LatAm Venture Bulletin
LatAm Venture Bulletin September 2, 2020

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

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> LAVCA Week 2020 investor group breakouts have reached capacity and are now closed. Registered participants will receive information about breakout assignments and details in the next 7-10 days.

Fund managers, institutional investors, DFIs, family offices, and others are still able to register for the main stage keynotes and investor networking planned for this year's virtual investor meeting taking place September 14-17, 2020. The deadline to confirm participation is September 8.

Access the agenda-at-a-glance and featured speakers (topics and timing subject to change).



General Atlantic led a US$300m Series C in Neon Pagamentos, with participation from BlackRock, Vulcan Capital, PayPal Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, and BBVA, and follow-on from monashees and Flourish Ventures.

  • Neon Pagamentos raised a R$400m Series B led by General Atlantic and Banco Votorantim in 2019, and a US$22m Series A led by monashees, Quona Capital, and Propel Venture Partners in 2018, setting a record for the largest Series A investment in Brazil at the time.
  • This is PayPal Ventures' first known investment in a Latin American startup; in 2019, PayPal made a US$750m strategic investment in Mercado Libre through a common stock investment.

#PE #M&A L Catterton invested US$150m in a private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction in Argentine travel group Despegar.

  • Investment proceeds will be used to finance opportunistic M&A transactions, according to Despegar CEO Damian Scokin.
  • Despegar also announced the acquisition of an 84% stake in IFC-backed Koin, a Brazilian online payment platform enabling installment payments, for US$20m. Koin raised R$15m from the IFC in 2018. 

> #M&A Brazilian credit card processing firm PagSeguro announced it will acquire the Brazilian operations of German payments processor Wirecard, subject to regulatory approval.

> Insight Partners led a US$118m Series B in MURAL, a US-based visual collaboration software enterprise platform with operations in Argentina, with participation from Tiger Global, Slack Fund, and World Innovation Lab, and follow-on from Gradient Ventures. MURAL is co-founded by Argentine Mariano Suárez-Battan.

  • Radian Capital and Gradient Ventures led a US$23m Series A in MURAL earlier this year.
  • MURAL has tripled its annual recurring revenue and added “over a million monthly active users” in 2020, according to TechCrunch.

> #PROPTECH Pontte, a Brazilian lending platform providing secured loans for real estate developments, raised R$160m from undisclosed investors.

  • An Asian sovereign wealth fund led the investment, according to Valor.
  • Pontte previously raised an undisclosed amount from Maua Capital, the asset manager of Luiz Fernando Figueiredo, a former director of the Brazilian Central Bank.

> #DEBT Swiss impact fund Symbiotics provided US$20m in debt financing to Finsocial, a Colombian consumer lending platform for teachers and pensioners.

  • Finsocial also received access to a US$11m credit facility from Bancoldex earlier this year as part of Atlántico Responde, an initiative from the Colombian government to support SMEs during the C19 crisis. Finsocial raised US$125m in debt financing from Morgan Stanley in 2019. 

> B Capital Group led a US$15m Series B in Yalochat, a Mexican customer service management platform that runs on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with follow-on from Sierra Ventures. Sierra Ventures led a US$10m Series A in Yalochat in 2019.

  • This is B Capital Group’s inaugural investment in Latin America, per LAVCA Research.
  • Yalochat will use the newly raised funds to consolidate its position in Latin America and continue its expansion through India and Southeast Asia.
  • Yalochat on their response to C19: “We asked ourselves how we could help the communities we are part of, and donated our technology to the governments of Mexico and Colombia, so they could handle the spike in demand for healthcare by advising and even providing COVID diagnosing to their citizens in an easier, faster, safer way through WhatsApp.”

> Gradient Ventures led a US$14m Series A in Fondeadora, a Mexican open banking platform, with participation from Fintech Collective, Sound Ventures, and Y Combinator, and follow-on from IGNIA Partners.

  • IGNIA Partners, LW Investment Management, and angels made a US$2.5m investment in Fondeadora in 2019. 

> Felicis Ventures led a US$12m Series A in Origin, a US-based financial advisor platform for company employees co-founded by João de Paula, former founder of Brazilian e-commerce platform Glio.

  • In Latin America, Felicis previously invested in Mexican solar startup BRIGHT and Brazilian edtech startup eduK. 

> #DEBT Accial Capital invested US$10m in debt financing in Aflore, a Colombian lending platform focused on microentrepreneurs and the underbanked.

  • Aflore has recruited more than 250,000 informal advisors to their network in Colombia and has reduced its credit risk by ~30% compared to traditional microfinance institutions, according to Aflore’s CEO Ana Barrera.
  • Barrera on Aflore during the current C19 crisis: “[Our clients] have seen their income reduced and so our collections team has moved from strictly reminding people of doing their payments, to engaging in a more consultative approach to help them understand the impact of the crisis and offer potential solutions.”
  • LAVCA first interviewed Barrera when the company raised its Series A led by Fiinlab in 2017. 

> #PROPTECH NY-based Inspired Capital led a US$10m Series A in Habi, a Colombian proptech employing the iBuyer model for middle-class residential real estate, with participation from 8VC, Clocktower, and Vine Ventures, and follow-on from Homebrew and Zigg Capital.

  • Tiger Global led a US$5.5m seed investment in Habi in 2019.

> Redpoint eventures led a US$5m round in CyberLabs, a Brazilian computer vision and voice recognition technology developer founded by Movile Co-Founder Marcelo Sales.

  • Sales shared during the 2020 BayBrazil Conference: “It’s quite hard to create a machine that can understand any type of Portuguese. You need to train the machine with the entire spectrum of different accents… it's definitely a big challenge for Brazil, and none of the big global tech players have taken it on yet.”

 100 Open Startups, a Brazilian open innovation platform connecting corporates and early stage startups, raised R$10m from DOMO Invest and others.

> Astella Investimentos led a US$1.6m round in Birdie, a Brazilian data analytics and market research platform for consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands.

  • Samsung invested R$200k in Birdie in 2019 as part of its Creative Startups acceleration program.
  • Co-Founder Patricia Osorio shares: “Although [Fortune 1000 companies] already have several tools that capture consumer data, they still struggle with connecting these sources and organizing all that data into aspects and insights relevant to their businesses. C19 has increased their need to capture “the voice” of the consumer in order to understand their needs and expectations in a new context.”

> ABseed invested R$4m in Asksuite, a Brazilian chatbot developer for customer service management for the hospitality industry.

> #GOVTECH US-based VC fund Good Growth Capital led a US$1.2m seed round in Irys, a Mexican platform for civic engagement with local governments, with participation from Arcadis, Techstars Ventures, and City Rise Ventures.

#FOODTECH Chilean VC fund Endurance Investments and NOA Capital invested US$1m in The Live Green Co., a Chilean foodtech developing plant-based alternatives to replace animal-based products.

Canary led a R$1.8m investment in Jestor, a Brazilian inventory and finance management platform for SMEs.

> Angel Ventures and Dadneo’s Vulcano led a US$390k round in Slik, an Argentine employee engagement SaaS platform.

  • Slik participated in 500 Startups LatAm batch 10 in 2019 and received US$60k in funding.
  • Co-Founder and CEO Javier Brignone shares: “The old way of running long [employee] surveys is over. Our research shows that after the fifth question, the quality of the response begins to decline.”

> TM3 Capital invested R$1.5m in Gofind, a Brazilian geolocation platform for product discovery and price comparison, with follow-on from Invisto.

  • Invisto (formerly FIR Capital and Bzplan) invested R$2m in Gofind in 2018. Bzplan and FIR Capital merged operations to create Invisto in July 2020.

> Proeza Ventures, Liil Ventures, and Capital Invent made an undisclosed investment in Parkimóvil, a Mexican payments and monitoring platform for urban transportation systems and parking spaces.

  • CFO Herberto Rodríguez shares: “Touchless technology is definitely the new normal and we will see its proliferation… Mobility in a social sense, should be offered as a common good to support wellbeing.”

> #CVC Randon Ventures, the CVC arm of Brazilian railroad equipment manufacturer Empresas Randon, made an undisclosed investment in, a Brazilian on-demand vehicle assistance service platform for drivers.

> A group of Colombian investors invested US$130k in, a Colombian proptech providing market intelligence to real estate agents.

> #ANGEL and Gavea Angels made an undisclosed investment in, a Brazilian platform for online conferences.

> #CRYPTO Xcapit, an Argentine automated investment platform for cryptocurrencies, raised US$450k from undisclosed investors.

> VC investment in Latin American startups has quadrupled since 2016 to a record US$4.6b in 2019, according to LAVCA data



> #AGTECH SP Ventures reached a US$17.2m first close for its second fund focused on agtech and foodtech in Latin America. The fund targets US$50m and counts Syngenta Ventures and BASF Venture Capital as investors.

> Argentina’s Ministry of Science and Technology launched Hub de Innovación Agtech Córdoba, a US$10m seed investment fund for Argentine startups, in partnership with Agencia Cordoba Innovar y Emprender and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.



> LAVCA welcomes new member Clout Capital, a Miami-based VC fund making Series A investments in Latin American startups with a multi-sector approach.

  • Current portfolio includesComunidadFeliz, Flux QR, Mitto
  • Key contacts: Investment Manager Marcel Medina; Investor Relations Manager Paula Mena (

> LAVCA publishes an annual directory of VC/Tech members, with profiles on 75+ firms active in Latin America.




Caju, a Brazilian employee benefits management platform, recently raised a R$13m round led by Canary and Valor Capital, with participation from Ariel Lambrecht, founder of Yellow and 99.

Caju provides employers with an all-in-one benefits card for employees, with the ability to customize spending limits for pre-approved expenses. The company offers its services free of charge to all employers and monetizes its platform through transaction fees. Co-Founder and CEO Eduardo del Giglio shares:

What has been the biggest barrier for innovation for traditional employee benefit management companies?

The main reason has to do with the way the traditional benefits companies currently generate revenue. Nowadays, they charge very high MDRs (Merchant Discount Rates) from merchants, only possible because they operate in closed loops, which only allow cardholders to transact with specific companies.

How have you seen the relationship between employee retention and employee benefit coverage evolve in Brazil?

Though we are not convinced that one single benefit would be the reason for an employee to switch jobs, we understand that having better benefits is something that helps companies to attract and retain talent. Glassdoor did a survey a few years back where they found that four in five employees prefer better benefits over a pay raise. As an example, no one knew what Gympass was half a decade ago. Today, Gympass is one of the top items in the list of benefits an employee would expect to receive at a medium or big company, at least prior to C19.

Any insights you’d like to share in terms of Caju’s latest traction and plans for the near future?

Caju, which started operating in January 2020, has already more than 400 customers, helping over 15k employees to have control over their benefits every month. We grew revenue over 300% from March to April and have been growing at least 60% since then. Thinking about the future, Caju intends to expand its solutions for people management areas, exploring new possibilities such as private pension and payroll loans as a marketplace.



> #M&A Kavak, a Mexican marketplace for used cars, acquired Checkars, an Argentine marketplace for used cars.

  • Mountain Nazca invested in Kavak in 2016 and exited through a sale to SoftBank and General Atlantic earlier this year.
  • Jaguar Ventures invested in Checkars in 2019.

> #M&A Avenue, a Brazilian investment brokerage bridging US opportunities with Latin American clients, acquired Coin, a Brazilian securities distributor.

  • Avenue currently has 140k customers and intends to reach one million accounts in the next four years, according to Valor.
  • e.Bricks Ventures made an undisclosed investment in Avenue earlier this year.

> #DRONES iFood received approval from the National Civil Aviation Agency in Brazil to lead the first drone-assisted food delivery operation in Latin America.

  • iFood also launched iFood Refeição, a platform that enables startups and corporates to distribute digital meal vouchers for their employees in a work-from-home setting, and announced it will now be accepting Bitcoin for deliveries.

> AlphaCredit launched Bontu, a lending platform providing working capital solutions and payroll advances for SMEs.

> Creditas reached R$1b in its loan portfolio. CEO Sergio Furio shares: “Our plans to triple in size in the next twelve months are more active than ever.”

> Lana, a Spanish fintech enabling gig economy workers to centralize their payment streams into a single account, expanded into Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Argentina.

> 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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> #POLICY Fintech startups who have applied for regulatory approval under Mexico’s Ley del Fintech: You might expect delays. After pausing the review process for C19, CNBV is now undergoing a new restructuring, according to El Economista, and organizing an inter-institutional Committee with representatives from the Treasury, the Central Bank, and the CNBV that will be responsible for the final approval of the entities interested in operating within the Ley Fintech framework. 

> #POLICY CORFO announced it will allow Chilean VC funds to whom it has committed capital to invest in foreign companies.

> #POLICY The Argentine government froze any price increases for cell phone, internet, and TV services until December 31, 2020, as part of the recently issued Decreto de Necesidad y Urgencia.

> Rede Mulher Empreendedora raised R$40m from investors including Google, Santander, Bradesco, and Itaú, to provide personal finance management training to Brazilian women entrepreneurs (R$15m), and safety masks for 5,000+ seamstresses (R$25m).

> Mercado Libre partnered with PayPal to power Mercado Pago’s payment and checkout infrastructure in Brazil and Mexico. PayPal made a US$750m strategic investment in Mercado Libre through a common stock investment in 2019.

  • Join us to hear Osvaldo Gimenez, CEO of Mercado Pago, speak about fintech disrupting traditional banking at LAVCA Week.

> Didi, currently operating in Chile, Brazil, Colombia, México, and Costa Rica, announced it will launch operations in Argentina and Peru.

> Amazon expanded Project Zero, its program to prevent the growth of counterfeit products on its platform, to seven new countries, including Brazil, the only country in Latin America where the initiative is being currently implemented.

> Zoom launched its service for video-free calls in Brazil.

  • The service attempts to compete with traditional phone plans and is currently offered in 25 countries globally, with nine of them located in Latin America.

> Taiwan-based electronics manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron are considering opening a new factory in Mexico, as the US-China trade war prompts firms to reevaluate global supply chains, according to Reuters.



 > Susana Garcia-Robles of LAVCA shared her view on the importance of increasing women’s access to the financial system in a post-C19 world during a panel hosted by Americas Society/Council of the Americas with participation from Marta Lucia Ramirez, Vice President of Colombia, Reina Irene Mejia, CEO, Citi Honduras, and Roberto Simon, Senior Director for Policy, AS/COA.

Flavio Zaclis of Barn Investments interviewed Trocafone CEO Guillermo Freire, and Strider CEO Luiz Tangari.


> Movile Co-Founder Andreas Blazoudakis shares his view on the history of the Brazilian e-commerce ecosystem and current trends.

> Felipe Ibañez of Stars Investment, the Family Office of the Ibañez family, shares his view on the current state of the biotech and fintech landscapes in Chile amidst the C19 crisis.

Dalton Caldwell of Y Combinator shares his view on the current state of the tech ecosystem in Colombia.

  • Seven Colombian startups have graduated from Y Combinator to date: Rappi, Frubana, Laika, Tranqui, Valiu, Tpaga, and Ubits.

> Congratulations to crowdsourcing market intelligence platform LookApp for winning Globant’s Virtual Demo Day.

> Congratulations to the six companies selected to participate in Endeavor Argentina ScaleUp 2020 Batch 2: DOC24, BIOMAKERS, Mecubro, LIA Aerospace, Consorcio Abierto, and Widergy.

> Congratulations to DiagoNow and Tractian for winning MAYA Capital’s 2020 Pitch Competition.

> Brain Requarth, Founder and Chairman of Viva Real, launched a fellowship program for LatAm founders.

> IDB Lab extended the application deadline for its Women STEMpreneurs Competition for Pre-Series A, Series A, and Series B startups to September 9. Founders interested in participating can their apply here.

> Google for Startups will host a panel on diversity and inclusion in the startup ecosystem on September 11. Founders can register here

ProColombia will host the sixth edition of the Colombia Investment Summit on October 7-9. Registration is now open.

> Facebook launched Facebook Accelerator: Connectivity and Facebook Accelerator: Commerce, two 12-week programs aimed at improving availability and affordability of internet access in Latin America. 


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