Since 2019, when he founded PMI Americas Group, Alex Pereira has been providing consulting services and payment solutions to thousands of people in Latin America and around the globe. With locations in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Spain, and the U.S., he has the ability to connect with local financial institutions in these countries while working closely with international business partners to create and implement customized payment strategies.
Interestingly, Alex did not begin his career in finance, but in the management and media business, where he focused on packaging award-winning movies and television deals, supervising sales around the world, and managing global productions. With shows that won several international awards and Emmy nominations, and as the creator and executive producer of the widely successful docu-series Drug Wars, Alex was enjoying a successful career. But as he oversaw productions in several countries, he encountered issues paying local crews and actors from his U.S.-based company, with most options being expensive and unreliable. To solve the problem, Alex developed his own internal payment system where he could create an account for all his crews and fund them remotely, as needed. Before long, he was helping other businesses manage payments and was soon servicing more clients in the payment business than in his TV production deals. That’s when he decided to launch PMI Americas as a global payment services provider with a bigger mission in mind. “We’re changing people’s lives and opening opportunities for businesses to expand globally,” Alex says. And with over a million payments completed to date and 300% growth year over year, it’s clear that they’re delivering.
We sat down with Alex to learn more about PMI Americas, how they’re helping small- and medium-sized businesses thrive, and why he sees this as his most creative and rewarding endeavor.
How is PMI Americas different from direct deposit or other payment platforms?
We’re different in several ways. Zelle and Venmo don’t work outside the U.S. and there is no direct deposit overseas. Wire transfers involve a fee, which can be very expensive for the employer—anywhere from $35 to $55 for each payment. If you have hundreds of remote workers, this becomes astronomical. Options like Western Union sound cheap, but the worker loses money from the currency exchange rate. We designed a service where we can provide local payments without the international cost because we have our own accounts and presence in countries around the world, so both employers and employees benefit.
How does it work, and how can businesses benefit?
We made it simple and easy. First, we sign an agreement with the company, and they register their workers on our platform. Then, with a click of a button, they pay them all in different currencies around the world. Internally, we pay those workers locally in their respective currencies without the international fee. We charge between $5-$10 per payment as opposed to $50 and we give them a better exchange rate. Companies don’t pay a monthly fee, just for the payments they send. We can help U.S. businesses pay and collect in Latin America, and help Latin American companies pay in the U.S. and Europe. In 2023, we’re launching a new ERP business software called IXACTUS, which our CTO, Isaac Gavino, created and that will allow any business, no matter their size, to modernize and digitize their accounting, logistics, and payment services all in one hub.
What compelled you to serve specifically startups and small- and medium-sized businesses?
I can totally empathize with these businesses, since, at one point, we were a startup and experienced the same frictions and limitations. If you’re a smaller company, you don’t have the same access to credit, mass payments, inexpensive banking, and global payments that big corporations do. We really wanted to help those that really need it. We believe that a company should not be wasting their time trying to figure out how to pay people around the world. That energy should be 100% focused on their products or services, and growing their business.
What do you enjoy most about your work, or what drives you?
I used to be in a creative field when I worked in the entertainment world, but I have never been more creative than I am now. We challenge ourselves to see how we can do a payment a little faster, a little cheaper, a little better, and you do that by being creative. We’re changing people’s lives and that motivates us every day. Everything we do has a true effect. We do something that benefits somebody, and if we can do it for a small company, it will help them grow. That means everything to us.
A graduate of Boston University, Alex has been featured in Time Magazine, Newsweek, and the New York Times.
Founder & CEO — PMI Americas Group