Alliance finds Miami "only choice" for e-launch
By Marilyn Bowden
Todo 1 Global a Miami-based provider of services and products to Ibero-American consumers via the Internet launched its first portal, Todo 1 Personas, in Venezuela this week, organizers said.
Described as a "life management tool," the service offers financial services and consumer guides to the country's subscribers, said Noelle Galperin, vice president of Todo 1 Empresas, a sister product that will be added early in 2001.
Both Personas, meaning personal, and Empresas, meaning businesss, she said, offer financial and non-financial services and products with transaction capabilities.
Todo 1 Global coordinates the development of the products and services to be distributed by three banks, Ms. Galperin said.
The company is an alliance between three South American banks Venezuelan Mercantil Servicios Financieros and Peru-based Banco del Pichincha both with offices in Miami, and Bancolombia, said Fernando Ortega, CEO of Todo 1 Personas and Todo 1 Empresas. Together they have committed $60 million to the project.
He said Todo 1 Global founders, which recently opened its headquarters at 7600 Corporate Center Drive, agreed Miami was the only viable choice for its base.
"I'm from Madrid," he said, "but even so I recognize that Miami is the center of Latin America. It has good communications and it's in the same time zone as most Latin American countries."
The company is hiring 55-60 people from several countries, he said, with plans to grow to 155.
"We want to have an international business culture," he said, "with employees from all over the Americas, Spain and Portugal."
Plans are to launch both services in Colombia and Ecuador in the first quarter 2001, Ms. Galperin said.
While many banks offer portals, she said, "by combining their resources, the three can create a more robust product than anyone can create alone."
Because Latin Americans use banks as their primary source of financial and business advice, she said, "they hold a trusted position. It's a natural springboard for this service."
According to projections prepared by International Data Corp. and McKinsey & Co. which, with JP Morgan & Co., served as an adviser in the creation, financing and business strategy of Todo 1 about 1.64 million Latin Americans perform commerce over the¯Internet, Ms. Galperin said.
That number is expected to reach 5.3 million by 2003, at an annual compounded growth rate of 47.7%.
According to the projections, she said, these consumers will spend $1.58 billion in 2000 and up to $8 billion in 2003, representing a 96.4% compounded annual growth rate.
"Business-to-business services represent around 80% of that consumption," Ms. Galperin said.
Mr. Ortega said the company is seeking alliances with other local banks to take the service to more Latin countries.
"We are designing a strategy to introduce Todo 1 to the US Hispanic market," he said Tuesday.
Commercebank has partnered with the alliance in Florida, Mr. Ortega said, and he is looking for partners in New York, Chicago, Texas and California.
In addition, he said, the company will pursue strategic alliances with other non-financial strategic partners in the areas of content generation, application development and technology deployment.
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