LatAm Venture Bulletin
LatAm Venture Bulletin April 1, 2020

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LatAm Venture Bulletin
 

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DEALS

> #DEBT Credijusto raised US$100m in debt financing from Credit Suisse Group. Credijusto separately raised US$100m in debt from Goldman Sachs in 2019.

  • Co-CEO David Portiz says this is an important milestone. “It comes just one year after Goldman Sachs made their first investment and further expands and diversifies our capital base in this highly uncertain and volatile economic environment. The additional funding will further unlock important opportunities and enable us to increase lending to Mexican businesses.”

> #HEALTHTECH Brazilian consumer orthodontics startup SouSmile raised a US$10m Series A from Global Founders Capital, KaszeK Ventures, and Canary. SouSmile raised R$20m in 2019.

> DILA Capital led an undisclosed Series A in payments platform Kushki, with participation from KaszeK Ventures, Magma Partners, Clocktower Ventures, and Conexo.

  • Kushki is New York-based with offices in Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.

> #M&A MercadoLibre acquired Lagash, a digital products developer with operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay.

  • Lagash’s 250+ developers will join Mercado-Libre’s 3,400 technology professionals to handle growing IT development needs as it continues to grow its footprint in the e-commerce space and expand into other areas such as fintech and logistics.

> Argentine car marketplace Karvi raised US$3m from Pelham Capital and others.

> #HEALTHTECH Brazilian healthtech VivaBem raised US$2.5m from Webrock Ventures and Doktor.se, a Swedish telemedicine provider, to expand digital primary care services in Brazil.

> Capital Invent led a MXN$27.6m round in Dev.f, a Mexican edtech for programmers.

> #US #HEALTHTECH Boston-based Bloomer Tech raised a US$3m seed round from Material Impact and others. Bloomer Tech is developing a bra-like ECG device to monitor women’s cardiovascular health. 

  • Co-Founder Alicia Chong is from Costa Rica and a WeXchange alum, where she met one of her angel investors in 2017. Alicia Chong on the importance of funding tech for women’s cardiovascular health:

  • "There has been over 20 years of evidence-based research that shows that women and men’s physiological systems are different, and a movement to raise awareness about heart disease in women, which currently affects 44M women in the US and 1 in 3 worldwide. It's extremely important because we need more solutions in these underserved fields for populations that haven't traditionally been included in clinical research. Women were included in clinical trials until 1993. Funding an underserved field can open the doors to many others too, we look forward to seeing that happen."

> VC investment in Latin American startups has quadrupled since 2016 to a record US$2b in 2018, according to LAVCA data. Access LAVCA’s Annual Review of Tech Investment in Latin America for the details.

 

FUNDS

> Brazilian VC Canary launched a new program, JetPack, to encourage first-time founders graduating abroad to launch their business in Brazil. More info here.
Canary Partner Izabel Gallera shares: 


    "We want to encourage students graduating abroad to come back to Brazil and solve meaningful problems here. There is opportunity to drive efficiency in a variety of sectors that are fragmented or under-utilizing tech in their operations.”
 

COVID-19 RESPONSES


// Healthtech 👨‍⚕️👩‍⚕️:

> Brazilian telemedicine platform Conexa Saude, backed by ebricks Ventures, is accelerating its hiring plan to accommodate for the sudden increase in usage, and is opening a new round. Founded in 2017, Conexa provides white label telemedicine software to major Brazilian hospitals and also serves enterprise clients with primary care and a remote workforce of 6,000 doctors. Co-founders Guilherme Weigert and Fernando Domingues share:

  • Conexa has over 1m active patients and 6,000 doctors on the platform. Usage jumped from 20,000 consults per month to 5,000 consults per day in recent days.
  • Brazil has over 500,000 doctors, but they are concentrated in certain geographies. Telemedicine provides opportunity for those with less local access to doctors. A series of regulations since 2002 have opened opportunity for telemedicine innovation and even communicating with patients on WhatsApp.
  • Conexa plans to double or triple its team in the coming months.

> Mexican diagnostics healthtech Unima is working on a COVID-19 screening test. Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Laura Mendonza says, “It will be a fast and low cost diagnostic (< US$5) to be applied by health professionals (nurses, community health workers, etc.). We are currently in the validation phase with patients so we can be able to launch in a few weeks.”

> Brazilian clinical lab startup Labi is offering free coronavirus exams for patients over 80.

> Caspr Biotech in Argentina is working on a COVID-19 rapid testing kit. Caspr Biotech is backed by IndieBio and Grid Exponential.


// Delivery/Logistics/Rideshare 🚗🚚:

> Cornershop is facing increasing demand as its majority sale to Uber is pending. Cornershop CEO Oskar Hjertonsson shares:

"Instead of focusing on building a better company, we spend a lot of our time deciding which parts of our plan to cut or delay because of the regulatory uncertainty we find ourselves in. As a result, we’re not hiring all the people we should be hiring, and we can’t work with Uber to help us increase capacity at a time when people need grocery delivery more than ever."

> iFood launched a R$50m restaurant assistance fund.

> Brazilian logistics platform CargoX set aside R$30m to fund truck transport of essential goods.

> Rideshare 99 is offering R$4m in free rides to Brazilian municipal governments.

> Rappi is delivering free meals to hospital staff where it has operations in LatAm.


// Edtech 📚:

> Mexican edtech Kinedu is providing free global access to its app content.

> Chilean edtech Lab4U is also helping support education with free access to their mobile lab.

> Brazilian edtech SambaTech is volunteering their platform for local governments to livestream their classes to public school students.


// Other:

> VC investors and tech stakeholders across Latin America have united with a common message to raise awareness about the spread of COVID-19: "Each of us has a big responsibility, and together we can make a big difference to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for our families, communities, and societies." #LatAmJuntos #LatAmTech

> Brazilian govtech Colab.re partnered with Epitrack to launch BrasilSemCorona, a crowdsourcing project on infection data.

  • Colab is a citizen-to-government engagement platform backed by Flourish Ventures, A5, and others.

> Mediação Online, a B2B legal dispute mediation service, is offering free webinars about the legal implications of coronavirus for Brazilian consumers and businesses.

> Stone is expanding its microcredit offering to small retailers.

> Chilean workplace safety startup Zyght developed a dashboard for businesses to maintain OSHA compliance with changing coronavirus regulations.

> Colombian event tech platform Rebus quickly pivoted to digital events products.

> FitCo is helping its gym clients in LatAm go digital for class offerings.

>>STARTUPS: How are you responding to the coronavirus epidemic? Email LAVCA (jruvolo@lavca.org).

> Check out LAVCA’s directory of 331 Latin American startups with at least US$1m in VC funding, verified by LAVCA (as of end-2018), our Unicorn Leaderboard, and our Inaugural Survey of Latin American Startups.

 

NEWS

> NYTimes: In World’s Most Vulnerable Countries, the Pandemic Rivals the 2008 Crisis.

> 🌳Gizmodo: Coronavirus has slashed global air pollution.

> Washington Post: A failure of leadership in Latin America: What AMLO and Bolsonaro have in common.

> MIT Tech Review: We’re not going back to normal:

Social distancing and school closures would need to be in force some two-thirds of the time—roughly two months on and one month off—until a vaccine is available, which will take at least 18 months (if it works at all).

> Johns Hopkins has a global dashboard of cases, deaths, and recoveries.

> NYTimes interviews Gabriel Jimenez, the creator of Venezuela’s failed Petro cryptocurrency project.

 

INVESTOR POV

> LAVCA Executive Advisor Susana Garcia-Robles questions the “grow at all costs” model and encourages steady investment.

> Sequoia Capital shares a decision matrix. Reduce Opex and plan for a long lockdown. Also, check out Sequoia’s message to portfolio company founders and CEOs.

> Angel Ventures shares their contingency plan. No new hires.

> Hans Tung of GGV: “We are less likely to invest in brand-new companies until the dust settles. We are focused on helping our existing portfolio weather through this black swan event.”

> A number of global VCs are sharing their current status (Accepting pitches? Making new investments?) in this crowdsourced resource for startups.

>>INVESTORS: How are you responding to the coronavirus epidemic? How are you advising your portfolio companies? Email LAVCA (jruvolo@lavca.org).

 

CEO POV

> Juan Pablo Cappello reflects on lessons learned from the first dot-com bubble at Patagon.com: “If real tough times are upon us, we have to change the way we think… First, we have to stop thinking that Silicon Valley will save us.”

> Chicory CEO Yuni Sameshima: “We could be seeing the start of an e-commerce-dominated world.

> Roofstock CEO Gary Beasley: “I would not be surprised to see this trend not only continue, but potentially accelerate, with e-commerce overtaking traditional retail volumes by 2050.”

> YC alums share advice on managing remote teams.

> Truora CEO Daniel Bilbao responds to the resignation of Homie’s CEO: About harassment in startups.

 
PEOPLE & PROGRAMS

> On April 9, SVB hosts a Zoom with Anderson Thees of Redpoint eventures, Hernan Kazah of KaszeK Ventures, and Joaquim Lima of Riverwood Capital on what the current crisis means for later stage companies. Details here.

> Patrick Hruby is Latin America Tech Growth Coalition member Movile’s new CEO. Hruby previously ran Facebook’s small business platform in Latin America. Movile Co-Founder and CEO Fabricio Bloisi will become Board President.

Maria de los Angeles Romo is the new head of Startup Chile.

> Endeavor Chile welcomes Jooycar, PagoFacil, Migrante, Colektia, and Mejores Condiciones to its new fintech cohort.

> BHP and ChileGlobal Ventures are looking to support projects focused on climate change, including decentralized energy and infrastructure. Apply by April 12.

> Y Combinator is fast-tracking investments in startups tackling COVID-19.

> Investors from MAYA Capital, Canary, Astella, Innova Capital, Positive Ventures, Wayra, Google, 500 Startups, and others are offering free mentoring for female entrepreneurs through Female Force LATAM.

 

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

Have news we should include? Please email news@lavca.org.




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