Startup Mx: Coba

Dual Currency Accounts For LatAm
Startup Mx: Coba

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Following the Covid-19 pandemic, US companies have begun expanding their hiring horizons - not just looking for remote employees in the US, but increasingly south of the border.  The willingness of US companies to hire internationally has continued to boom and has created opportunities for freelancers and full time remote contractors in Mexico. 

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have increasingly recognized the necessity of digital services, including online sales, digital marketing, and internet-based payment processing (Forbes.Mx).

However, The market for skilled Mexican freelancers is growing internationally.

Connecting Borders

Mexico's freelance community, nearly 14 million strong, has seen a surge in demand for its members to work remotely for international companies. However, this trend of working across borders presents several challenges.

When a freelancer earns in US dollars (USD), lives in Mexico and has the desire to spend in Mexican (MXN) pesos a plethora of intricacies can arise.

Enter Coba, a platform that makes living in Pesos & Dollars more seamless than ever before, Coba offers:

  • Earn USD in a US bank account
  • Easily spend those USD in Mexico with a Mexican debit card (converted to pesos)

This makes life easier for Mexican freelancers!

"At Coba, our vision was this: could we create a cross-border banking platform that unifies financial services specifically designed for people living and working across borders?  The idea stemmed from the growing reality of cross-border lives and economies – something we see across Mexico, especially in the nearshoring powerhouse of Nuevo Leon. We wanted to build a financial services platform that seamlessly aligns with this new reality." - Joseph Saliba (Co-Founder and CEO Coba)


Joseph Saliba

Eduardo Lopez De Leon

Carlos Medellín 

Abraham Kuri Vargas

Coba’s Inception

Joseph Saliba, Coba's co-founder, has a background that bridges the world of finance between the US and Mexico. This experience fueled his desire to create Coba. He witnessed the rise of fintech and the need for a platform that ensures compliance between the US and Mexico banking systems. Most importantly, he identified a gap in the market:  Mexican freelancers faced difficulties in managing their finances because of the complexities associated with cross-border transactions.

The Challenge: Managing Cross-Border Income

For Mexican freelancers working with US clients, traditional banking solutions pose a significant hurdle. These solutions are often complex and expensive, especially when dealing with different currencies. Many freelancers lack US bank accounts, making it difficult to deposit and manage their USD earnings.

Coba's Solution: A Cross-Border Banking Platform

Coba tackles these challenges by offering a user-friendly digital platform. “I'm incredibly excited about what we've built at Coba. It all starts with solving a key problem: Mexican residents working remotely want US accounts.

Through our partnership with Bangor Savings Bank we can open US deposit accounts for them (freelancers)”, Joseph explained to VC Mexico, “They (User) can deposit USD directly, from US employers or clients, or even via international wire transfer. It (the account) acts just like a US platform - they get a debit card to spend USD directly, perfect for business trips or personal needs. Additionally, they can integrate the account with other fintech tools through Plaid.”

What are Coba's key features?

Earn and Spend in US Dollars

  • Open a US Deposit Account: Customers don't need US residency to open an FDIC-insured account with Bangor Savings Bank, holding up to $250,000 USD.
  • Send and Receive US Dollars: Easily transfer US dollars with ACH and wire transfer options.
  • Coba US Debit Mastercard: Spend USD directly from the US Deposit Account. This mobile wallet-compatible debit card is accepted anywhere Mastercard is used, both in the US and internationally.

Live and Spend in Pesos

  • Local Features: Customers can send money to themselves, family, or even pay rent with SPEI payouts.
  • Competitive Exchange Rates: Coba offers the same FX rate with no fixed fees, regardless of the amount converted (between $1 and $1,000 USD).
  • Fast Transfers: Enjoy rapid cross-border payouts without delays.
  • Coba Mexico Mastercard: This Mastercard allows easy conversion of USD to pesos for everyday purchases like coffee, online shopping, or ATM withdrawals. The card is secure with a NIP (personal identification number) and accepted anywhere Mastercard is used in Mexico.
  • Transparent Fees: Coba offers transparent FX rates with no foreign transaction fees. The card is secured by the funds in the customer's US Deposit Account.


2024, $2.2M (Seed) including Alaya Capital, Switch Ventures, the founding family of Banco BASE , Grupo Topaz, and Acacia Venture Capital Partners, Y Combinator, and Litquidity Ventures

What’s in Coba’s Pipeline?

Coba is planning to introduce investment opportunities in the US for Mexican freelancers. Additionally, Coba sees potential in expanding its services to other Latin American countries facing similar challenges in managing cross-border income.

Coba aims to grow their community to 5,000 members, work with businesses, and offer even more helpful financial services, like insurance, tax help, getting paid early, and investing.

“We're launching US investment options for users in the near future. This closes the loop on USD services. We're also eyeing expansion to Spanish-speaking markets like Colombia, Chile, and Peru.” – Joseph Saliba

Market Opportunity

Latin America's FinTech industry is experiencing remarkable growth, with projections indicating it will expand from USD 17 billion in 2024 to USD 52 billion by 2029, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.24%. 

Additionally, a study by Gitnux suggests that by 2030, 62% of millennials and Gen Z will be working entirely remotely, supported by several Latin American countries introducing digital nomad visas.

This shift is expected to significantly increase demand for Coba's platform services, which cater to the USD-earning remote workforce in Latin America.

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