Five years ago, the Argentine Sebastián Ponceliz founded Odyssey Group in the garage of his house located in Florida, United States, with the purpose of providing services of installation, operation, maintenance and administration of unmarked ATMs. Today it has presence in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay and Mexico, and expects to reach Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands in 2019 and the Middle East within two years.
Today, the firm has 1,000 ATMs in its network and manages another 500 that belong to individuals and companies, including banks. It plans to install 2,000 in Argentina this year. In the last 24 months, the company has invested 7 million dollars (mdd), three of them in software and the rest destined to operations.
The business model consists in the development of networks of 20 ATMs, which Odyssey Group manages without a brand or sells and operates for third parties, who finance part of the infrastructure and then keep a percentage of the retirement commission: “The The owner buys a network of ATMs and receives an income from the transactions they make. That was the initial model and it took a year and a half to consolidate, but it has had an exponential growth by word of mouth advertising among Latin American clients that are inside and outside the United States”, Ponceliz details.
The short-term profitability is 10%, and can reach up to 15% in the medium term: “Over the past five years, we have shown the investor that his investment is liquid because he is in the United States, what is safe, “he emphasizes.
The company’s main concept is the expansion, because it seeks to take a presence in local markets, which is why it offers fintech services. In his business model, human capital is important, investment in the legal area, as well as in the pilot tests of ATMs, prior to their sale.
Odyssey Group has software development, an Uptodown platform that has control of ATMs and converts them into hybrid ATMs, which operate with cryptocurrencies and cash.
The financial services provided are different for each market. In Europe, a mature market, earnings are adjusted, while volatile markets such as Latin America can be larger.
The company enters each country with the business that it considers will adapt to the needs of its population. Currently it has 10 companies and there are countries where it operates three and in other five.
“In Italy there is a great opportunity for prepaid cards, due to the great immigration that there is; we take advantage of this opportunity since we have a machine that manufactures this product [plastic]. In Italy we will enter with machines that dispense prepaid cards, and not with ATMs”, he says.
Also published on Medium.