In the world of global commerce, the ability to accept digital payments is crucial for businesses to thrive. However, payment needs vary based on geography and region-specific nuances. Recognizing these nuances, Liquido has been working on building payments infrastructure for two years, aimed at modernizing payments access for businesses in Latin America. Today, the company is emerging from stealth mode to offer core payment services that “serve a wide range of needs and customer preferences…through one unified and integrated API.”
Liquido: A Unique Company with Bigger Ambitions
Unlike many US-based companies that begin by serving clients in their home country before expanding to Latin America, Mountain View, California-based Liquido started out with the specific goal of serving the LatAm market. The startup has processed over $300 million in payments through a closed beta with several consumer brands in the region, with $20 million processed in the first two quarters of 2022. The company is now ready to open access to cross-border and local merchants across Latin America.
LatAm Market Challenges
In LatAm, where an estimated 28% of people even have credit cards, digital payment via credit cards is not as common as in the US. Even among those who do use credit cards, fraud is quite prevalent. Despite this, the transaction value of digital commerce in Latin America was estimated at over $100 billion in 2019 and is now expected to increase by about 73% by 2025, according to Statista. Liquido aims to make it easier for people to buy things online by enabling businesses to accept and process “all forms of payment” — from credit and debit cards to bank transfers to digital wallets and even cash — in order to increase payment acceptance rates.
Building Liquido: Founders’ Vision
Shanxiang Qi, Liquido co-founder, and CTO, worked at Uber and DiDi, where he spent several years devoted to the LatAm market. He was struck by the prevalence of cash payments for rides, which led him to conclude that even the middle and upper echelons of society in the region lacked convenient access to digital payments, limiting options for businesses. Qi teamed up with MK Li, a former VC who began his career as a product manager at Google and Microsoft.
With Liquido, the pair is building something “similar to what Stripe has built in the U.S.” but also expanding beyond traditional payments into extended payment services. Liquido’s infrastructure is quite different from that of Stripe or dLocal, as there are a lot of silos of different payment channels, and users have different preferences about payments as well as risk profiles. The company has built a “Payment Success Booster,” which performs customizable fraud flagging and transaction blocking, WhatsApp payment recovery, flexible payment method switching, and smart routing and retrying to help remedy fraud.
Payment Plus Platform
Liquido has also built a Payment Plus Platform (PPP), which runs on top of its core payment services and is designed to “create customer experiences tailored to local markets and grow within verticals.” The company has now introduced the first offering for its PPP, the “WhatsApp Liquido-Store.” Merchants can create “a mini Shopify-like storefront within WhatsApp” without any coding knowledge required, allowing customers to browse, find and buy from merchants through WhatsApp, which is by far the most used social network in Latin America. Liquido also provides alternative solutions to help companies make payroll payments as well as pay suppliers and associated businesses through bank transfers.
Funding and Recognition
Liquido raised $26 million in funding in 2021 across two rounds, both led by Index Ventures. Other backers include Base Partners, Restive Ventures, Mantis VC, and UpHonest Capital. Mark