LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin September 05, 2018

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

> Rappi reached unicorn status with an over US$200m investment led by DST Global, with participation from existing investors including Sequoia Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz.

  • Other investors include Delivery Hero, monashees+, Redpoint eventures, Y Combinator, FundersClub and Foundation Capital.
  • Brazilian fintech Nubank also reached unicorn status when DST Global led a US$150m Series E this year. 
  • 🚩JOIN Rappi Co-Founder & President Sebastian Mejia for a conversation on the battleground for the last mile at LAVCA’s Venture Investors Annual Meeting on Sept. 27 in New York.

> The Blackstone Group and Hudson Structured Capital Management led a US$60m investment in Brazilian trucking platform CargoX.

  • Goldman Sachs led a US$20m Series C in 2017, with participation from Qualcomm Ventures, Soros and existing investors Valor Capital, Agility Logistics, and Uber co-founder Oscar Salazar. Goldman also led the US$10m Series B.
  • Forbes says CargoX is a top 10 player in the third largest trucking market globally.
  • READ The BRIEF’s interview with founder Federico Vegas about CargoX’s “bad ass team.”

> #CRYPTO BlueYard Capital led a US$7m Series A investment in AirTM, a Mexican blockchain-based fintech platform that allows people outside the US to transfer between local banks, crypto-currencies and dollars. IGNIA invested previously

  • BlueYard is a Berlin-based fund with crypto investments in Protocol Labs and Filecoin. This is their first known investment in LatAm.
  • More on AirTM, which recently demoed at Mercado Libre’s pitch event in Mexico City: 

Whether it’s Mexican Pesos, Venezuelan Bolivares or any of the other 100+ national currencies that consistently lose value against the U.S. dollar, the AirTeaM is committed to helping consumers and businesses access stable money that holds its value, money that is as easy to transfer as email, and that can be withdrawn as local currency whenever it’s needed.

> Prosegur Tech Ventures, the CVC of European security firm Grupo Prosegur, led a R$15m investment in Concil, a Brazilian fintech focused on sales management, with participation from DGF Investimentos and SP Ventures, who invested previously.

> Mercado Libre’s MELI Fund, Grupo Supervielle, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and Agrega Partners made a US$3m investment in Argentine fintech Increase, with participation of existing investors including Arfintech and Lucens Capital. 

> Aurus made a US$2.5m investment in Copptech Apparel, a Chilean company producing a proprietary antimicrobial, copper-based material for apparel. 

  • Aurus Partner Victor Aguilera says Copptech Apparel products are US EPA certified to provide a 99.9% effective protection effect as antimicrobial, anti-virus, anti-fungal and anti-odor material.

> Lumia Capital, Rise Capital, FJ Labs and Hummingbird Ventures made a R$17m investment in InstaCarro, a Brazilian auto resale platform.

  • This is Hummingbird’s first known startup investment in Latin America.
  • InstaCarro raised R$40m from existing investors in 2017 to expand to new markets.

> German-based Global Founders Capital made an undisclosed investment in Zen Finance, a Brazilian fintech focused on credit-as-a-service. Philipp Povel, founder and CEO of Dafiti, and Carlos Eduardo Norbert of Petronia Capital also participated in the round. 

> Carao Ventures led a US$800k seed investment in Singularities, an enterprise AI platform for customer behavior insights. Singularities is based in California with a presence in Silicon Valley. CEO Carlos Araya says Singularities applies AI to business solutions in finance, retail and value-chain operations, for clients including BAC-Credomatic and P&G.

> Manutara Ventures made a US$500k investment in Camel Technologies, a Chilean cyber security startup

> Criatec 3, managed by Inseed Investimentos, made a R$6m investment in BluePex, a Brazilian IT security platform.

> Brazilian IT company Accesstage made a R$5m investment in Negocie Online, a Brazilian consumer debt negotiation platform operating primarily on WhatsApp and Messenger. 

  • Accesstage also recently invested in Moneto, a Brazilian payment processing app for business owners.
  • BR Startups recently invested in Wayra-accelerated QueroQuitar, a Brazilian debt negotiation and financial education platform.

> #DRONES 🚁Brazilian drone startup Horus raised R$2m on equity crowdfunding platform Eqseed. SP Ventures invested previously. Embrapa (The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) and Cedro Capital also invested R$5m. 16+ startups have collectively raised over R$10m on Eqseed so far.  

> Dux Capital invested MX$600k in Refly, a platform for reselling airline tickets. 

> Engie Factory made an undisclosed investment in 99Minutos, a last-mile logistics startup in Mexico that is backed by 500 Startups. 

  • Engie is also an investor in Guatemalan solar startup Kingo and four undisclosed Mexican electrical mobility and decentralized energy startups.

> BTG Pactual set up a US$200m joint-venture with Colombia lending startup Portal Finance. Magma Partners made an undisclosed investment in Portal Finance in 2017.



> Capital Invent portfolio company Sensyne Health, a British healthech founded by Manuel Piñuela and Lord Paul Drayson, filed for an IPO on the Alternate Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.



> Peixe Urbano acquired Chilean food delivery company Menú Express for an undisclosed amount.

> Brazil’s edtech company Descomplica acquired PaperX, a startup focused on developing exercises and online evaluations as tests and simulations.

> Nuuvem, a Brazilian digital gaming platform, acquired SplitPlay, a Brazilian game distribution startup that participated in SEED and Startup-Chile.

> Seattle-based Syntonic acquired the assets of the mobile commerce business unit of Zenvia Mobile Servicos Digitais, a Brazilian application-to-person service provider, for US$700k. Zenvia raised R$71m from BNDESPAR and DLM in 2014.



> Harvard Angels, Insper Angels and Anjos Do Brasil made an undisclosed investment in Incentiv, a Brazilian crowdfunding platform for impact-driven projects.

> PRI launched the Impact Investing Market Map to bring more clarity to the process of identifying mainstream impact investing companies and thematic investments for asset owners and fund managers.

> Echoing Green hosts the All Fellows Conference in Medellin, Oct 15-19. Social/impact entrepreneurs are encouraged to register here to join.

> Save the date for the GIIN Investor Forum, October 30-31 in Paris France.

> Save the date for FLII Central America and the Caribbean on November 7-8 in Guatemala.

> Omidyar Network has launched a Building an Impact Investing Team, a guide for families who are beginning to tackle the many strategic questions involved in assembling the right staff and structure to achieve their impact investing goals.



> Margarise Correa of BayBrazil writes about the strength of the Brazilian tech community in Silicon Valley, highlighting founders of Movile, Avadium Medical, OneSkin & others. 

> LIV Capital is moving its CKDs from Mexico’s BMV to Biva, the new stock exchange run by former AMEXCAP CEO Maria Ariza. LIV Capital is an investor in Biva.

> Brazilian accelerator ACE partnered with Google Launchpad to bring ACE entrepreneurs additional resources. In the region, Google Launchpad is also partnered with Corporacion Ventures in Colombia and Banj in Puerto Rico.

> São Paulo co-working Cubo moved to a new, 14-story building in Vila Olimpia with over 1,200 current residents.

> Chile’s Universidad de Atacama will build the world’s highest-altitude scientific laboratory.

> InvestChile was in São Paulo last week to encourage Brazilian investment in Chile.

> New Yorker "Fake news" and Unrest in Nicaragua

> BBC interviews entrepreneurs David Velez (Nubank), Mariana Vasconcelos (Agrosmart), Tallis Gomes (Easy, Singu), Thomaz Srougi (Dr. Consulta) and Fernando Gadotti (DogHero) in: Creating start-ups against the odds in Brazil.

> Estadão: Como o Brasil desbancou a Argentina na criação de startups.

> Valor looks at Brazilian edtechs in Edtechs avançam com ferramentas para escolas.

> July was a record month for US$100m+ VC deals, according to Crunchbase. Term Sheet explains how mega-rounds are widening the funding gap for startups in China and Silicon Valley.



> Brazilian geo-precision startup In Loco is raising US$20-30m, according to Valor, to expand to the US. In Loco sells consumer geo-behavioral data to retailers, big banks and apps, and says they are already profitable, with 170+ employees. Naspers invested US$5m in 2017.

> Telefonica Open Future in Guatemala is accelerating 12 startups: 

Pulpey, Qüilo, Black Box Solutions, Kitsord, Línea de ayuda psicológica, Wuupa, Expedition, Vámole, Check Auto, Págalo, Shut Off, and impact startup 1Bot.

> Check out LAVCA’s list of 256 Latin American startups with at least US$1m in VC funding, verified by LAVCA. Sort by geo, sector, and stage of investment. 



> Brazil’s Central Bank is asking payments companies to update their plans to deal with cyberattacks, according to Iupana. Brazil and Chile have recently dealt with banking cyberattacks.



> Join us for the LAVCA Venture Investors Annual Meeting in New York on September 27, followed by an after-party hosted by Riverwood Capital.

> Access the AGENDA, including speakers from:

Adobe Capital, ALLVP, B Capital Group, Bitso, DCM, DemocracyOS, Digital Currency Group, Elevar Equity, Globant, Google, HarbourVest, KaszeK Ventures, KIO Networks, Lerer Hippeau, Levita Magnetics, MIF/FOMIN, MIT Technology Review, Monashees+, Movile, NXTP Labs, Postmates, Qualcomm Ventures, Rappi, Ripio, Riverwood Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Telefonica Open Future_, The Ford Foundation, The Rise Fund, UberEats, and more...


> 🚩 LAVCA is seeking nominations of female partners, associates, principals, and angels actively investing in Latin American startups for our Top Women Investors list. Know someone who qualifies? FILL OUT this very short form.

> The Venture Capital Forum of the Latin American Digital Congress of Business and Technology 2018 is Sept. 5-6 in Santiago de Chile. Register here.

> Join BID, FOMIN, UTEC, Startup Perú and COFIDE for the Peru Venture Capital Conference on Sept 11 in Lima. Agenda here; register here.

> LAVCA members and network have access to a 20% discount (using code LAVCA20) to Finnosummit Mexico City (Sept 12-13) and Miami (Oct 4-5).

> Dell and Springboard Enterprises are hosting Women Funding Women in Mexico City on Sept 13 and São Paulo on Sept 18. #CHANGETHERATIO

> LAVCA President Cate Ambrose is moderating a discussion on investment opportunities in Latin America with Qualcomm Ventures, Angel Ventures Mexico, Innova Capital Fund, and Clip at the IFC 4th Annual Emerging Markets Venture Forum on October 4th. 

> Nokia Open Innovation Challenge is offering mentorship and financial support for Brazilian IoT startups. Apply by Sept 6.

> Vedacit, a Brazilian construction products company is seeking five construction tech startups to recieve R$100k for a new acceleration program.

> SAVE THE DATE for Scotiabank’s first LatAm Ecommerce and Technology Forum on November 6 in Mexico City to connect its investment clients with leading FOs, VCs and startups in Mexico and across the region. Email Marcela Villarreal ( to request an invitation. 

> SAVE THE DATE for WeXchange, a forum to connect high-growth entrepreneurs with mentors and investors, November 6-7 in Lima, Peru.

> Rodrigo Baer was promoted to Partner at Redpoint eventures.  



🎤 LAVCA sat down with Ben & Frank co-founder & co-CEO Mariana Castillo in Mexico City to hear how she is building an accessibly priced direct-to-consumer eyewear brand. 

(Co-founders Maria Jose, Mariana Castillo, Eduardo Paulsen)
(Co-founders Maria Jose, Mariana Castillo, Eduardo Paulsen)

Mariana Castillo is one of three co-founders, and serves as co-CEO with co-founder Eduardo Paulsen. Castillo says she tried to buy new glasses when she was getting her MBA in Chicago, and found she could do it affordably, and online. Why not in Mexico? Could they build a brand that would appeal to Mexicans at an affordable price point and high bar for quality?

Castillo says initial challenges included the obvious: People want to try on glasses before they buy them. They piloted a home try-on program in the Distrito Federal, and then nationally.  Another challenge: Not everyone knows their complete eye prescription. So Ben & Frank launched a network of eye doctors to provide low-cost exams for clients, and picks up the cost. 

The company recently launched a partnership with Opternative aimed at solving both problems; Opternative allows Ben & Frank clients to conduct their own digital eye exam from their device at home. “Know what you’re good at,” Castillo says.

Ben & Frank is making an effort to bridge the payment gap in Mexico, and Castillo says about 20% of online sales are paid through alternative/offline channels, including bank deposits and cash payments at convenience stores. 

Ben & Frank has physical stores in Monterrey and Guadalajara, and ships its product nationally with plans to expand within Latin America and to Spain in the coming year. The company has 90 full-time employees in Mexico, and has achieved gender parity among its workforce. Castillo sites the company’s good maternity/paternity policy.

Ben & Frank raised an undisclosed round of capital from DILA Capital and Jaguar Ventures in 2018, with the participation of previous angel investors.


> Bossa Nova Investimentos launched a global securitized token, BR11, focused on Latin American businesses. Founding Partner Pierre Schurmann says that, if successful, it will be a “game changer” for Brazilian and LatAm startups. Details:

  • BR11 is an offshore fund that will raise US$11-20m to make seed investments in 11 companies from Bossa Nova’s portfolio.
  • Unlike typical offshore VC funds, BR11 will issue a digital security token, based on the ERC20 protocol, to allow any global qualified investor to acquire the token with a minimum US$5m investment. (Brazilian & Chinese investors are excluded due to regulatory issues). 
  • The BR11 token will trade on the Open Finance platform after a six-month lockup period.

> CryptoMKT, a Chilean cryptocurrency exchange for Ether, Bitcoin and Stellar, is expanding to Mexico. Magma Partners and ConsenSys Ventures made a US$600k investment this year.



> The Economist says Alibaba and Tencent have become China’s most formidable investors.

> The New York Times says Artificial Intelligence Is Now a Pentagon Priority. Will Silicon Valley Help?

> Microsoft will now require all of its US-based suppliers and vendors with over 50 employees to offer paid parental leave benefits


The LatAm Venture Bulletin is the VC/tech newsletter and content platform of the Latin American Private Capital Association.

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