My guest today is David Vélez, founder and CEO of Nubank, the world’s largest digital bank with over 40 million customers. In our conversation, David talks about his venture capital background at Sequoia and how that led him down an entrepreneurial path in Latin America. We also talk about the pros and cons of building a digitally native business and what gets him most excited about innovation and technology in emerging markets.
Before we start the episode, I would also like to highlight our newest Colossus show, Business Breakdowns. Since launching in early April, we have published over 15 Breakdowns and continue to release a new episode weekly. To learn more, check out joincolossus.com. I hope you enjoy my conversation with David Vélez.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
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[00:02:55] - [First question] - Why Berkshire Hathaway took such an interest in Nubank
[00:04:46] - Key differentiators between Nubank and other incumbent banks
[00:07:11] - Onboarding user experience and overview of customer acquisition
[00:10:38] - The original problem Nubank wanted to solve and how they approached it
[00:15:32] - Lessons from working at Sequoia about great FinTech businesses
[00:19:18] - What parts of his personality and life experience worked its way into NuBank
[00:23:18] - Obstacles that needed to be overcome in order to serve the Brazilian public
[00:27:52] - Transparency and patience needed to overcome a complicated problem
[00:31:11] - Nubank’s business economics compared to other banks
[00:34:46] - Overview of rewards programs and why customers like them so much
[00:37:27] - Best questions asked that explained Nubank’s market opportunity
[00:42:02] - Second layer unit economics of the company and where to look for them
[00:45:51] - How far we are into the Latin American technological ecosystem’s development
[00:47:24] - Lessons learned from some of the worst decisions he’s made as a founder
[00:51:30] - What he’s most excited about for the future
[00:54:19] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him