LatAm Venture Bulletin January 25, 2017

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

> Didi Chuxing led an investment of over US$100m in 99 (formerly 99 Taxis), with participation from Riverwood Capital. This is the second-largest round of venture investment for a Latin American startup, according to LAVCA data, after Netshoes’ US$170m round in 2014. Prior investors in 99 include monashees+, Qualcomm Ventures, and Tiger Global.

Didi CEO Cheng Wei says, “China and Brazil are the world’s foremost emerging markets with enormous opportunities for our rideshare industry.” Didi has also invested in Lyft in the US, Ola in India, and Grab in Southeast Asia, creating an “Anti-Uber Alliance,” although Didi also bought Uber’s China business last year—so it’s complicated. More details on the deal via Valor Econômico and TechCrunch.


> monashees+ invested R$1m in Cambly, an English learning app based in San Francisco with a presence in 190 countries, including Brazil. Cambly previously raised seed financing from 500 Startups, Sherpa Capital, and others.

> ALLVP led a US$6m investment in Alkanza, a robo-advisory platform in California, with participation Grupo Sura/Veronorte, as well as an unnamed UK-based asset manager. This is Alkanza’s first venture investment after raising seed funding previously.

Tsing Capital led a US$12m Series A in smart luggage startup, Bluesmart. The round included participation from monashees+, Endeavor Catalyst, and XG Ventures. Read LAVCA's interview with Bluesmart CEO and Co-Founder Diego Saez Gil here

Accion Venture Lab led a US$1m investment in, a Chilean financial inclusion platform, with participation from Mountain Nazca, which invested US$250k, and several Chilean angel investors.

Wayra Brasil and Acelera Partners invested US$250k in Widow Games, an Argentine videogame maker, to expand into Brazil. NXTP Labs invested previously. Widow also announced a new partnership with Vivo and Estrela in Brazil.

Axon Partners Group made an undisclosed investment in Renueva Tu Clóset, a clothing resale marketplace headquartered in Argentina, with operations in Colombia and Chile, and Simpati Mobile, a Mexican Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). This is Simpati Mobile’s first venture investment.

Rise Capital led a US$5m Series A in B2B e-commerce platform OFI, with participation from Velum Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, Tinello Capital, and Alpha4 Ventures. Velum Ventures invested previously.

Kibo Ventures and PeopleFund led a US$5m Series A in Miami-based iguama, an e-commerce startup making US retail brands available to Latin American buyers.

China-based Huiyin Blockchain Venture led a US$1.9m Series A in Ripio (formerly BitPagos), with participation from existing investors Digital Currency Group, Boost VC, and Draper VC.

IGNIA Capital made an undisclosed investment in Abra, a blockchain-enabled mobile payments startup based in California. IGNIA also announced recent investments in Underdog Media and fintech platforms Sr.Pago and Pangea.

Kick Ventures made an undisclosed investment in Unimove, a Brazilian mobile fidelity app.

> The MIF approved an investment of US$5m in the EcoEnterprises Biodiversity Fund, which has a target of US$80m. The MIF’s goal is to support the Nagoya Protocol, a key element to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, with a goal of providing growth financing for up to 18 sustainable and biodiversity-focused companies.

NXTP Labs and Consultatio Asset Management are raising a new fund with a US$100m target.

Félix Cárdenas del Castillo and Gustavo Huerta Vargas launched InnovaCamp Ventures, a MX$125m seed fund for innovative businesses in Mexico’s food sector.

> Ideiasnet is selling its stake in Tectotal Tecnologia sem Complicações to the Central de Funcionamento Tecnologia e Participações (CDF).

> Ideiasnet is also selling its controlling stake in Officer for a symbolic R$2.

Telefónica Open Future_ announces they have realized EUR€40m in returns, or 25% of the EUR€166m invested in over 1,500 startups globally, since 2011 through Wayra, Telefonica Ventures, and six Amerigo funds.


> Getronics is merging with Intelligo to form a one-stop-shop for enterprise IT solutions in Latin America, after being acquired by private equity firm Southern Cross last year. Southern Cross is eyeing complementary acquisition targets.

> BBVA Bancomer acquired OpenPay, a Mexican payment platform, for an undisclosed amount.

> Wunderman, a subsidiary of WPP, bought a majority stake in Brazilian digital marcom firm Pmweb.

> The Latin American subsidiary of Ebix acquired Rio de Janeiro-based WDEV to expand its insurance related software services in Brazil.

> Cade, the Brazilian Administrative Council of Economic Defense, approved the acquisition of 30% of Band Rio’s TV Minuto by H.I.G. Capital’s Eletromidia.

> Japanese e-commerce company Transcosmos acquired a R$40m stake in Infracommerce, its first Brazilian e-commerce investment. Prior Infracommerce investors include Grupo RBS’ investment arm e.Bricks,and Flybridge Capital Partners in Boston.

> CBInsights has a list of M&A transactions by large media companies in 2016: “Media companies are now planting their flag in emerging tech areas such as VR/AR and diversifying into adjacent areas such as information and software.” Also, Salesforce is buying AI. And non-tech acquirers are now more common than tech companies in deals for US$1b+ startups.



> 500 Startups has opened the seventh batch of its seed program in Mexico City. Participating startups will receive US$50k in cash and US$15k in services. Entrepreneurs can apply by January 29.

> Y Combinator is looking for startups innovating around water: “We’re close to a tipping point where technology will let us make clean water extremely abundant and cheap. We’d love to help founders working on this problem get there faster.” Rolling applications; apply here.

> Tickets sold out for the Global Corporate Venturing & Innovation Summit taking place this week in Sonoma, CA.

> New Ventures is hosting the annual Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto (FLII), Feb. 14-16 in Mérida, Mexico. LAVCA Members can contact about a discount on tickets.

> Finnovista is gearing up for FINNOSUMMIT in Bogotá, Colombia on March 14. LAVCA Members can contact about a discount on tickets.

The international competition Telefónica Open Future_’s Global Race, is currently in the rating phase (startups with the highest votes are currently under assessment by the main international experts of the Open Future_ Network).

Diego Graglia, Silicon Valley correspondent for Univision Noticias (and former Expansion editor in chief) and Fernando Franco, Director of LatinSF, launched Desde Silicon Valley, a podcast telling the story of Latinos in Silicon Valley. Subscribe here and check out Season One.

Bossa Nova Investimentos is opening a Miami office.



Uber is spending R$200m on a client service center in Brazil that will have a staff of 2,000 people attending to a client base of more than 50,000 Brazilian riders.

> WeWork hired Pato Fuks to expand into South America. WeWork Buenos Aires opens in May; they are also scouting locations in Lima and Bogotá. WeWork already has three locations in Mexico.

> TechCrunch covers Ripio’s Series A. Ripio CEO Sebastian Serrano explains the name change from BitPagos: “I grew up in Choele Choel, Rio Negro in the Patagonia region. Most roads there are made of Ripio. Ripio is used in the country to open roads, and we are opening roads for financial inclusion.”

> The Miami Herald interviews YellowPepper CEO and co-founder Serge Elkiner on traction with millennials in Colombia and expansion into Peru and the Dominican Republic.

>  Kichink co-founder Claudia de Heredia tells Americas Quarterly about her experience as a female entrepreneur in Mexico: “You are very pretty and seem very smart, but I want to talk to the man who makes the decisions.”

> Bitcoin News interviews Bitso co-founder Daniel Vogel on the bitcoin explosion in Mexico.

> Some Peso Traders Want Mexico to Buy Twitter and Shut It Down. BRILLIANT

> Chupadados, “an entity that took over our technological devices” to suck up personal data, is a collaborative project to show Latin Americans how everyday technologies can collect and process personal data, and how users can protect themselves. Project founder Joana Varon says high crime in Latin America adds a particular challenge to the defense of digital rights.

> El Empresario looks at venture data from LAVCA, KPMG, and CBInsights in México lidera inversiones de venture capital en AL.

> Bloomberg looks at the falling price of solar power in emerging markets, including Chile, Mexico, and Brazil.

> FastCo’s Eveline Chao looks at how WeChat’s money-as-a-message service has made China the largest mobile payments market on the planet. MUST READ

> It should get easier for international entrepreneurs to move to the US under a new rule that allows entrepreneurs with US$250k+ in US investment to apply for 2.5 years of residency. Geekwire has the details.

> Fans of Dan Primack (former Term Sheet editor) should check out Axios, his new publication, by subscribing here.



FundersClub released unrealized returns for their investments from 2012-2014, following similar disclosures from Andreessen Horowitz and AngelList last year. Great move for transparency.

Antonio Osio at Capital Invent says 2017 is going to be a complicated year for Mexico in terms of Trump, corruption, pollution, and gas pricesand provides examples of opportunistic entrepreneurs who are up to the challenge.

Fernando Lelo Larrea at ALLVP talks about the Fondeadora/Kickstarter deal as an example of how Mexican startups can bootstrap into global partnership deals. Related: Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures backed two crowdfunding projects in Mexico.

Benedict Evans at Andreessen Horowitz released his Mobile is eating the world presentation for 2016:

"As we pass 2.5bn smartphones on earth and head towards 5bn, and mobile moves from creation to deployment, the questions change. What's the state of the smartphone, machine learning and 'GAFA', and what can we build as we stand on the shoulders of giants?"             


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