LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin March 6, 2019

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

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Chilean foodtech NotCo raised a US$30m investment led by The Craftory, with participation from Bezos Expeditions, MAYA CAPITAL and previous investor KaszeK Ventures. NotCo is The Craftory and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ first investment in a Latin American startup.

  • NotCo’s flagship NotMayo product launched in Chile, where NotCo CEO Matias Muchnick says mayonnaise has a market penetration of 97%. “We're the third biggest mayo consumers per capita in the world. We pour mayo onto basically anything.”
  • NotMayo captures 8% of the Chilean market and is launching in Brazil and Argentina.
  • One of the coolest things about NotCo’s technology is that they are replicating the exact same foods on a molecular level — mayonnaise, milk — but they’re taking the animal out of the equation and sourcing plant-based molecules:

I'm not going to bore you out with a lot of data, but the food system is broken, and that's why a whole revolution is coming, because we need it, and we need it now. The way we're addressing it: We're not changing the foods that we eat. The food industry has done something really well, and it's creating unbelievably mouth watering products. They're crap, but they're delicious, and we're used to them. We're changing R&D. So we're disrupting more than the food industry, we’re changing the R&D methodology of producing new formulations.

> Five Elms Capital made a US$7m investment in PlayVox, an omnichannel QA/performance management software founded in Colombia by Oscar Giraldo. FCP Innovación SP, the CVC fund of EPM, made a US$1.5m Series A investment in 2015.

  • Founder/CEO Oscar Giraldo started PlayVox after visiting a call center for the first time: “I was impressed with the fact that most call centers run their operations using Spreadsheets, for me that was crazy. Also, I felt that call center employees were not treated fairly and they were super disengaged, causing bad customer experience and low CSATs. PlayVox was born from the idea to build software to change the way call centers and customer service teams are managed.”
  • Giraldo says 65% of PlayVox revenue is from the US, followed by Europe and Latin America. The company has 30+ employees in Colombia and three more in the US.

> IGNIA led a US$1.5m investment in Fondeadora, a Mexican open banking platform co-founded by Norman Müeller and René Serrano in 2011.

  • The former crowdfunding platform partnered with Kickstarter in 2016 to bring international visibility to Mexican projects. The new Fondeadora is a banking alternative that currently offers an international debit card in partnership with Mastercard.

> 🐾 Tarpon Investimentos made an undisclosed investment in Brazilian online retailer Petlove. Tiger Global sold its stake in the transaction; monashees and KaszeK remain investors since 2011.

Performa Investimentos made an undisclosed investment in Home Agent, a Brazilian work-from-home contact center, with participation from Gavea Angels.

  • This is Performa’s first investment from Fund 3, made using a warehousing vehicle that Capria provides for its Network Fund Managers. Performa joined the Capria Network in 2017.

> Renda Fixa, a Brazilian app for comparing fixed income investments, raised R$1m on equity crowdfunding platform Eqseed. 94 investors participated, with an average ticket of R$11k.

> 🤖 #AI #FINTECH BR Startups, managed by MSW Capital, made a R$1.5m investment in US-based personal finance app Olivia. XP Investimentos also made an undisclosed investment in Olivia this year.

  • Brazilian co-founders Cristiano Oliveira and Lucas Moraes plan to launch the app in Brazil next. Oliveira says: “In Brazil, XP Investimentos and Banco Votorantim have partnered with us to bring Olivia to the market, and participated in our most recent round of financing. The combination of a distribution partnership with equity financing provides a major value boost for us.”

CORRECTION: Last issue, we reported KaszeK Ventures & QED investors made a Series A investment in Agilis, an Argentine consumer lending platform. This is KaszeK’s first deal in Argentina out of Fund 3 -- not its inaugural investment from Fund 3.


> Fen Ventures led a US$3m Series A in, a Chilean financial inclusion platform, with participation from previous investors Accion Venture Lab and Mountain Nazca Chile.

Founder Sebastián Ugarte says Destacame has 1.3m total users and 300k in Mexico, where “the market is huge, and we see a big portion of the population that is unbanked or underbanked."

> Chilean recycled glasses manufacturer Karün raised €2.5m from Swedish impact investor Blue AB and others. Luna, the philanthropic organization of Lucy Ana Walton, invested earlier this year.

> GINcapital made an undisclosed investment in Holacode, a coding bootcamp for young Mexicans who have been deported from the US and for refugees from Central America. Mexican education impact investor Connovo invested previously.

> #DEBT PG Impact Investment made an undisclosed debt investment in Bayport Mexico, a Mexico City-based lender offering loans to lower middle-income public sector employees and pension beneficiaries in Mexico.

  • Bayport has a borrower base of over 600k globally and ~50k in Mexico.
  • The World Bank estimates that 54.3 million people in Mexico are underbanked: “Despite recent economic growth in Mexico, 32% of Mexican adults are still without access to financial products.”


> Brazilian audiobook company Ubook is planning a Canadian IPO for 2H2019. Ubook has ~6 million registered users and operates in about 18 countries globally.

  • Ubook President Flávio Osso: "A gente conversa com a Amazon para eles virem para cá e ajudarem a construir o mercado, é muito melhor ter 50% de um mercado de US$3-4b do que ter 100% de um mercado de US%50m."


FastCo named Nubank 2019’s most innovative Latin American company:

"Brazilians have traditionally been able to bank only with a handful of large institutions that charge some of the highest lending rates globally. Four-year-old Nubank, now the largest digital bank outside of Asia, with 5 million users, offers a compelling alternative with its low-fee credit cards and payment accounts.”

Grow, Apli, Magazine Luiza, Rappi, Cliengo, Movile, PagSeguro, Selina & Ecoandino also made the top 10.

> The newest entrepreneurs to join Endeavor include Lodovico Brioschi and Dominique Oliver of AMARO (Brazil), the largest DTC brand in Latin America selling more than 1 million items in 2018; Pierpaolo Barbieri of Ualá and Demian Brener of Zeppelin (Argentina); Noel Trainor and Noemi Valencia of Knotion (Mexico); and others.

  • AMARO is the largest direct-to-consumer brand in Latin America, according to the founders, selling more than 1m items in 2018. Read the founders’ story (em português).
  • AMARO was elected as one of top 25 startups to work for in Brazil by Linkedin  and ranked 8th in LoveMondays list of best medium sized companies to work for.

> Colombia Fintech looks at 2018 growth for Aflore, Mesfix, Minka, SeguroCanguro, Sempli, and Ualet.

> German digital bank N26 is expanding to Brazil, its first Latin American market. Ex-Cielo exec Eduardo Del Guerra Prota is leading the effort.

> Spanish delivery giant Glovo is closing its Brazil operations, citing an “extremely competitive market” with players like iFood, Rappi, and UberEats.

> Congrats to FastMind founders Eddy & Jorge Prado were selected as Endeavor entrepreneurs. Other updates from The Venture City’s portfolio:

> Check out LAVCA’s list of 258 Latin American startups with at least US$1m in VC funding, verified by LAVCA. Sort by geo, sector, and stage of investment.



> New York’s MDFI launched a private equity impact fund for independent media with US$12.95m in financing.

  • MDIF provides equity and debt financing to news and information companies in countries where access to independent media is under threat. In Latin America, investments include Altavoz en Perú y en Brasil.

> Canadian agroforestry project developer Ecotierra launched Urapi, its first sustainable impact fund.

> She for Social Impact will host a deep dive introduction to impact investing on March 15 in New York City. Details here.

> ImpactAlpha: 50 deals that signal a growing impact investing market in Latin America.

> WEF reports on how newspapers can measure social impact.



> Época Negócios looks at Movile’s 🤖 #AI ambitions: Queremos que a Movile se transforme numa referência em inteligência artificial no Brasil.”

  • Movile is building out a 100-person machine learning team to work across brands.
  • Applications for iFood include managing urban logistics, customer expectations and fleet management.

> CBInsights says payments is Amazon’s entry point in Mexico: “Since March 2017, Amazon has launched Amazon Prime, Amazon Cash and Amazon Cash debit cards in Mexico.”

> Speaking of Amazon: Reuters says Mexico’s Central Bank is in talks with Amazon to launch a government-backed mobile payment system.

> Telefónica exited Central America with a US$2.3b sale of telco assets including subsidiaries in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.

> Telefónica, Facebook, IDB Invest, and CAF launched Internet para Todos (IpT) Peru, “an open access wholesale rural mobile infrastructure operator which aims to help bridge the digital divide in Latin America.”

> Axios: People in Brazil, India, and Mexico use their phones to call a ride more often than Americans, according to a new survey from Adobe.

  • More people in these countries rely on their phones for food delivery than in the US.

> FT: China’s Latin American ambitions on display in Chile: “Even in Chile, which has been largely receptive to China’s advance, there has been pushback.”

> Bloomberg: Optimism or Wishful Thinking? Brazil’s Recovery Has Bit of Both.

> The Diplomat: How Latin America Factors Into the US-China Rivalry:

Latin America is already China’s second-largest destination for foreign investment, with US$25b in FDI in 2017, up from just $2b in 2004. Likewise, China-Latin America trade has multiplied 18 times since 2000. President Xi Jinping has also extended his signature foreign policy, the Belt and Road Initiative, to Latin America, signing up 14 of the region’s 20 countries. Xi has been to the region four times, with plans for another visit this November for the BRICS Summit in Brasilia, where the new government has been less receptive to Chinese charm.

> Axios: 2017 was the first year that digital ad spending passed the television ad spend in the US. This year, digital ad spending is set to exceed all non-digital formats combined.

> The New York Times: The Secret History of Women in Coding“Almost 200 years ago, the first person to be what we would now call a coder was, in fact, a woman: Lady Ada Lovelace.”



> #CROWDFUNDING Chile’s la Comisión para el Mercado Financiero (CMF) published a white paper about regulating crowdfunding and related financial services in Chile.

> Colombian regulatory agency La Superintendencia de Industria y Comercia published a law (Resolucion 1231) ordering Facebook to increase user data protection. Facebook has four months to comply.

> iupana says Mexican fintechs have yet to register under the new Ley del Fintech “because there is no need to act sooner,” according to Eduardo Guraieb, general manager of the Mexican Fintech Association: “That’s the legal advice. There’s no need to do it sooner.”

> Axios Login: When it comes to regulating Big Tech, Europe has the 'first-mover advantage,' and it's keeping it.”



> LAVCA welcomes new member BlueBox Ventures, the CVC arm of BlueBox that co-invests with corporates through a range of programs, including accelerators, incubators, demo days, and hackathons. Partners range from Bimbo and Cinepolis to AbinBev and SURA.

  • Geo: Investing principally in Mexico, looking at other LatAm markets
  • Sector: Not specific
  • Portfolio Includes: Apli, Homie, Synapbox, Sinllave, Briq, Synx, Localito, Mazunte, La GusChat, Lefort, LunchBreak
  • Key Personnel Includes: Gustavo Huerta (CEO), Monica Campos (New Business Director)

> Google launched its Launchpad Accelerator in Mexico. Startups across Latin America, in any sector, ideally between Seed and Series A funding, are welcome to apply for the three-month program that starts in April in CDMX. Foco: Cloud, AI/ML, Android y temas de negocio, UX y liderazgo. Apply by March 15.

> Globant finished its first LATAM Createch competition in partnership with the British Embassy. Congrats to VRTIFY, a VR/mixed reality immersive music platform founded by Argentine Facundo Diaz for winning.

> BTG Pactual’s boostLAB welcomes 8 startups to its new cohort: Gyra+, Zen Finance, Bela Pagamentos, Resale, Smarttbot, Rock Content, Allya, and Stillingue.

> NXTP Labs launched la Red de Innovación Agropecuaria, a 800,000-hectare space for agtech experimentation. Apply by March 18.

> Endeavor Brasil launched two open innovation programs with corporates:

> CEMEX Ventures launched a Construction Startup Competition 2019 for startups innovating in the construction industry. Apply by April 21.

> TheVentureCity launched a five-day bootcamp, powered by Google Developers Launchpad, for startups in Miami. Startups can apply here.

> MetLife Foundation and Visa, with partners Accion and the IFC, are launching Inclusive Fintech 50 to elevate early-stage fintechs addressing financial inclusion. Early-stage fintechs can apply by March 8

> IDB Lab launched Bootcamps for Tech Fans, an open call for proposals to select the most innovative Ready-to-Work Bootcamp models that work with vulnerable populations and technology in Latin America and the Caribbean. Winners will be considered to implement a project of up to US$1.5m in financing. Apply here.

Mobility startup Dashfleet was recognized at the LatAm Mobility Summit in Mexico City. Dashfleet was accelerated at Wayra Colombia.

Startout Brasil welcomed 20 startups to its sixth cohort.



> Globant's longtime CFO, Alejandro Scannapieco, was promoted to General Manager—US East and remains General Partner of Globant Ventures.

> Ciara Burnham joined QED Investors as a Partner. Burnham was previously Senior Managing Director of global investment bank Evercore.

> #PE TPG Fast-Tracks Women to Partner Following Diversity Rebuke.



> Bloomberg says BTG Pactual will raise up to US$15m for a token called ReitBZ that will allow some foreign investors access to distressed real estate assets in Brazil.

> The New York Times Op-Ed: Venezuelan economist Carlos Hernández says “Bitcoin Has Saved My Family”:

Turns out, I’m not the only Venezuelan using cryptocurrencies. The local market for Bitcoins broke a record on April 17 [2018], reaching US $1m worth on that day alone, Bloomberg reported…. According to Coin Dance, a website that monitors cryptocurrency transactions, during the week ending on Feb. 16, people in Venezuela traded about US$6.9m on, compared with about US$13.8m in Russia.

> Fortune Ledger: “Skeptics will point out that Bitcoin accounts for a minuscule amount of overall economic activity in Venezuela, and is accepted by only a handful of merchants”:

“I’d say it´s tech bro bullshit and a lame attempt to try to promote Bitcoin. Ultimately, people need hard currency to buy groceries. So unless you tell me there’s a way for people to buy groceries with Bitcoins, I can´t see how it would work,” said Rafael Mathus Ruiz, an Argentine economist and journalist for La Nacion, who has experienced his share of economic crises firsthand.

> WIRED: The Imperfect Truth About Finding Facts in a World of Fakes: “Blockchain databases—hyped for so much else—could actually be useful for verification.” And: “Every verification method carries the threat of surveillance.” 


> Redef has a step-by-step breakdown of Fortnite’s business model, hype factors and the future of the Metaverse: Fortnite Is the Future, but Probably Not for the Reasons You Think:

“While there will always be a new game format or hit game, Fortnite is uniquely capable of becoming that game, or expanding into it.”

WIRED: Fortnite's Marshmello Concert Is the Future of the Metaverse: “Granted, in reality, the experience wasn't quite what one might expect when hearing about a 10-million-person concert.”

> #AGTECH Outside looks at the future of aquaponic (hydroponic + aquafarming) farming in Urban Organics Wants to Fix Food.

> The New York Times: Some Chinese pig farms are experimenting with facial recognition to curb swine flu.

> WIRED: AR Will Spark the Next Big Tech Platform:

At first, the mirrorworld will appear to us as a high-resolution stratum of information overlaying the real world. We might see a virtual name tag hovering in front of people we previously met. Perhaps a blue arrow showing us the right place to turn a corner. Or helpful annotations anchored to places of interest… Eventually we’ll be able to search physical space… We will hyperlink objects into a network of the physical, just as the web hyperlinked words, producing marvelous benefits and new products.

> Quanta Magazine: A World Without Clouds:

Clouds currently cover about two-thirds of the planet at any moment. But computer simulations of clouds have begun to suggest that as the Earth warms, clouds become scarcer. With fewer white surfaces reflecting sunlight back to space, the Earth gets even warmer, leading to more cloud loss. This feedback loop causes warming to spiral out of control.


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