Type

Thesis

Published

September 2022

Reading time

4 minutes

The Future of Commerce in LatAm - and Beyond

Why we're investing in Roberto and Jose Maria of Deuna

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Activant is proud to announce that we have led Deuna’s $30 million Series A alongside investors Valor Capital, Abstract Ventures, Acrew Capital, Upload Ventures (formerly Softbank Early Stage) as well as founders from Plaid, Kavak, Jeeves, Xepelin, iFood, R2, and others. We’re excited to back Roberto and Jose Maria, and the entire Deuna team on their mission to transform LatAm’s e-commerce experience.

Type

Thesis

Published

September 2022

Reading time

4 minutes

Throughout Latin America, the evolving e-commerce landscape presents a series of challenges that prevent both consumers and merchants from taking full advantage of online shopping. After working together, Roberto Kafati and Jose Maria Serrano discovered that they were equally passionate about solving these challenges.

Growing up in the region, each had dealt with lackluster user interfaces that make e-commerce unnecessarily difficult for consumers. They also understood the problems that merchants encounter when they try to implement e-commerce solutions. Jose Maria knew from working in his family business that local vendors struggle to find platforms that offer fraud protection at a reasonable price. Roberto worked at McKinsey, where he looked at the Latin American retail space and gained insights about how widespread these problems are throughout the region.

In 2020, as the pandemic accelerated the need for online services, they saw an opportunity to help their home region with its digital transformation. Together, they founded Deuna, a one-click checkout solution that’s changing e-commerce in Latin America.

So Much Potential, So Many Challenges

For the past two decades, Latin America has been home to a growing middle class and rising internet access. As a result, more and more Latin Americans are embracing e-commerce as a regular form of shopping. However, exposure to a greater variety of online marketplaces has also resulted in an increase in consumer expectations, so merchants outside of traditional e-commerce platforms must find ways to deliver a frictionless experience if they're to remain competitive as the sector expands.

In short, to reach its potential, the e-commerce sector needs some disruption. Latin American merchants rely on under-optimized platforms– especially ones with subpar checkout UI/UX – and they operate in a region with high fraud rates and high payment processing costs. Because of the high instances of fraud, vendors must rely on out-of-the-box fraud-prevention engines provided by a payment processor, which can result in the rejection of up to approximately 50 percent of attempted payments.

These issues erode customers’ trust and create barriers to retaining customers online. Approximately eight of every 10 Latin American e-commerce customers abandon their online cart without completing their purchase.

A One-Click Solution

With Deuna, Roberto and Jose Maria set out to solve the pain points of both direct-to-consumer merchants and their customers. Together with a great team, they designed a one-click checkout solution that increases conversion rates by providing a better checkout UI/UX, greater fraud protection, and higher payment acceptance rate. Higher conversion and acceptance rates increase sales for merchants, and greater fraud protection benefits their bottom lines.

With Deuna, customers use two-factor authentication to complete a purchase. After logging into any Deuna-supported site, customers can use device fingerprinting to buy goods with one-click– similar to having the one-clickout features of Amazon Prime– across multiple vendor websites and multiple marketplaces, and they only need one account to access these features.

Deuna’s dashboard provides merchants with sales insights so that they can make informed decisions about their growth and marketing strategies. The platform’s fraud protection feature reduces the fraud rate to less than half a percent, which means businesses can spend less on chargebacks and more on new products and services. Duena also integrates four payment processors into its services, thereby increasing payment acceptance rates to over 85 percent. With these features, Deuna’s clients have obtained a guest checkout conversion rate of 90 percent in a region where 25 percent is the norm.

Deuna offers its one-click checkout solution to retail and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), to customers that include brands like Juan Valdez, Freshii, Nikkori, KFC, Wendy’s, and Dunkin Donuts. Deuna has also signed two of the largest Latin American conglomerates and restaurant operators as its customers.

Deuna operates in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Chile, and it is expanding to Brazil this year. With 1.5M + consumer accounts already active, Deuna is on a mission to create the largest independent shopper community in the region. This large network instantly empowers merchants to provide a seamless experience to millions of customers, and it gives consumers a frictionless experience across multiple merchants. As the network grows, the benefits will further accelerate.

The company is continuing to add top industry talent to its team – Jose Jorge Molina, former CMO of Bitso, has joined as part of the founding team, to lead marketing. Activant is proud to partner with the Deuna team on their journey to optimize e-commerce systems for both merchants and consumers. In doing so, we hope to help democratize e-commerce across the region and create the seamless online shopping experience that many of us take for granted.

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