LatAm Venture Bulletin
LatAm Venture Bulletin February 24, 2021

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

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📢 Deals: New US$30m+ Rounds for Descomplica, VALOREO, Alice, and Mundi

📢 Exits: Cometa partially exits iVoy for a 15.2x return

📢 Funds: First close for DILA Capital’s DILA IV (US$35m), IDB Lab invests in Salkantay’s Exponential Fund

📢 Payments: Mercado Pago and Apple double down on LatAm expansion

Interview with Descomplica CEO Marco Fisbhen

📢 Investor perspectives: Gema Sacristán of IDB Invest, Livia Brando of Wayra Brasil, Luciana Antonini Ribeiro of EB Capital, and Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley Investment Management




Stemming from the first six editions of the LAVCA Deal Book and ESG Cases, it is now more important than ever to highlight how fund managers are partnering with their portfolio to support company growth and sustainability during and post-pandemic. In today’s world, with things changing rapidly for companies across all sectors, LAVCA is collaborating with members to showcase examples of responsible investment from the private capital community throughout the year.

The latest deal case features Canary's investment in Brazil-based education services/ edtech startup Alicerce Educação.

Alicerce Educação provides after-school education services to children of Brazilian workers through an educational model that works from the ground up with after-school reinforcement and professional coaching.

In September 2019, Canary co-led a R$20m seed round alongside Valor Capital Group, with participation from angel investors Arminio Fraga, David Feffer, Luiz Fernando Figueiredo, Wolff Klabin, and Daniel Goldberg. Before Canary’s initial investment, Alicerce had 40 physical learning centers and needed additional capital to support the company’s rapid national expansion.

"With Canary’s support, Alicerce launched ALIQUEST in early 2020, a proprietary Learning Management System (LMS), to provide online educational services at-scale. Since the launch, Alicerce has increased its student base to more than six thousand in all 27 Brazilian states. In addition, the company also introduced a B2B program through which companies can hire Alicerce to offer educational programs to workers, children of employees, or youth in the local community where the companies operate."

READ the full deal case featuring Canary's investment in Brazil-based edtech startup Alicerce Educação.



#EDTECH Invus Opportunities and SoftBank led a US$84.5m round for Brazilian edtech Descomplica, with participation from Peninsula Participações, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Valor Capital Group, and Amadeus Capital Partners. U2 guitarist The Edge was also an investor. This is the largest known round in a Latin American edtech startup, according to LAVCA Data.

  • Descomplica raised R$54m in 2018 from Invus Opportunities.
  • Descomplica received university accreditation for Faculdade Descomplica, a distance education platform it launched in 2020 for undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  • READ LAVCA’s interview with Marco Fisbhen below.

Angel Ventures, FJ Labs, Upper90, and Presight Capital led a US$50m seed round in VALOREO, a Mexico-based e-commerce holding company specialized in acquiring, operating, and scaling Latin America-focused businesses under the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) business model, with participation from angels David Geisen (Mercado Libre), Ricardo Weder (Jüsto), Florian Hagenbuch and Mate Pencz (Loft), Ralf Wenzel (Serial Entrepreneur & Investor), Tiago Dalvi (olist), and Alfred Chuang (BEA Systems).

  • This is a record seed round for Latin America, according to LAVCA Data.
  • Co-Founder and Co-CEO Alexander Grüll: “We are in the right place at the right time as e-commerce in Latin America is at an inflection point and is still much less widespread when compared to other regions – the internet penetration rate in Mexico is quite high and stood at 60% in 2020, while e-commerce was only at 2%. Currently Latin American e-commerce is the fastest growing market in the world, growing 37% in 2020, and we think there is even more to come. A key issue we are seeing at the moment is a consumer lack of trust in e-commerce and that many consumers [in Mexico] are not aware of the great variety of outstanding local brands that sell innovative products online, perceiving e-commerce to only be a shopping platform for low-price unbranded goods and not an alternative to offline commerce.”

#HEALTHTECH US-based PE fund ThornTree Capital Partners led a R$180m Series B round in Brazilian healthcare provider Alice. Alice was founded by André Florence and Matheus Moraes, alums of Brazilian rideshare 99 (acquired by Didi in 2017), and Guilherme Azevedo (Dr. Consulta).

  • Canary, KaszeK Ventures, and MAYA Capital invested US$16m in 2020.
  • READ LAVCA’s interview with CFO Luiz Octavio Maluf.

> Base10 Partners led a US$7.8m round in Mundi, a Mexican lending platform financing imports/exports for SMEs, with participation from FJ Labs.

> #EDTECH Plataforma A+, a Brazilian edtech for managing in-classroom learning and school enrollment processes, raised R$32m from undisclosed investors.

> #AGTECH Brazil-based PE firm Lanx Capital led a R$13.5m round in Grão Direto, a Brazilian agricultural commodity marketplace that runs on mobile and WhatsApp, with participation from Barn Investimentos, Bayer, and Grupo Rendimento.

> #INSURTECH #CVC Randon Ventures, the CVC arm of Brazilian railroad equipment manufacturer Empresas Randon, invested R$13m in Grupo Delta, a Brazilian marketplace for company fleet insurance.

> Movile led an undisclosed Series A in Moova, an Argentine route optimization software platform for last-mile delivery, with participation from Alaya Capital, FJ Labs, Matterscale Ventures, Kalei Ventures, Mittal, and Murchinson.

Proeza Ventures led a ~US$6m Series A in BusUp, a Spain-based fleet and logistics management system with operations in Peru and Brazil, with participation from Autotech Ventures.

> US-based VC fund Storm Ventures led a US$2m round in InEvent, a Brazilian management software platform for virtual corporate event planning for US and Brazilian companies.

  • InEvent’s clients include Banco Santander, Banco Itaú, XP Investimentos, KPMG, Amazon, Facebook, and Embraer.

Astella Investimentos invested R$8m in bornlogic, a Brazilian omnichannel marketing software platform for SMEs.

> Alaya Capital Partners led a US$1.2m seed round in Backstartup, a Colombian accounting, invoicing, and legal management platform for SMEs, with participation from Life is Too Short Capital, LabCap, and 0B.

#EDTECH DOMO Invest invested R$3.5m in Digital Innovation One (DIO), a Brazilian open education platform offering software development courses and connecting students to companies in search of technical talent.

> #GOVTECH KPTL invested R$3m in Facilit Tecnologia, a Brazilian project management platform for local governments.

#HEALTHTECH Mexican VC fund Access Capital led a US$700k round in Diagnostikare, a Mexican B2B telemedicine platform focused on psychological and nutritional care, with participation from Suarco Holding.

#INSURTECH Fuse Capital invested R$2m in W.Dental, a Brazilian dental insurance marketplace.

> G2 Momentum Capital made an undisclosed investment in YoFío, a Mexican lending platform providing microcredit to corner stores.

  • YoFío was part of 500 Startups’ Batch 12 in 2020.

> #HEALTHTECH #ANGEL Anestech, a Brazilian electronic medical record software platform for anesthesiologists, raised R$3m from Romeu Cortes Domingues and Ricardo Mello (DASA), Marcelo Saad (Credit Suisse), and Roberto Botelho (Uberlandia Medical Center).

> #CROWDFUNDING Play2Sell, a Brazilian software platform for training sales teams, raised R$2m through equity crowdfunding platform CapTable. The round included R$300k from Poli Angels.

  • Bossa Nova Investimentos invested R$700k in 2019.

> #FOODTECH #ANGEL GR8 Ventures (formerly Verus Group) invested R$1.1m in Beleaf, a D2C Brazilian manufacturer of plant-based food.

  • Beleaf reached R$7m in revenue in 2020.



Cometa (formerly Variv Capital) partially exited iVoy, a Mexican last-mile delivery platform, through a secondary sale to Northgate Capital.

  • The partial exit yielded a 15.2x return for Cometa, according to the fund.
  • Northgate Capital invested earlier this year.



> DILA Capital recently reached a US$35m first close for DILA IV.

  • Managing Partner Alejandro Diez Barroso shares: “Este nuevo fondo no va a invertir en empresas de los fondos pasados. Nuestra meta es levantar US$75-100m, y estaremos enfocados en SaaS, fintech, D2C, edtech, y Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVB).”
  • DILA’s recent investments include Resuelve tu Deuda, Ben&Frank, Kushki, inCode, and Urbvan.

> IDB Lab made an undisclosed investment in Salkantay’s Exponential Fund, an early-stage vehicle investing in startups within the Pacific Alliance, with a focus on logistics, fintech, healthtech, and the gig economy.

  • This is the first investment from IDB Lab in a Peru-based fund.
  • IDB Lab CIO Tomás Lopes Teixeira: “La inversión de BID Lab responde directamente a un enfoque renovado para la inversión en fondos de capital emprendedor que apuesta por impulsar nuevos fondos en ecosistemas emergentes o nacientes de América Latina, que busca democratizar el acceso a capital inteligente para la nueva generación del talento emprendedor de países como Perú, Colombia, Ecuador y Bolivia.”

> Brazilian angel network Verus Group rebranded as GR8 Ventures.

  • GR8 Ventures will continue operating under a syndicate structure and participate in pre-seed to Series A rounds.
  • Verus Group’s investments include Beleaf, Cuponeria, Omie, Dom Rock, and Auvo.




                                                  Descomplica Founder & CEO Marco Fisbhen 

Brazilian edtech Descomplica recently raised a US$84.5m round led by Invus Opportunities and SoftBank, with participation from Península Participações, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Valor Capital Group, and Amadeus Capital Partners. U2 guitarist The Edge was also an investor. This is the largest known round in a Latin American edtech startups, according to LAVCA Data.

LAVCA interviewed founder and CEO Marco Fisbhen to learn more about the company’s perspective on the evolution of edtech in Brazil, the appetite of local investors for opportunities in the education sector, and the potential of community-driven learning as a key student engagement driver.

LAVCA: When Descomplica was founded in 2011, the company’s cap table was primarily comprised of international investors. What was the main driver in getting local investor interest in subsequent rounds?

Marco: In 2021, no investor wants to deploy capital in a company only focused on printing diplomas or some education platform that doesn’t drive tangible pedagogical outcomes. As the education space has seen more exits and traction, more local investors have become interested in the category.

The reality is that it took some time for LatAm-based VCs and PEs to understand the potential impact and size of the market for digital education. Local investors needed to be convinced that the edtech space could address tangible problems, drive revenue, and have exits, all at the same time.

READ the full interview including how Descomplica thinks about the future of digital education, community-driven learning, and faculty diversity.



> #M&A Cortex, a Brazilian data and analytics platform for marketing and sales, acquired ITB360, a Brazilian B2B data intelligence platform for sales professionals.

> #M&A CyberLabs, a Brazilian computer vision and voice recognition platform backed by Redpoint eventures, merged with PSafe, a Brazilian security company specialized in real-time hacking and crypto mining.

  • CyberLabs President Marco DeMello: “We’ve seen a massive surge in online global commerce that has projected us to a point more than ten years ahead, on the scale of internet usage projected for 2030. We’ve also seen a barrage of bad actors launching a digital pandemic of cyberattacks on consumers and businesses around the clock, instead of only focusing on the peak shopping times during holidays and special occasions. As a result, the old methods of keeping people safe from cybercrime no longer work. The only way to fight against today’s volume and sophistication of attacks is through real time predictive, proactive protection based on AI and aligning on the latest authentication and data-protection technologies, which is what we’ve accomplished with our recent merger.”

> #C19 SoftBank Latin America’s JV with India-based hotel unicorn Oyo is the latest victim of the C19 pandemic, according to Reuters. Oyo will wind down its physical presence in the region and manage its existing LatAm hotel partnerships from its HQ in India.

  • SoftBank invested US$75m to launch Oyo’s LatAm operations in October 2020.

> #CROSSBORDER Shopee, one of Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce platforms, with a market capitalization of US$120b, launched its online sales app in Mexico, and plans to expand next to Brazil.

> #FOODTECH With only US$1m in funding, Chilean foodtech The Live Green Co has launched a plant-based burger product, pancake mixes, and now a line of plant-based ice cream products.

  • The ice cream took 90 days to go from ideation to product, and is set to launch in Jumbo, Chile’s largest supermarket chain.

> #FOODTECH Congratulations to Chilean foodtech NotCo for being the first Chilean company to be included in the top ten of Forward Fooding’s FoodTech500 list.

> Adalberto Flores of Mexican fintech Kueski shares his experience navigating the current C19 pandemic and the state of the fintech industry in Mexico: “Although Mexico provided very limited governmental support to the economy, the workforce still proved to be economically resilient. But this came with a cost; Mexico’s death toll became the world’s third-highest, surpassing India’s. And the job informality rate grew in this pandemic, making financial inclusion a bigger issue.”

> Humberto Pertuz of Vozy, an audio-based customer service management platform with operations in Mexico and Colombia, examines the role of audio-based technologies in detecting fraud prevention and enabling voice payments in How voice technologies will revolutionize the fintech industry.

  • Vozy investors include ArkFund, 10X Fund, and Peruvian angel investor networks SC Angeles and Enlaces.

> Check out LAVCA’s 2020 directory of 126 Latin American startups with at least US$1m in VC funding, verified by LAVCA (as of end-2019), our Unicorn Leaderboard, and our Inaugural Survey of Latin American Startups.



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> #C19 Google partnered with IDB to allocate US$8m in financing to Latin American-based SMEs that have been significantly impacted by the C19 crisis.

> Mercado Libre’s Mercado Pago partnered with Axion Energy and Argentine restaurant chain Mostaza on a pilot program to enable Argentine customers to withdraw cash at a number of gas stations and restaurant locations.

> Apple launched Apple Pay in Mexico, its second market in Latin America after launching in Brazil in 2018.

> As inflation concerns resurface in Argentina, Miguel Blanco of Argentine Foro de Convergencia Empresarial reviews the history of high inflation in the Argentine economy and responds to critics suggesting the responsibility of price hikes relies solely on the private sector.

  • "Por eso levantamos la voz. Por eso repetimos: los empresarios no queremos inflación. Los empresarios no generamos inflación.”

> #C19 MIT Technology Review reviews the global risks posed by vaccination inequality in developing countries such as Colombia in Why a failure to vaccinate the world will put us all at risk.

  • “At the current rate of transmission, probably 50% of Colombia will be infected by the time mass vaccinations start. The worry is that it will be too little, too late, and the epidemic is running its course.”


> #CHANGETHERATIO Gema Sacristán of IDB Invest shares her views on the importance of elevating women’s role in STEM in Más referentes femeninos y menos Matildas.

  • Sacristán: “Solo con devolver a las científicas a los libros de texto, ya estaríamos sorteando un factor que desincentiva el interés de las niñas por la Ciencia: la ausencia de referencias femeninas que les sirvan de inspiración.”

> Livia Brando of Wayra Brasil shares how they navigated the C19 pandemic in Como 2020 se tornou o melhor ano da história da Wayra no Brasil.

> Luciana Antonini Ribeiro of EB Capital shares her view on the long-term consequences of the current C19 pandemic on the younger Brazilian generations considering the challenging employment, environmental, and economic scenarios.

 Manutara Ventures partnered with Deloitte to launch an equity financing and consulting platform as an alternative for Latin American companies considering structuring a CVC fund.

> #C19 Ruchir Sharma, chief global strategist for Morgan Stanley Investment Management, argues that emerging economies are better equipped to rebound from the pandemic:

  • As rich countries debate how to “go big” on stimulus during the pandemic, emerging nations are having a different conversation. It’s about how hard to push reform — and they are likely to come out better for it.

> #GPEC Registration is now open for the 22nd annual Global Private Equity Conference (GPEC) on 17-20 May 2021. Join IFC and EMPEA for the world’s largest convening of private investors in a highly interactive virtual gathering to learn the latest industry trends and connect with its prominent voices. Featured sessions include:

  • Keynote fireside chat featuring Bill Ford of General Atlantic on Backing Global Entrepreneurs with Ricardo Weder of Jüsto and Byju Raveendran of Indian edtech Byju’s.
  • Understanding the China Opportunity Today, featuring Suyi Kim of CPP Investments, JP Gan of INCE Capital, and Rebecca Xu of Asia Alternatives.
  • LP-only sessions from Hamilton Lane and Stepstone.
  • REGISTER here.

> IDB Lab launched a call for proposals for VC fund managers with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean seeking equity financing. Investment management firms with proven experience and presence in the region are welcome to submit a proposal.

> Iporanga Ventures is looking for an Operations Manager to expand its team. Candidates can apply here.

 IGNIA Partners is looking for an Investor Relations intern to join its team. Students and recent graduates are welcome to apply

> DOMO Invest is looking for a Marketing Intern. Interested candidates are welcome to apply.

> #CHANGETHERATIO PECAP, InclusivX, and INCA Ventures are hosting The Diversity Dividend, a discussion about the benefits of an inclusion-based approach to VC in LatAm, on March 25. Log in to your LAVCA account for a discount code.

> #SAVETHEDATE ColCapital will host the IV Pacific Alliance Private Equity and Venture Capital Summit on April 13, 14, and 15. More information here.

> #SAVETHEDATE AMEXCAP will host Cumbre de Capital Privado 2021 on April 27 and 28. Details here.

 Ivonne Cuello of LAVCA will join a discussion on global solutions to global problems with a focus on climate action, collaboration, and social equality in Latin America at Reuters' Responsible Business 2021 on June 1-3. Register here to attend.

The LatAm Venture Bulletin is the VC/tech newsletter and content platform of
The Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America.

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