Introducing Vest: Breaking down barriers to USD financial services for Latin America

Aaron Polhamus
2 min readMar 23, 2021

Latin Americans work hard for their savings, but their savings haven’t been working hard for them. In Mexico, 80% of working adults regularly set aside a portion of their income, yet only 15% report using any kind of formal savings instrument. At the same time, pension reform in Mexico has transitioned workers away from guaranteed benefits, with less than 1% of Mexicans on track to retire with financial security. Similar patterns prevail across the region.

We started Vest with the mission of putting Latin America’s savings to work, helping our customers to secure their financial future. If we’re successful, our platform will steward billions of dollars of customer savings sitting in zero-interest deposit accounts and cash. For those who do invest today, we will offer the best available platform for trading US securities. Our goal is to establish deep and long-term financial relationships with our customers. We need to tell the customer a story, and create a product experience, that takes away their fear of investing while empowering them through financial education.

We’re working on solving problems that we share with our target customers, and are just as hungry for a better way to save and invest as they are. Latin America is a part of the world with incredible potential: it has a steadily expanding middle class, and a young, aspiring population that is more digitally connected and financially integrated than ever. We’re going to build relationships with customers today that we hope will take us through an entire lifetime. This is a mission that puts a smile on our face in the morning. It’s also an incredible business opportunity: we estimate that in Latin America today there exists an opportunity to put $200bn–$300bn / year under management.

As we solve the technical challenges required to bring Vest’s beta to market, we’ll build infrastructure that’s conducive to offering a range of products and services that support the mission of securing customers’ financial well being. We envision a near future where access to high-quality, USD financial services infrastructure is readily available around the world, , irrespective of the borders that physically separate us.

We feel like we’re at the beginning of something transformative, and are thrilled to be on this journey. We closed our $1.75M pre-seed round this February with Mountain Nazca and Class 5 Global as co-leads, with participation from FJLabs and Tamarack Global, along with a rockstar founder angel team that includes Carlos Garcia (Kavak, Mexico), Florian Hagenbuch (Loft, Brazil), Brian Barnes (M1 Finance, USA), and Nico Barawid (Casai, Mexico).

Today we are heads-down on launching our virtual trading and in-app content beta, with live trading quickly to follow. If you’re interested in following our progress — or you just want to chat and swap ideas — please reach out to me at aaron [at] mivest [dot] io.

Aaron Polhamus

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Aaron Polhamus

Working with Team Vest to transform how retail investing is done throughout the Americas 🌎