the integration of Truora’s authentication products into WhatsApp, the company opens up a potential $3.5 billion addressable market in LatAm,” said Bilboa, a former investment banker at Bank of America.

Truora also plans to use its newfound capital to hire staff and insists it wants to create a workplace culture “where women can thrive”. Today, 70% of the company’s leadership team is female and 45% of the workforce is female. It says its goal is to achieve 50% of equal representation with more than 50 new jobs “with a special focus on female talent for product and engineering.”

Notably, dozens of angel investors have also poured money into Truora’s latest funding, including the CEO of Rappi Simon Borrero; Share CEO Alex Bouaziz’ Muni founder Maria Echeverri Gomez; Jeeves CEO and Founder Dileep Thazhmon-Jeeves; Bitsports founder Tatiana Fontalvo; Morado founder Angela Borrero; VaaS founder Valentina Valencia, Searchlight’s Anna and Kerry Wang; GGV Capital venture partner and ex-Affirm COO Huey Lin and Latitud co-founder Brian Requarth.

Naturally, Truora’s investors are optimistic about the company’s potential. Rich Wong of Accel said he was attracted to a group of founders that consisted of a technical team that was former Twilio, combined with founders of great product and biz developers.

“It was the combination of the team that formed the core,” he said. “We had seen the success of this kind of business with companies like Checkr as well, so there was a direct analogy there as well.”

Wong also believed that it made sense that a regional/local provider would “be the first to understand the cultural difference”es and local issues, and tailor a product to those needs.”

“For example, while WhatsApp is common in many emerging economies, it is LESS priority in the minds of most Silicon Valley entrepreneurs,” he added. “So the team’s ability to focus on the use case is a great example of being in touch with regional needs.”

Propel Ventures partner David Morth said he has known Bilbao for five years and “seized the opportunity” to support him and the team he had assembled.

“While its authentication and KYC products are highly competitive, the key differentiator for Truora lies in how the technology is delivered,” he said. “Truora offers their capabilities to the financial sector in WhatsApp, targeting a segment of the population that was hard to reach for fintechs, we see a lot of potential in this model.”

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