For the most part, Chile’s insurtech unicorn Betterfly has fueled much of its global expansion through acquisitions.
Last year, the Santiago-based company scooped almost half a dozen startups in its home country.
Despite everything, this year was no different. In July, the company blazed a trail into Europe by acquiring Spanish firm Flexoh. Recently, it doubled its bet in Latin America’s largest market by purchasing SeuVale in Brazil.
The acquisition of SeuVale, which specializes in so-called flexible benefits for employees, was the second deal in Brazil following the purchase of Xerpa last year, a company that provides payroll financing. With this new deal, Betterfly wants to consolidate its position in a growing market. The transaction amount was not disclosed.
“We want to accelerate our entry into the world of flexible benefits. We found in SeuVale the ideal partner to do it,” Eduardo della Maggiora, Founder and CEO, said to Fintech Nexus. “They have state-of-the-art technology, reaching a very prominent position in Brazil, and share with us that they are working for a purpose, wanting to generate a social impact.”
Through SeuVale, the company is looking to roll out flexible benefits throughout Latin America. “We see a tremendous opportunity in this acquisition. We will continue with Mexico and Chile. And then offer (these products) in all the economies where we have a presence,” he said.
The purchase of SeuVale is the second in the flexible benefits segment, following its deal with Flexoh in Spain. Its clients are corporations. Through this model, companies define a set amount of benefits. Then, employees can choose how they want to use it in specific categories.
Flexible benefits market
“Flexible benefits have become a solution highly appreciated by human resources managers,” the CEO said. The fact that users can now decide on how to use benefits results in “increasing use rates and well-being,” according to the executive.
Founded in 2018, Betterfly went from nothing to a $1 billion valuation. Also, a well-established footprint in Latin America. It started as an exercise motivation program. Hours employees undertook healthy activities such as yoga or bodybuilding were converted into a virtual currency. This resource would be donated as part of the companies’ social responsibility programs.
In this case, Betterfly will begin to market a benefits card called “SeuVale by Betterfly,” which awards a percentage of each transaction to NGOs in Brazil.
Betterfly has more than 3,000 companies as clients globally, and Brazil accounts for nearly 200 of them, according to local media. Brazil is the largest market that Betterfly is operating. For this reason, it will “set the tone for everything we will do in the other countries,” the executive said.
Acquiring smaller-sized companies has become a common practice among large Latin American fintechs with the idea of expanding their product ecosystem. Most local unicorns have performed at least one operation in the past four years. However, few have resorted to acquiring with the assiduity that Betterfly has shown.
“Large players are buying insurtech to reach new markets,” Andrea Triat García, Executive Director at Chile’s Insurtech Association, told Fintech Nexus. “Some companies with a large availability of capital, such as Betterfly, are taking advantage of buying smaller startups that have found it more difficult to raise capital or that need to accelerate their growth.”
Insurtech Betterfly able to integrate new companies
Growing inorganically poses risks regarding integration and the ability to scale up quickly. However, Triat García argues that the Chilean unicorn has found a way of adapting. Having acquired more than half a dozen companies in just a few years, the company has “apparently developed a muscle to integrate both human and technological capital without losing value and reaping the benefits that acquisitions provide.”
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To be sure, its well-established Latin American footprint is grounded on capital availability. This February, previous to the war in Ukraine and the risk aversion process in global markets, the company took $125 million from venture capital investors that took its valuation over the billion-dollar threshold. Glade Brook Capital, QED, and Japanese Softbank, among others, back the company.