LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin December 18, 2019

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

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LAVCA WOMEN investing

This is the final edition of the LatAm Venture Bulletin in 2019. This year marked some incredible milestones and records for LAVCA and the VC/tech industry in the region, including:

✔️ A record number of LAVCA member firms active in the association (~200).
✔️ Record participation at the Venture Investors Annual Meeting in New York with 350+ attendees, including a Tech Growth Coalition and SVB hosted VIP and member cocktail, as well as a VC/Tech Party hosted by Riverwood Capital.
✔️ VC investment in Latin American startups have quadrupled since 2016 to a record US$2b in 2018. READ more here.

We will resume bi-weekly frequency after a brief break over the holidays. Thank you, as always, to our members and partners for your continued interest and support and we look forward to 2020.



> #IPO XP Investimentos held an IPO on the Nasdaq at an opening price valuation of ~US$18b and rose 30% on the first day of trading.

  • Itaú Unibanco acquired a significant stake in XP in 2018. General Atlantic and Brazilian investment firm Dynamo were backers of XP Investimentos since 2012.
  • XP is invested in startups including REBEL and Olivia.

> 🦄 Benchmark Capital led a US$60m investment in Wildlife Studios (formerly TFG), a Brazilian gaming company, at a reported valuation over US$1b, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, as well as angels Javier Olivan and Hugo Barra (Facebook), Ric Elias (Red Ventures), Micky Malta (Ribbit Capital), and Divesh Makan (ICONIQ Capital). Bessemer invested previously in 2012.

    🦄📏 Unicorn Leaderboard update: View LAVCA’s Unicorn Leaderboard for an updated list of known LatAm tech unicorns.

> Brazilian proptech Loft raised a R$216m Fundo de Investimento Imobiliário (FII) fund to finance the purchase of ~1,200 properties over the next two years. The fund was distributed by Credit Suisse Hedging-Griffo (CSHG); Loft says the investor base is a mix of family offices and institutional real estate and credit investors. 

  • Loft recently acquired Decorati, a Brazilian construction company focused on apartment renovation, to expand its capacity to perform simultaneous apartment remodels.
  • Loft raised a US$70m Series B led by Fifth Wall Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from QED Investors, at a reported ~US$370m valuation.
  • READ LAVCA's interview with Co-CEO Mate Pencz.

> Mercado Credito, a unit of Mercado Libre, raised US$125m in debt funding from Goldman Sachs to increase its lending capacity to small and medium businesses in Mexico.

  • Mercado Credito has granted more than US$610m in working-capital credit lines to more than 270,000 companies in LatAm, as well as US$200m in consumer loans, according to Bloomberg.
  • In 2019, Goldman extended credit lines to Mexican fintechs Konfio (US$100m) and Credijusto (US$100m).

> #CVC Brazilian events ticketing platform Ingresse raised a R$90m Series C led by the Endurance family office, with participation from ticketing platform Rival and Grupo Globo and follow-on from e.bricks Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, and Mercado Libre.

  • The round also included participation from the venture debt arm of Galapagos Capital. DGF, Confrapar, and FJ Labs invested previously.

> Valar Ventures led a US$19m extension to Mexican fintech Albo’s Series A, with follow-on from Mountain Nazca Mexico and Flourish Ventures. Albo raised US$7.4m earlier in 2019. Magma Partners, Eric Perez-Grovas of Jaguar Ventures, and Greyhound Capital invested previously. This is Valar’s first disclosed investment in Mexico.

> monashees, Valor Capital, and Canary invested R$38m in Mimic, a Brazilian company pioneering shared/dark kitchens, with participation from angels including David Velez (Nubank) and José Galló (Renner).

> KaszeK Ventures led a US$10m investment in Cora, a Brazilian fintech lending to small and medium businesses, with participation from Ribbit Capital. This is Cora’s first disclosed financing.

>  Confrapar invested R$20m in Zetra/SalaryFits, a Brazilian fintech providing payroll advances.

>  IGNIA Partners, LW Investment Management, and angels made a US$2.5m investment in Fondeadora, a Mexican open banking platform co-founded by Norman Müeller and René Serrano in 2011. IGNIA led a US$1.5m investment earlier in 2019.

> Global Founders Capital made a R$4m investment in Oriba, a Brazilian direct-to-consumer menswear brand. This is the company’s first known institutional capital.

> Brazilian healthtech Ânimo Wellness raised a US$300k pre-seed round from Barrah Investimentos (B1), Indicator Capital, Wharton Angels, Fundação Estudar Alumni Partners, Lupa Capital, and angels including Sergio Furio (Creditas), Guilherme Bonifacio (iFood, Rapiddo), João Machado (B2W, VTEX), and André Jereissati.

  • Ânimo Wellness is founded by Jay Lanners (formerly with Amadeus Capital Partners), Jonathan Korn, and Vinicius Zani.

> Valor Capital led a US$20m Series B in Migo (formerly, a fintech platform offering credit to underbanked clients in emerging markets, to fund expansion to Brazil. Migo was founded in 2013 in Nigeria before relocating to California.

> Redpoint eventures made an undisclosed investment in Nobli, a Brazilian personal credit platform. Nobli is founded by Regio Martins (CEO).

> Mexican residential real estate platform Homie raised an undisclosed round from an unnamed affiliate of Equity International, with follow-on from Angel Ventures Mexico and others.

> #CVC New York-based DOT Capital led an undisclosed Series A investment in Hanzo, a Brazilian customer engagement B2B SaaS platform, with participation from Mastercard. Founder/CEO Federico Pisani Massamormile was formerly chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association.

> DUX Capital made a US$200k seed investment in Baud, a Mexican edtech for children 6-12 years old, and a US$500k investment in EPICA, a Miami-based customer data platform. Mountain Nazca Colombia, The Venture City, and others participated in the EPICA round.

> Bossa Nova Investimentos led a R$800k investment in Glebba, a Brazilian equity crowdfunding platform for real estate investment.

> Bayonet, a Mexican fraud detection startup, raised US$500k from Avalancha Ventures, Soldiers Field Angels and 0BS, as well as Mercadotencia, Ideas y Tecnología, and unnanmed angels.

> Astella Investimentos led an undisclosed investment in Dr. Jones, a Brazilian direct to consumer brand for men’s beauty products, with participation from IgniteXL.

> Atlantia Search, a Mexican market intelligence platform, raised an undisclosed bridge round from Redwood Ventures, Wayra Mexico and GC Capital. Three of the company’s four founders are women.

> #CVC Kriptos, an Ecuadorian data management platform, raised an undisclosed round from SixThirty Cyber and existing investors BuenTrip Ventures, Barclays, Kruger Corporation, and Techstars.

> #CVC Latinia made an undisclosed investment in Mexican fintech Flink.

> #US DILA Capital led a US$10m investment in Incode, a San Francisco-based biometric identity platform with offices in Latin America.

> #US Chilean biopesticide startup Botanical Solutions raised US$2m from an unnamed US-based investor and is relocating operations to the US.

> Angels including Anjos do Brasil, GVAngels, Insead Angels, and MIT Alumni Angels invested R$1.8m in FishTag, a Brazilian fish industry logistics platform.



> Brazilian VC firm Canary held a US$75m close for its second fund.

> #CVC Hypera Pharma announced a CVC fund, Hypera Ventures, with an up to R$200m commitment to fund Brazilian healthtech startups.



> 📗 LAVCA published its fourth annual Latin American Startup Directory of 331 venture-backed startups with at least US$1m in verified VC financing (as of Jan. 1, 2019).

> Crunchbase News: Mexico’s Konfio Raises $100M As Funding In The Country More Than Doubles In 2019 So Far:

Fintech startups in particular have been recipients of venture dollars in Latin America considering the high interest rates and lack of credit access across much of the region.

> iFood is planning to double its supermarket footprint in 2020.

> Rideshare 99 launched 99Food, a food delivery app in Brazil.

> Chilean foodtech NotCo launched its vegan ice cream product, NotIceCream, in Brazil. NotMilk is next. NotCo is also working on NotTuna and a burger.

> Fazenda Futuro co-founder Marcos Leta was named one of GQ’s Men of the Year in the category of sustainability. monashees and Go4it Capital made a US$8.5m Series A investment in the Brazilian foodtech startup making plant-based burgers at a reported US$100m valuation earlier this year.

  • Founders Marcos Leta and Alfredo Strechinsky previously launched the Do Bem beverage brand and sold it to Ambev in 2016.

> Quartz: Nubank is leading the fintech boom in Latin America.

> #M&A Gympass acquired Lisbon-based Flaner and established a tech hub in Lisbon.

> #M&A RockContent, a Brazilian content marketing startup, acquired ScribbleLive to expand its geographic footprint. RockContent is backed by Redpoint eventures, Axon Ventures, and others.

> 🏆 Congrats to Mexican fintech Flexio for winning the Visa Everywhere Initiative at FINNOSUMMIT Miami.




Company: Klar
Investors Include: Quona Capital, Santander Innoventures, aCrew Capital, FJ Labs Western Technology Investment, Arc Labs
Interview With: Stefan Moller (CEO) & Gianluigi Davassi  (CTO)

Klar is a Mexican digital banking startup founded by Stefan Moller (CEO) and Gianluigi Davassi (CTO) with about 30 employees, and an engineering hub in Berlin. Klar recently raised US$7.5m in equity financing, led by Quona Capital, and US$50m in debt financing, provided by Arc Labs.

Origin story

Stefan Moller and Gianluigi Davassi founded Klar in 2019. Davassi (CTO) is an alum of German digital bank N26, which expanded to Brazil earlier this year. Moller (CEO) spent quite a bit of time between Mexico and Germany, with a small retail operation in Mexico (mall kiosks) and a market intelligence publishing business in Germany.

Moller: “This was before I knew about VC so we had to cover our costs with our revenue. I started from scratch and made my mistakes early. Then I worked as a management consultant for Bain where I thought I had to refine my edges, seeing how decisions are made, how high caliber teams operate, and the realities of operating large scale businesses. I think it’s a good mix.”

Building a bank from scratch

Moller: “We are trying to build a bank for 2020 with tech that integrates with the life of the user. Consumers in Mexico use Spotify for Music, Netflix for video, Uber and scooter apps to move around; so why is banking still so complicated? That’s the beauty of tech in emerging markets: It might leapfrog. It’s a buzzy word, but it hits home in Mexico."

“The Klar of Mexico”

"We’re the Klar of Mexico, that is going to be our ambition. Or Klar of the US. Very limited segments of the population have access to affordable rates, and that’s the opportunity we’re after. That’s where the name comes from – transparency and clarity in credit."

"In Mexico, what’s grown the credit balance sheet is not necessarily credit cards; retailers offering installments. What’s tricky is the retailers are making the offering, and you’re kind of tied to it. We’d like to keep that transactionality and be perceived as your bank, but whether you buy it at retailer A or B or C is up to you, and we’ll do the financing of that product."

How does Klar make lending decisions?

"Current credit models on the retail side are almost exclusively based on credit bureau data and rigid risk models. But more than half the population isn’t covered by that data. We’re looking at people with a different lens, using alternative data to make an underwriting decision. One big piece of data that is useful and often overlooked is transactional data. Through an API, users can allow us main bank account access if they have it, and we understand what’s been happening there, and use it with another 50-70 variables, ranging from social to device data and so on, and make a decision regardless of a credit bureau."

"Right now it’s a Y/N for our minimum viable product, but the direction of opportunity is to make it dynamic and tailored, for example if the risk profile is higher we can start at one point, and after a few months we can adjust the rate. There should be a credit product for absolutely everyone in Mexico."



> Uber launched electric scooters in Santos, Brasil.

> Postmates has exited Mexico City, two years after launching its first operation outside the US.

> Variety: Netflix Breaks Down Results by Region, Showing Strong Asia-Pacific, Europe Growth:

In Latin America, streaming revenue increased 71% from the end of Q3 2017 to US$741m at the end of Q3 2019. Membership grew 61% over that timeframe to 29.4 million, representing close to 40% penetration of broadband homes.

> NYTimes: As Brazilian Payment Apps Proliferate, Some Warn of a Shakeout.

> Rede Tear is a new project to map female entrepreneurship in Brazil.

> #IMPACT CityLab: Why We Should Stop Conflating Cities With Innovation and Creativity.

> Axios: Google updates Youtube policy to curb personal attacks.

> NYTimes: Uber Says 3,045 Sexual Assaults Were Reported in U.S. Rides Last Year
The results of Uber’s first safety report are in.

> New Yorker: Is Amazon Unstoppable?


TheVentureCity and Google partnered to bring Google Launchpad Accelerator to Miami. View participating startups.

> MITSolve and the IDB partnered on the Rethink Plastics Challenge to fund projects in LatAm and the Caribbean that are innovating to reduce/replace single-use plastics. Apply by Jan. 14.

> ♀️ Investors from MAYA Capital, Innova Capital, Positive Ventures, Wayra Brasil, Google, and others are offering free mentoring for female entrepreneurs through Female Force LATAM. XX entrepreneurs, sign up here for free mentoring and spread the word. #CHANGETHERATIO



> ♀️ In an effort to raise the visibility of female investors in early-stage technology in Latin America, LAVCA has published an updated list of the Top Women Investing in Latin American Tech, as well as the second annual list of ⭐ Emerging Women Investors in Latin American Tech.

  • ♀️ The 88 investors represented on the Top Women list and the 89 investors represented on the Emerging Women list in 2019 represents a 7% and 89% increase, respectively, over 2018.

> iupana: SoftBank’s Paulo Passoni talks differences in investment strategy between the Vision Fund and LatAm Innovation Fund.



WSJ: A World With a Billion Cameras Watching You Is Just Around the Corner:

New research shows that there will be over 1 billion security cameras in usage by 2021; over half in China. Fast-growing, populous nations such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia would also help drive growth in the sector.

WIRED: Meet the Activists Risking Prison to Film VR in Factory Farms:

Thanks to the mind-boggling scale of factory farms, 70 billion animals now exist as objects for human consumption, including 60 percent of all mammals on Earth.

🌳🔥 NYTimes: ‘The Amazon Is Completely Lawless’: The Rainforest After Bolsonaro’s First Year

Brazil’s space agency reported that in one year, more than 3,700 square miles of the Amazon had been razed…. It was the highest loss in Brazilian rainforest in a decade, and stark evidence of just how badly the Amazon, an important buffer against global warming, has fared in Brazil’s first year under President Jair Bolsonaro.

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