Franklin Templeton invests in Brazilian-Israeli fintech Weel

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Franklin Templeton has invested $30 million in Brazilian-Israeli fintech Weel as part of the U.S. asset manager’s strategy to increase its footprint in Brazil and the rest of Latin America, according a statement on Thursday.

Weel, backed by venture capital investors such as Monashees and Mindset Ventures and with operations in Brazil, lends money to small-business clients by anticipating their receivables.

As a partner of Weel, which uses artificial intelligence and data analysis to offer online loans at lower interest rates than traditional banks, Franklin Templeton intends to help it create more products for small companies.

In addition to expanding its business in Brazil, Weel plans to start operating in Mexico and Chile by December.

Weel was founded by two Brazilian residents of Israel, Simcha Neumark and Shmuel Kalmus, and one American, Russell Weiss. It will use the proceeds to serve more clients and improve technology tools.

Reporting by Alberto Alerigi; writing by Carolina Mandl; editing by Leslie Adler