LatAm Venture Bulletin September 6, 2017

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LatAm Venture Bulletin


> September 28 is LAVCA’s Venture Investors Annual Meeting in New York. Join us for a full day of discussions and networking with the region’s leading early-stage investors, global investors, and invited entrepreneurs, including Victor Wang, “China’s greatest angel investor” and Co-founder of the Zhenfund, which partnered with Sequoia Capital China to raise US$600m and invest in over 400 startups to date. Register here or email us to see if you qualify to attend. Access the agenda here.


> InvestTech made a R$21m investment in Acesso, a Brazilian pre-paid card platform that processes over R$1b in transactions per year, with participation from Duxx Investimentos, founder Sérgio Kulikovsky, the Heilberg family and others.

> Velum Ventures, FOMIN, XTP1, Grupo Generaciones, and DGGF (Dutch Good Growth Fund) made a US$3.6m seed investment in Sempli, an online lending platform for SMEs in Colombia. Velum Ventures partners Esteban Velasco and Felipe Llano founded Sempli in part as a response to the unmet demand they see for Colombian entrepreneurs to access capital.

Elevar Equity led a US$7m Series B in Tienda Nube (known as Nuvem Shop in Brazil), a cloud solutions e-commerce provider for entrepreneurs and SMEs in Latin America, with participation IGNIA and existing investors KaszeK Ventures, NXTP Labs, and FJ Labs.

> 500 Startups made a US$100k investment in Quero Educação, a Brazilian college comparison and scholarship platform that was accelerated at Y Combinator in 2016.

> 500 Startups also invested R$500k in Mediação Online, a legal dispute mediation service for Brazilian businesses and consumers that was accelerated at Wayra Brasil, after accepting the startup into its 22nd batch.

> Promotora Social Mexico (PSM) led an undisclosed investment in Aliada, a Mexican on-demand cleaning services platform, with participation from VARIV Capital, Capital Invent, Dila Capital, and Gentera through its innovation arm Fiinlab.


> LAVCA interviewed on-demand cleaning startups Aliada and Hogaru about the opportunity to improve working conditions for cleaning professionals in Mexico and Colombia.

> MEXICO: Ana Isabel Orvañanos and Rodolfo Corcuera of Aliada, an on-demand labor platform for cleaning professionals, talk about how they are combating the social stigma of domestic work in Mexico while growing double digits every month.

  • Aliada just raised an undisclosed round of funding from Promotora Social Mexico, VARIV Capital, Capital Invent, Dila Capital, and Gentera through its innovation arm Fiinlab.

> COLOMBIA: Matteo Cera, CEO of Hogaru, a subscription cleaning service for small businesses, discusses how the business model works better in LatAm over the US, including high urban population density and a cheaper cost to acquire new clients, as well as how Y Combinator helped them establish a network of mentors and created access to US investors.

  • After initial funding from Wayra Colombia, the accelerator of Telefonic Open Future_, and participating in Y Combinator, Hogaru is consolidating operations in Colombia, where it already operates at profitability, and is eyeing potential expansion markets.


> Kingo, a Guatemalan startup providing pre-paid solar energy kits to almost 50,000 low-income households across Central America, raised a US$8m Series B from a group of investors that includes Engie, the French energy company (FCP), the innovation fund of Colombian utility EPM, and development banks FMO, Proparco, and H-Reff.

> Impact Investment Fund Moringa SCA SICAR made an undisclosed investment in Floresta Viva, a Brazilian agroforestry company focused on environmentally-friendly heart of palm production.

> The Global Under 30 Impact Challenge, organized by TPG Growth’s Rise Fund, is accepting applications from startups solving problems in education, energy, food, healthcare, financial services and other sectors. Entrepreneurs must be under 30 years old with revenue-generating businesses. Learn more and apply here by September 6.

> Trilinc Global Impact Fund is hiring an Emerging Markets Credit Manager and Associate at their headquarters in California. TriLinc has made over US$350m in financing commitments for business expansion and socioeconomic development through its holdings in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.



> Crunchbase News says LatAm “seems ripe for investment” in As The Tech Boom Continues, VCs Increasingly Look To Latin America For Returns. The story points to cross-border US/LatAm firms Valor Capital, SV LatAm, Lumia Capital and new player LEAP Partners, and shares LAVCA’s perspective that LatAm is an undercapitalized market relative to the size of its dominant and growing digital audience:

LAVCA believes there’s great potential in Latin America for investors. The fact that just US$500m of venture money went into the region last year is a prime example of its untapped potential.

> Cubo, a co-working space in São Paulo, is quadrupling its size and moving to a new building in Vila Olimpia. Cubo is a joint venture between Itaú and Redpoint eVentures. Itaú also sponsors Sinergia, a co-working center in Montevideo.

> Facebook is opening Estação Hack, a Latin American training center for coders and entrepreneurs in São Paulo.

> A writer in Brazil was raped by her Uber driver. Uber is complying with the investigation and voiced their support for the victim.

> Financial Times: Investors warm to Argentina’s banks amid Macri reforms.



47 — Number of new fintech startups in Colombia in the last 12 months, according to Finnovista’s latest count.

2.3% — Forecasted growth of Colombia’s economy, according to the IMF, and double the 1.1% average for Latin America. The Miami Herald says US investment and tourism are also on the rise.

> 28% — Digital advertising is up 28% in 2016, surpassing US$1b.

> US$5b — VC dollars raised by Southeast Asian tech startups so far in 2017. CBInsights says Chinese investment is on the rise and charts the investment activity of the four Chinese internet giants in the region.



> It’s official: Startups are raising more money from crypto-token offerings, or ICOs, than from venture capital.

> Noah Jessop talks about how ICOs are disrupting VC: “Access and liquidity, afforded by decentralized technologies, is what could be so disruptive to [the venture capital industry].”

> Crypto-currencies took a dip after China’s central bank banned ICOs until they can regulate the offerings. (Bitcoin is still over US$4000).

> The head of Mexico’s Central Bank, Agustin Carstens, rejected classifying bitcoin as ‘virtual currency’, and says it should be regulated under the government’s cybersecurity domain instead.

> Uruguay is on board with cripto. In Uruguay: La Promesa Fintech Oculta en Sudamerica, Sebastián Olivera, President of the Cámara Uruguaya de Fintech, says “Las criptomonedas son una realidad”:

Son un instrumento más dentro de los instrumentos financieros, un medio de pago válido y aceptado(…) todo se resume a la aceptación y respaldo del activo subyacente que las garantiza. El Bitcoin es un cambio de paradigma, ya que no depende de ningún banco central para su regulación, lo que reduce los costos de verificación.

> Costa Rica is getting its first caja automatica for bitcoin.



> New trend alert: Going public without the actual IPO.

  • First, Spotify announced plans to do a direct listing on the NYSE. Direct listings are rare on the major stock exchanges and tend to involve small companies. If approved, this will be the first direct listing on the NYSE.
  • Now, Social Capital, a Silicon Valley VC with investments in Descomplica and Apli, said it plans to help some of its startups also skip the IPO process by creating a shell company called a SPAC that exists solely to merge with a startup. SeriesF says this type of transaction is “not rare outside of the venture world but has little precedent with tech startups.”
  • “We do seed, venture, growth, equity, debt, private, public,” Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya said about the SEC filing. “Once we’ve made a decision to be beside you, we will never go away. We will deploy code, we will deploy people, we will help you every day understand your business better.”


> September 20 is the fifth edition of the Venture Capital in Brazil Forum, hosted by ABVCAP, in Menlo Park. Attendance is free for investors as well as portfolio companies of Brazilian fund managers. Check out the agenda and register here.

> BayBrazil’s annual conference is September 21 at Google in Mountain View. Check out the agenda and register here.

> blastu is hosting a festival on October 17-18 to gather and connect entrepreneurs, start-ups, corporations and investors that are transforming the Brazilian and global market. Get your tickets here.

> 500 Startups is accepting applications from Latin American startups for Batch 8. Entrepreneurs can read more and apply here for the 16-week seed program in Mexico City and US$65k in funding.

> Startup Brasil is accepting applications until September 25. Startups can apply here.

> MassChallenge Mexico accepted 35 startups across a range of sectors into its 2017 cohort.

> Village Capital accepted 12 startups into its first fintech program.

> Congrats to the 18 Latin American startups selected by the IDB and Miami Dade to participate in Demand Solutions Miami 2017 on October 17.


The LatAm Venture Bulletin is a news platform of the Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.

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