Financial Inclusion Challenge



Lucrefy helps to control small company's finance figures, such as profits and cash flow, using simple text messages via WhatsApp and Telegram.

Team Lead

Maykow Lenzi

Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization


What is the name of your solution?


Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Lucrefy helps to control small companies's finance figures, such as profits and cash flow, using simple text messages via WhatsApp and Telegram.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

Micro and small companies have less than 50% of survival chances after its initial three years of existence in Brazil. This statistic increases to 70% of survival chances after five years. At the same time, those companies are responsible for more than 70% of the labor force in the country - around 70 million people. Similar numbers are also found in Latin America and Africa.  Among the reasons for the high companies mortality rate, the lack of finance control is one of the top three, in accordance to the Local Entity Supporter for Micro and Small Companies. Entrepreneurs are hardly ever aware of their profits, losses, and cash flow. Most of those responsible for the companies have a ton of responsibilities on their back and time is a scarce asset. From production to marketing, one single person is usually in  charge of every single step required to run a new company. Financial control is under these duties. 

Most entrepreneurs don’t have the knowledge or time to learn finance skills. Even worse: they don’t take notes accordingly of their incomes and expenses and lack control of the current finance situation of their companies. There is no digitalization in this scenario, where it is common to use paper and pen.

The result? Working capital can evaporate easily, with uncontrolled withdrawals, increasing chances of bankruptcy and layoffs. Those entrepreneurs don't have a minimum support and guidance of how well or bad the company is running - a complete blindness of profits and cash flow. Probably, it will be necessary to borrow money to continue running the company. Unexpected extra costs come up, increasing chances to close the business in less than three years of existence. 

In summary: the lack of finance control is one of the top three reasons for micro and small companies to go bankrupt.  The scenario gets worse because the majority of entrepreneurs don't have time and knowledge to control businesses ‘figures.

What is your solution?

Lucrefy is a finance control software that uses simple texts and messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, for micro and small businesses. Lucrefy merges the usability, easy to access, and customer familiarity of such apps (available in more than 94% of mobile phones in Brazil) with artificial intelligence to organize companies' figures. 

In a technical point of view, Lucrefy is a finance chatbot that uses messaging apps, APIs (Application Programming Interface) and artificial Intelligence to provide finance control using simple text messaging, taking advantage of NLP (Natural Language Processing), transforming common messages into financial statements and commands control. 

The entrepreneurs send to Lucrefy a simple text, such as “paid 150 on products on 21/03” or “received 500 debit card”, and the solution will understand and summarize this info into the proper finance line. Receivables will have the proper date of cash availability calculated. The solution will inform If there is a negative cash flow in the following weeks, to turn on red lights to control expenses. 

At any time, the entrepreneur will have access to graphics of sales, profit & loss, cash flow, and income statement, as well as an analysis of the company’s current situation, comparing the results to successful companies in the same segment.

There is no need to use Excel software or expensive finance solutions. The chatbot works on IoS and Android. The only requirement is a smart phone or computer with access to WhatsApp or Telegram.

Lucrefy can be easily translated to other languages and specific countries' requirements.

Attached follows a link with a short product demo: Click here to watch Short Product Demo

Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

This solution serves  micro and small companies' owners who don't have the skills of how to control business numbers. These entrepreneurs founded more than 10 million companies only in Brazil during the last three years. Their profits are lower than US$ 3,000/month, and most of them with a monthly income smaller than US$500. This target population doesn’t have a computer but does have access to a mobile phone with WhatsApp.  They are mostly first time entrepreneurs, with several unanswered questions about how to manage a company. Interestingly, women are responsible for 60-70% of those businesses, who also take care of their families and home.

Those entrepreneurs have limited time to control their expenses, they don't have a laptop, and are not familiar with finance concepts or Excel - but are heavy users of messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. Basically, in less than five minutes a day, the chatbot will help business owners to control their costs and analyze basic numbers by using messaging tools that a large part of the population is familiarized.  

It is quite common in Brazil and Latin America that entrepreneurs control their costs taking notes and using pen and paper, or simply looking at the summary of the bank account. This audience is also served by Lucrefy.

Another aspect of this population is that entrepreneurs usually mix personal and company accounts - when they have access to banking accounts - creating a fuzzy scenario when it is impossible to know if the business is profitable or not. If it is not profitable, what part of the business must be reviewed closely? 

Lucrefy will impact this population providing a fast and clear business finance control, in a scenario where 1) it is not necessary to understand financial concepts, 2) most of this audience has only smart phones, 3) there is no digitalization or clear and easy digital tools, 4) taking less than five minutes a day to organize numbers, and 5) using an app already installed in most phones (94% in Brazil, 80% Latin America), with a well-known user interface and customer experience.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Lucrefy team is composed by: Maykow Lenzi (myself, founder), Raquel Cardoso (co-founder), Levy Araujo (part-time programmer), Robson DelFio (advisor), Veronica Maia (advisor). 

I have been carrying out the Lucrefy project since its beginning. The skills that allowed me to go into this journey were my experience as a business consultant and mentor of SMBs for a large NGO related to this topic in Brazil, “Aliança Empreendedora” - with whom we also have a partnership with.  Besides my mentoring experience, I am an ambassador of “Aliança Empreendedora”, with a close connection with several micro and small entrepreneurs throughout Brazil promoting digital transformation and mentoring. I am also the co-owner of a cafeteria (small business) and engineer/programmer.  This experience built my comprehension that entrepreneurs are not properly controlling their finances, besides understanding what is important on their daily activities that should be addressed by a digital solution. Moreover,  being a cafeteria owner, I could wear the entrepreneur’s shoes and had an empathy exercise with the barriers that business owners have in their daily routine. 

Raquel Cardoso worked with her parents on their small businesses when she was a teenager, having the chance to understand the common issues faced by entrepreneurs. She also worked as marketing and brand analyst for big and small companies, including different kinds of segments (beauty, finance, food, medicine, architecture) acquiring knowledge of proper ways to establish bridges between them and more: communicate with SMBs' real needs.

Veronica Maia works for Aliança Empreendedora promoting and coordinating projects for afro-american entrepreneurs (mainly) and supports Lucrefy with its communication to small business owners, besides functionalities identified as relevant to have a proper finance control. Veronica is also a mentor of several small businesses and is constantly in contact with communities attended by Lucrefy.

Robson DelFiol is a startup and growth marketing expert, who helps Lucrefy to identify barriers and solutions to reach more entrepreneurs through the online universe. 

Levy Araujo is a part-time programmer, who translates business requirements into coding algorithms. He also rendered several digital solutions via chatbots and messages to his local community in the North of Brazil, that basically are small entrepreneurs (less than 4 employees) searching for digital tools.

During the product development, more than 50 company owners were consulted to identify what aspects of the business for a SMB should be included in Lucrefy - more than 100. The partnership with Aliança Empreendedora and its free mentoring programs were fundamental elements to contribute to this development. 

On a monthly basis, Lucrefy team consults with part of testers to investigate new features required to improve finance control digitalization and easiness of the solution. Several new graphics were included due to this approach.

Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Create and/or reduce frictions to scale safe personal identification methods for individuals who have been kept out of the formal financial system due to a lack of formal identification

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Sao Paulo

In what country is your solution team headquartered?

  • Brazil

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model that is rolled out in one or more communities

How many people does your solution currently serve?

Lucrefy currently serves more than 200 small companies/customers.

Our goals are:

  • targeting to reach 1000 by the end of 2023;
  • 5000 by the end of 2024;
  • 10000 by December 2025.

Why are you applying to Solve?

The decision to apply for Solve aims to boost networking and expertise, besides the support to extend Lucrefy project to other communities apart from Brazil. Through Solve Community, we expect:

  • to broaden our network; 
  • to share experiences; 
  • to have access to strategic mentoring; 
  • to reach organizations that can help us to provide a higher impact globally to communities with reduced access to digital tools; 
  • and to include more entrepreneurs in the project. 

Due to the high level and quality of those connections, being part of Solve Community can provide guidance to incorporate new technologies, features, and technical mentoring of how to scale the solution to a larger audience, besides partnerships apart from Brazil.

Moreover, I believe MIT Solve will bring an important support when it is time to consider an extension of Lucrefy solution to other countries and cultures. The list of connections from the community will be a valuable asset at this stage.

It is also important to mention that taking part of Solve Community will expose Lucrefy in the media, which will be a priceless value to the marketing part of the company.   Receiving funding is important; however, the access to the network, the support to expand the solution to other markets, and the help to build impact and exposition are the most important goals aimed by this application initiative

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
  • Product / Service Distribution (e.g. delivery, logistics, expanding client base)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Maykow Lenzi

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

The innovation behind Lucrefy technology is to join a very well-known app (WhatsApp at larger scale and Telegram), available in more than 90% of mobile phones in Brazil and Latin America, to the business finance control procedures. There is no additional app requirement, no necessity to connect to a bank account, nor to have a spreadsheet software installed, nor a computer available. Lucrefy is simple as its ideal customer is, using only a cellular to control the company's numbers, typing simple sentences to organize the data.

Lucrefy uses a mix of messaging platforms and AI, providing a friendly approach to control a company's finance statements. The solution uses the technology of WhatsApp and Telegram APIs (application interfaces) and Natural Language Process (NLP) artificial intelligence algorithms, merging those technologies to an organized finance control system developed by Lucrefy. All of this takes less than five minutes a day to input the company's data.

Entrepreneurs who regularly use paper and pencil to control their sales and expenses (more than 60% in Brazil) will be strongly benefited by Lucrefy. In the end, a lack of finance control is one of the top five reasons for micro and small-size companies to fail or resort to unexpected borrowing alternatives. However, entrepreneurs are also regular users of messaging platforms.  

The positive impact of this solution is to support an entrepreneur who has only a mobile phone and has no previous knowledge of financial analysis to describe a financial statement in a natural way of writing, such as "I paid 1000 to energy on 15/05". The system will understand this is a payment related to facilities cost and will provide the income statement and cash flow accordingly. 

Lucrefy creates a new and simple way of controlling the business, providing a flexible and straight to the point method. Any person with little knowledge of messaging solutions can use Lucrefy chatbot and have a better control of his costs and expenses.

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Lucrefy's impact goals for one year is to help at least 1,000 companies to be financially responsible and economically healthy, improving their chances to be successful in a horizon of five years. As a reminder, more than 60% of new companies in Brazil (and very likely worldwide) will fail due to the end of money/investments and lack of financial control at the same period. This goal has a potential to affect thousands of lives, as SMBs are hiring more than 70% of the labor force in the country.

For a five years’ landscape, Lucrefy expects to help more than 10,000 companies (minimum). Our aim at Lucrefy is to help 10,000 companies to reduce the mortality rate by 30% (minimum) by controlling their finances accordingly, through the reports and analysis provided by the solution.

One of the outputs that Lucrefy will provide is the income statement, that is a clear picture of how well a company is performing. If the numbers present any deviation on the profits, Lucrefy will support guidance of how to improve the performance through financial analysis, explaining what should be reviewed at the cost and sales evaluation. 

Another relevant information provided by Lucrefy is the cash flow analysis, that supports entrepreneurs to understand when cash is available for any period of time. Lucrefy will display days during the month when there is negative account balance - usually the time when a loan at financial institutions happens or when founders/partners funds are necessary. 

Several other reports are available, such as sales forecast, sales analysis, COGS (cost of goods sold) analysis, infrastructure analysis, among others.

Lucrefy is a software as a service solution (SaaS). In this sense, it does not require physical installations and can be easily attached to several companies, using partnerships to expand the client base and scale. Examples of potential partnerships are: SBA Small Businesses Administration (US), Aliança Empreendedora (a former Solver solution - Lucrefy already has a partnership with them) and Sebrae (Brazil).

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

The most effective impact goal that Lucrefy can support is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Companies that are finance responsible can boost employment and economic growth.

In a technical point of view, the most effective KPIs to measure the progress are: 

  • Control the number of subscriptions and client base;
  • Control the churn rate;
  • Control the number of customers requesting profit & loss and cash flow reports (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal UNSDG #8);
  • Keep track of customers profits and losses (UNSDG #8 and #10);
  • Keep track of days of negative cash flow  (UNSDG #8 and #10);
  • Control the percentages of COGS, payroll, rental for customers (remembering that high fixed costs are a well-known opposite for companies profits)  (UNSDG #8 and #10).

Lucrefy database will have access to financial numbers of several companies. This data will be welcome to analyze business segments and prepare actions to support the improvement of economic health and financial status of specific sectors. 

The most important KPI to support UN Sustainable Development Goals (Goals Number 8 and 10) is the profit obtained by Lucrefy customers. Profitable companies can sustain per capita economic growth, decent job creation, including access to financial services, and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population. Important to remember that micro and small companies are responsible for more than 70% of employment rates in Brazil. 

Lucrefy aims to reach ordinary businesses, such as restaurants, bars, cafeterias, mechanical repairs, beauty salons, and few other small companies, that generate thousands of jobs.

What is your theory of change?

Lucrefy exists because its founders belong to a small portion of the Brazilian population who have access to good quality higher education, which we consider a transformative asset. However, the majority of the population stops aiming for a better education so that they can first guarantee other basic needs, namely housing and food. Brazil is a country where more than 50% of households are led and managed by women, and among those 50% are afro descendants. (McKinsey)

The country is well-known as a creative and hard-working nation (39% of the population aged 18 to 64 are entrepreneurs, McKinsey), but the historical-cultural heritage leads to inequality, where the 1% richest concentrates 49.6% of all wealth in the country. (Credit Suisse). We believe that Lucrefy accelerates the change in this scenario by empowering and bringing autonomy to the financial management of micro and small companies, propelling the sustainability of dignity, the income distribution,  and the growth of families and businesses in the country.

Our goal is to break barriers of the financial management for micro and small companies, as they represent 30% of GDP (U.S. Embassy in Brazil, January 2022) -  the potential market is more than 10 million companies - and 70% of the labor force (Sebrae, 2022). In the country, 25% of small companies close their doors due to lack of capital, budget, and planning in less than five years. Even worse, 70% of entrepreneurs never had finance education (Sebrae, 2022) and 30% of them are not aware of necessary working capital (Sebrae 2014). Considering Latin America, 60% of the labor force comes from micro and small ventures (“MiPymes en America Latina” Cepal UN 2020), and 30% of companies go bankrupt due to lack of working capital and poor management (Asem 2020). A proper finance control has the power to leverage the success rate of small businesses, paving the way for social change and for economic improvement. 

Furthermore, as Lucrefy is connected to WhatsApp, an app already used by 93.4% of Brazilians (Statista), it is a strategic solution for us to gain speed in this massive transformation.

The way to change the financial control reality of small companies relies on simple and direct language to break barriers, awareness via social media and Google Ads (Brazilians are heavy users of Instagram, TikTok and Facebook), partnerships with NGOs linked to entrepreneurship empowerment, advisors, and fundraising to help us to expand the solution to a broader audience.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Lucrefy merges two technologies already in place to serve business finance control: Artificial Intelligence and NLP to the API provided by messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram. 

Lucrefy uses API connections provided by two major messaging apps, WhatsApp ( and Telegram (, using them for chatbot communication and user interface. The decision by these two apps followed the number of current users already in place for such platforms. The usage of a very well-known interface is a game changer to overcome finance control lack of control. 

NLP or Natural Language Process Artificial Intelligence library ( is also part of the solution. It helps to understand messages sent by customers and to classify them into financial statements. The system is trained to understand messages related to sales and payments, allocating the transaction accordingly to its correct cost center.    

Furthermore, Lucrefy can be categorized as a messaging ERP API that interacts with any banking or financial institution that has a chatbot available. This option can expand the reach of this tool. Lucrefy interprets, aggregates and summarizes finance information from customers on its database, just needing messaging texts to perform that.

The last piece of technology in use is Python programing languages and its libraries for graphics ( and artificial intelligence (pandas for data analysis and numpy for arrays and mathematical functions).

The roadmap for Lucrefy includes voice to text technology and computer vision to detect numbers and texts on photos, using library OpenCV ( 

Payments at Lucrefy are provided by Stripe (

The website for Lucrefy ( uses standard Wix solutions.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Audiovisual Media
  • Big Data
  • Software and Mobile Applications

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Brazil

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Portugal
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

How many people work on your solution team?

Three people for a solution team. One as full time, one as part-time, and one as contractor. Lucrefy also has two advisors (part-time).

How long have you been working on your solution?

Lucrefy is under development/test/growth stage for the last two years.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

Our approach begins understanding that diversity is a natural asset and needs to be valued in order to bear fruit. Equity for us is everyone's rights and for it to happen it must be understood that the differences in the origins of each one must be compensated by actions to accelerate opportunities for the less favored historically, in addition to being a matter of social justice, especially in Latin America. Inclusion is a right, it is about respecting the physical and intellectual identity, besides the personal expression.

We believe these people need support and help. Financial emancipation will make them leave their contexts of vulnerability. The demand for more diversity in entrepreneurship becomes the main alternative to reflect Brazil's social composition.

Brazil is a country where socioeconomic issues and inequality are directly linked to ethnic-racial issues, LGBTQIAP+, and the female cause. The afro descendents represent 55.8% of our population, but the same proportion is not represented in companies, where afro descendent professionals still find barriers to being hired, reaching only 4.7% of leadership positions (Valor Econômico).

The female population, representing 51.7%, has a participation in the labor market around 20% lower than men (CNN).

The self-declared LGBTQIAP+ population, which is estimated around 10%, still faces unemployment in some regions of the country, where it can reach up to 40% for the population of this cutoff group (HR Agreement). Therefore, in a country where 50% of trans feminicides worldwide are committed and where deaths due to homophobia have grown by 33% in just one year (Agência Brasil), for many LGBTQIAP+ female entrepreneurs, starting and running a business is the main way to earn income and obtain dignity (A look at the Entrepreneurship of LGBTQIAP+ Women, Nhaí Consultoria de D&I).

For Lucrefy, diversity stands on 3 pillars, team, communication, and solution. Our team is composed of five people; a young woman searching for her place in the work market; a young, black woman; a middle-age man; a young man from the north of Brazil (a less favored area); and a man who was born in a metallurgical area. 

Regarding communication to its audience, Lucrefy uses simple and direct language (colloquial), besides neutral, using images of real and diverse people.

The solution was originally designed and developed for everyone, using well-known messaging apps, being intuitive, with small ticket investment.

Finally, in addition to our belief related to people and opportunities, the recognized report “Diversity Matters” (McKinsey) reinforces that companies committed to diversity in their staff obtain positive results - above average for their sectors, being 35% when linked to race and 15% regarding gender diversity.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Lucrefy provides this finance control system/chatbot through monthly subscriptions, on a recurring model. There are three options currently available (Telegram, WhatsApp, WhatsApp + 30 minutes consulting).

Lucrefy provides value to its customers with a friendly, fast, and straight to the point finance control software, that uses a chatbot and a messaging app as user interface, available on any smartphone. 

  • The basic features provided by Lucrefy are:
  • Profit & Loss analysis + audio explanation;
  • Cash Flow control;
  • Sales Forecast;
  • Sales analysis;
  • Sales by product sold;
  • List of all sales and expenses (by type of expense);
  • Excel exportation.

Lucrefy's main contribution is to empower entrepreneurs with reliable information to control their businesses, to analyze results, to foresee investments, and improve the chances of economic success.

Target customers are lone entrepreneurs and companies with monthly incomes around USD 1k-10k. Micro companies (one person companies) such as food at home, craftwork, beauty, small repairs are the main target, having as secondary target other businesses, such as small restaurants, bars, cafeterias, mechanical repairs, beauty salons - with a higher monthly income. This audience usually controls their expenses with paper and pencil or verifying the bank account balance, which makes it difficult to observe cash flow variance or the risk of resorting to a loan. It is quite common to notice these target customers are not aware whether they have profits or losses, having as consequence business withdrawals with no control and increasing chances of bankruptcy. 

The main idea to engage and appeal customers is the usage of informal language and messaging platforms (probably the most used type of app used in the world).

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

The main idea to turn Lucrefy financially sustainable is to consider the subscription model/recurring method as its prime source of income. The initial target price is US$5.00/month per company on the simplest plan. A more sophisticated plan will cost US$15.00/month and will include the finance control and online consultancy about the financial results.

Lucrefy can be considered as an entrepreneur support, providing support to clients (small entrepreneurs) to help them access services, such as finance control. Lucrefy works as a Micro-SaaS model that has low cost and a small team to be up running. Lucrefy has an extension list of tutorials to support the onboarding and usage of the tool, aiming to reduce cost of training.  

The idea is obtaining new customers by the functionality, innovation of using an ordinary messaging platform, social media, partnerships, word of mouth, and price. 

The first steps of the company were covered by the founder's savings. Those costs were mainly addressed to programming, marketing, and infrastructure. 

All the project was built to be low-cost as possible. This approach relieves the initial pressure at the first steps of the company. 

During the trial period, all costs were covered by the founders and due to an investment and partnership with Aliança Empreendedora via Mastercard fund.  Aliança Empreendora is a Former Solver participant.

To improve the company's cash flow, it is necessary to obtain more customers. So, the go-to-market goes from word of mouth, network, partnerships with local entrepreneurship entities, and strong content (videos, blogs) to Google Ads and marketing on Facebook entrepreneurship groups. Costs at the initial stage will be funded by the founder, subscriptions, and fund raising. 

A partnership and sponsorship with local banks, which are investing in small companies, is another possible source of income. Lucrefy can be considered as a Messaging ERP API tool, which means it can be connected to any bank or financial institution that has a chatbot tool available. It can also be easily transformed into a personal finance control, helping people to control their expenses. 

Raising investment capital is also considered as a potential path of financial sustainability, in particular to cover new technologies and sales support.

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

Lucrefy has a partnership established with Aliança Empreendedora (Brazilian NGO), a former MIT Solve participant, since 2022. The solution was approved by the board of this NGO between January and March 2022. This partnership provided a channel to reach potential test customers to proceed the product match process. 

Besides, the support of Aliança Empreendedora helped Lucrefy with a funding budget provided via Mastercard Entrepreneurship Program, helping the company to develop additional features to its product. 

Lucrefy also participated in the Mastercard Strive Program in 2022, reaching its last round as one of the final top 10 solutions, out of 700 participants. Lucrefy was not funded at this program. 

During the trial test, testers were questioned about the “price/value perception” cost for the tool, suggesting USD 10,00/month - a higher price than the basic signature of USD 5,00/month.

The NPS for Lucrefy is above 9 (out of 10), constantly measured with its client base.

Lucrefy also participated in the Founders Institute Sao Paulo Winter Program 2022 (no funding process - just mentoring). Lucrefy ranked as participant #3 out of 50 startups with a score 4.93 out of 5.

Solution Team

  • Maykow Lenzi Founder, Lucrefy
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