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Le Wagon alumni surpass $1B milestone in funding raised

Le Wagon alumni collectively break the $1B funding milestone! In an interview with Benti (Marcelo Bentivoglio), Le Wagon alumni and co-founder of QI Tech, we delve into his fintech journey, with his recent success of raising $200 million in a Series B round of funding led by General Atlantic.
Marcelo, Le Wagon alumni and Co-Founder of QI Tech

Hi Benti, could you please introduce yourself?

I’m Marcelo Bentivoglio or just Benti, one of the co-founders at QI Tech. My professional journey began at Goldman Sachs, where I specialized in electronic trading. In 2014, I embarked on my entrepreneurial venture, launching Banfox—a fintech platform designed to fund open and unpaid invoices. Recognizing the pivotal role technology plays, I enrolled in Le Wagon’s web development bootcamp in São Paulo, Brazil. By 2018, our team made the strategic decision to sell Banfox. Subsequently, I transitioned to QI Tech, where I assumed the role of CFO. Today, I continue to drive financial innovation as a key member of the QI Tech leadership team.

 

What were your goals when enrolling in the Le Wagon web development bootcamp?

When I joined Le Wagon, my primary goal was to elevate my technological proficiency and coding skills. Before that, I found myself at a crossroads—I aspired to build a tech company, yet my limited coding knowledge was a significant obstacle to effective leadership. Recognizing the need for a foundational understanding, I sought Le Wagon’s expertise to bridge that gap. The bootcamp not only provided me with the essential skills but also served as a valuable platform for connecting with potential co-founders and team members. It was a transformative experience that not only empowered me with the technical know-how but also facilitated the growth of a network crucial to my entrepreneurial journey.

 

Can you provide an overview of QI Tech and its mission in the tech industry?

QI Tech stands as a fintech powerhouse with a unique twist – holding a coveted bank license. Our core mission revolves around providing APIs for an array of financial services, including opening checking accounts, facilitating wire transfers, processing payments, and issuing bank slips. This strategic approach enables any company to transition seamlessly into the realm of fintech or establish its own distinctive financial services. By plugging into QI Tech’s cutting-edge technology, businesses can effortlessly offer these financial services to end customers. As a responsible industry player, QI Tech places a strong emphasis on regulatory compliance, ensuring that all aspects fall under the careful supervision of the central bank in Brazil. In essence, we empower companies to navigate the fintech landscape while upholding the highest standards of regulatory adherence.

QI Tech team
The QI Tech team

 

Congratulations on raising $200 million in a Series B round! Can you share insights into the funding process and its impact on QI Tech’s growth?

Thank you! Raising $200 million in our Series B round was a significant milestone for QI Tech. I often humorously say that I’m never not in fundraising mode—it’s an ongoing dialogue with potential investors. Building relationships and trust is crucial, showcasing our commitment to the company’s long-term vision.

During initial fundraising, investors are more focused on the individuals behind the venture than the product itself. They seek motivated individuals dedicated to building enduring products. It’s essential to articulate why you’re solving a particular problem and why you’re the right person for the job. This process flows naturally when there’s an established relationship.

Our fundraising journey for QI began in 2020, and since then, maintaining regular communication with potential investors has been paramount. Keeping them updated and demonstrating our product’s relevance to customers became a routine. When the time came for the second round, we already had established relationships with dozens of investors.

 

Did your background in web development help you navigate challenges in the tech industry?

Absolutely. Although my ambition wasn’t to become a developer, I aimed to be an active part of the community, and I now genuinely feel connected to it. Learning to code is like acquiring proficiency in a new language. It enables me to engage in meaningful discussions with tech teams, contributing significantly to problem-solving.

While I’m not a developer by trade, having coding skills has proven invaluable in fostering trust within my team. This proficiency allows for a better understanding of technical aspects and a more effective leadership approach. The skills acquired at Le Wagon seamlessly integrate into my daily business activities, empowering me to contribute meaningfully and understand the intricacies of my team’s work. This dual perspective enables a collaborative and human-centered approach to overcoming challenges, aligning with the team’s objectives more effectively.

 

What trends do you foresee shaping the future, and how is QI Tech positioned to adapt?

In the ever-evolving tech landscape, I foresee significant trends shaping the future. Reflecting on my bootcamp days, where Stack Overflow was my go-to tool for problem-solving, I now see the 2.0 version with AI and ChatGPT. At QI Tech, we’re harnessing AI to craft innovative solutions. Utilizing available tools is paramount, and our coders access Github Autopilot and GPT, boosting code creation velocity.

Looking ahead, the rise of super apps is inevitable. The shift from close financial ties with banks to diverse app-based transactions is underway. Imagine financing your next car via a non-financial app like X. While this trend seems apparent to me, I may be biased.

 

What advice would you offer would you offer to our readers, particularly those interested in their own entrepreneurial journeys?

For those contemplating a career change or embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, especially in the fintech industry, I absolutely recommend acquiring coding skills. Le Wagon stands out for its ability to teach the essential tools and methodologies, fostering problem-solving independence regardless of one’s background. The structured bootcamp not only showcases tangible progress but also unveils the transformative ‘magic’ in just weeks.

Witnessing what becomes achievable in such a short time is profoundly empowering. Le Wagon instills a profound trust and belief in one’s capabilities, a potent asset for any entrepreneur. Whether aspiring to join a small startup or launch a personal venture, coding skills are unequivocally indispensable in navigating the dynamic landscape of the fintech industry.

 

Are there specific skills or mindsets crucial for success in the startup world?

Absolutely. Knowing how to code and how to sell are must-haves. Entrepreneurs should focus on solving real problems rather than just falling in love with their product. Bringing value to customers is key, and a problem-solving mindset ensures long-term success.

 

Thank you, Benti!

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