Santander invests in Mexican mobile payments platform

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Santander Group's fintech venture capital fund is investing in ePesos, a Mexican mobile funding and payments startup targeting underbanked small businesses.

London-based Santander InnoVentures joins VilCap Investments, Pomona Impact and Fiinlab, an innovation lab owned by Gentera, in the $6 million funding round to advance mobile payments in Mexico. Santander Group represents all of the financial institutions operating through Banco Santander.

Through its platform, ePesos offers low-cost, short-term working capital through a revolving line of credit to small and mid-size merchants without a bank account. Borrowers receive and repay funds through a custom built mobile wallet.

In addition, ePesos is partnering with human resources software companies on payroll advances so that firms can let employees access funds without going through complicated internal procedures.

"Our investment in ePesos is a proof of our commitment to global financial inclusion and helping small businesses prosper — something Santander InnoVentures has made a priority," Manuel Silva Martínez, head of investments at Santander InnoVentures, said in a Friday press release.

The deal is a stepping stone into Latin America for the $200 million fund, which has invested in 17 fintech startups since launching in 2014 but has so far focused on European and North American firms, Martinez added.

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Venture funding Mobile payments Santander Mexico