LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin February 20, 2019

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

> KaszeK Ventures led a Series A investment in Agilis, an Argentine consumer lending platform, with participation from QED Investors and an unnamed investor. This is KaszeK’s first deal from Fund 3, and QED's first investment in Argentina. 

  • Agilis previously raised a seed round in 2017.
  • Agilis CEO Marcos Ayestaran: “Hoy, el foco es 100% Argentina.”

> Portland Private Equity led a US$14m investment in Merqueo, a Colombian grocery startup, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst. Mountain Nazca Colombia and Velum Ventures invested previously.

> Sierra Ventures led a US$10m Series A in Yalochat, a Mexican CRM for WhatsApp.

  • Yalochat hired ex-PayPal director of engineering Kyle Passarelli as CTO and plans to expand to South Asia next.

> BTG Pactual invested R$10m across Digesto (legal tech), Finpass (SMB credit) and Agronow (satellite crop monitoring) using a convertible debt instrument. All three startups were accelerated at BTG Pactual’s BoostLab in 2018.

  • Valor: The companies chosen had annual revenues of between R$2m and R$7m in 2018.

> Brazilian iPaaS integration platform LinkApi raised R$5m from Wayra Brasil and Cassis Capital founding partner Jander Martins.

> #AI #CVC EDP Ventures Brasil, the CVC arm of EDP Group, invested R$1.5m in Delfos, an AI platform for predictive maintenance in power plants, with participation from BMG Uptech and Bossa Nova Investmentos. This is EDP Ventures’ inaugural investment.

  • Delfos won the EDP Open Innovation challenge in 2016.
  • Its failure prediction technology is applicable to wind, hydro, and solar power plants.

> Redpoint eventures invested R$1.15m in Ribon, a Brazilian platform that lets users convert ad dollars to donations to non-profits. Ribon is also raising R$1m via crowdfunding to implement blockchain and expand internationally.

> Ideas & Capital made an undisclosed investment in DEPORPRIVÉ, a Mexican flash sales platform for sports merchandise and apparel.

  • DEPORPRIVÉ previously participated in 500 Startups LatAm and received a US$50k convertible note. CEO Ben Roques says it’s the company’s only previous funding since launching in 2016— “all the growth comes from our operation and our negative working capital business model.”

> BR Startups, managed by MSW Capital, will invest up to R$800k in Brazilian edtech VOA Educação.

> #EU General Catalyst and payments unicorn Stripe led a US$40m Series B in Rapyd, a London-based global fintech a global fintech-as-a-service platform based in London, with participation from Target Global, IGNIA and others.



> Endeavor Catalyst has made its 100th investment. The global fund co-invests in Endeavor entrepreneur-led companies under the leadership of Allen Taylor.

> DILA Capital partnered with Dalia Empower to support investment in female entrepreneurs in Mexico.



> Cabify secured US$70m in structured financing from IDB Invest and Blue Like an Orange Sustainable Capital to support responsible expansion within the region. This is IDB Invest’s first deal supporting digital business models that are impacting the urban transport sector:

The financing will allow Cabify to reinforce its activity in favor of its smart cities agenda, reducing mobility costs and improving the lives of citizens. The operation, the first carried out by IDB Invest with a digital urban mobility business model company and structured through innovative financial products, will allow the IDB Group to play an important role in the evolution of the urban mobility sector in Latin America and the Caribbean.

> Oikocredit made a US$3.3m investment in Laudex, a provider of loans to students in higher education in Mexico.

> Kviv Ventures led a R$5m investment in Nutrebem, a platform to monitor children’s nutrition at school. Confrapar and Barn Investmentos invested previously. The company has raised R$15m to date.

> TriLinc Global announced a Regulation D offering of the TriLinc Global Impact Fund II. 

> Mercy Corps digs into the coffee supply chain in Colombia in Why We (and a cohort of entrepreneurs) Invested: Vega Coffee.

  • Vega Coffee was accelerated at Village Capital’s 2018 agriculture program.

> Responsible Investment: Five Crucial Questions for Impact Investors.



TechCrunch features LiftIt and Nowports in Investors are pouring money into Latin America’s logistics and shipping businesses.

> #INSURTECH Pitzi is offering Brazilians mobile phone insurance akin to what they would get in the US.

> CBInsights and The New York Times partnered on a list of 50 future unicorns, including CargoX and QuintoAndar.


Rappi acquired Payit, a Mexican blockchain-based payments platform, for an undisclosed amount.

> #AI Brazil's Neoway acquired Sevennova, an AI platform for digital campaign customization, for US$15m and is planning for an #IPO. Neoway’s investors include monashees, Temasek, Accel Partners, and Endeavor Catalyst.

> Check out LAVCA’s list of 258 Latin American startups with at least US$1m in VC funding, verified by LAVCA. Sort by geo, sector, and stage of investment.



#CVC Global CVC investment grew 35% to almost US$53b in 2018, according to a CBInsights report:

  • 264 new CVCs made their first investment last year. Most active firms are GV (Google Ventures) and Salesforce Ventures.
  • Salesforce Ventures made its inaugural LatAm investment in RunaHR last year. Google Ventures does not have known CVC activity in the region.

> Reuters says Didi Chuxing is expanding to Chile, Peru, and Colombia — a little over a year after launching in Mexico.

> FT: New wave of Chinese tech startups focus on overseas markets.

> Banco Votorantim is strengthening its relationship with fintechs and eyeing a partnership with Neon Pagamentos.

France’s BlaBlaCar is expanding its product offering in Brazil.

  • BlaBlaCar acquired Mexican rideshare Aventones in 2015.

> Netflix is opening offices in Mexico City and currently has about 50 Mexican productions in development.

> Xiaomi is launching 20 retail stores in Mexico this year. Latin American sales head Liu Di tells Forbes México:

México es un gran mercado y los usuarios aquí están familiarizados con los smartphones y tenemos una gran comunidad de fanáticos de aquí. Nuestra línea de productos es atractiva para los usuarios que utilizan teléfonos inteligentes por primera vez, así como para aquellos que están actualizando sus teléfonos inteligentes actuales. México es nuestro punto de entrada a América Latina y enfocaremos nuestro esfuerzo de marketing aquí a medida que nos expandamos en esta región.

The Information maps the rise and fall of Chinese bikeshare unicorn Ofo: “There are bad tech businesses and very bad ones. And then there is Ofo.”

  • Investors include DST Global, Didi Chuxing, and Alibaba.
  • Last year, Ofo announced plans to launch in Mexico.

> #NEWS TechCrunch’s former editor Eric Eldon returned to launch Extra Crunch, a subscription product with deep-dives on leading startups, resources for entrepreneurs, calls with the TechCrunch staff, and more. Try it free.

> Variety: Ampere Analysis estimates that Brazil is now the ninth-biggest OTT subscriber market in the world, with 9.4 million clients in Q4 2018.

> 🌎 #GLOBAL CNN: “Human rights defenders are calling on Apple and Google to remove the Saudi government app Absher from its platforms, saying that it allows Saudi men to track women under their sponsorship.”


> Rio de Janeiro is rolling out facial recognition at this year’s Carnaval festivities. The data will route through the city’s surveillance “Control Room” that was launched in 2011 with IBM.

> The New York Times: Amazon Knows What You Buy. And It’s Building a Big Ad Business From It:

Amazon’s advertising business is worth about $125 billion, more than Nike or IBM, Morgan Stanley estimates.... In addition to knowing what people buy, Amazon also knows where people live, because they provide delivery addresses, and which credit cards they use. It knows how old their children are from their baby registries, and who has a cold, right now, from cough syrup ordered for two-hour delivery.

Amazon brings in over US$2b per quarter in advertising revenue but is still a distant #3 behind Google and Facebook.

> #BRAVE Amazon chief Jeff Bezos published a Medium post about an attempted extortion by the National Inquirer: No thank you, Mr Pecker.



> Reuters: Mexico pushes mobile payments to help unbanked consumers ditch cash:

[The AMLO administration] is planning a digital payments system run and built by the central bank that will allow Mexicans to make and receive payments through their smartphones free of charge. A pilot roll-out for the platform, known as CoDi, is expected by March.

> La Nación: La OIT pidió regular el trabajo en economías de plataforma como Uber o Rappi.


> Google launched its Launchpad Accelerator in Mexico. Startups across Latin America, in any sector, ideally between Seed and Series A funding, are welcome to apply for the three-month program that starts in April in CDMX. Foco: Cloud, AI/ML, Android y temas de negocio, UX y liderazgo. Apply here.

> TheVentureCity launched a five-day bootcamp, powered by Google Developers Launchpad, for startups in Miami. Startups can apply here.

> MetLife Foundation and Visa, with partners Accion and the IFC, are launching Inclusive Fintech 50 to elevate early-stage fintechs addressing financial inclusion. Early-stage fintechs can apply by March 8

> IDB Lab launched Bootcamps for Tech Fans, an open call for proposals to select the most innovative Ready-to-Work Bootcamp models that work with vulnerable populations and technology in Latin America and the Caribbean. Winners will be considered to implement a project of up to US$1.5m in financing. Apply here.

Viva Air partnered with ProColombia and ACI Medellín on an aviation innovation lab.

Redpoint eventures welcomes former Cubo CEO Flavio Pripas as the fund’s first Corporate Venture Officer, and Rodrigo Baer as a new partner.

> NYU Stern is hosting the 2019 Venture Capital and Private Equity Conference in New York on Feb. 22 with discussions on frontier technology, early stage investing, and diversity. Register here.

> NYU Stern, Colombia Business School, and AS/COA are hosting the 2019 Latin America Business Conference on March 1. Speakers include Arminio Fraga (Gavea Investimentos), Juan Jose Echavarria (Central Bank of Colombia), Daniel Vogel (Bitso) and Pierpaolo Barbieri (Uala). Details here.

> LAVCA is hiring! LAVCA is seeking qualified candidates for a Digital Marketing Manager position. The role is to be based out of the organization's New York headquarters. APPLY HERE or



> ALLVP maps the Mexican wallet wave, from PayPal to Rappi, with a look at what’s next.

> General Catalyst partner Hemant Taneja tells HBR the “move fast and break things” era is over:

“Minimum viable products” must be replaced by “minimum virtuous products”—new offerings that test for the effect on stakeholders and build in guards against potential harms.

For VCs, questions are the tool of our trade. If innovation is to survive into the 21st century, we need to change how companies are built by changing the questions we ask of them.

> Andreessen’s Connie Chan talks about multimodal business models in the context of Spotify, podcasts and China:

The U.S. podcasting market is still in its infancy because content creators are using basic monetization techniques, while Chinese podcasters is experimenting with gamification, coupons, and limited-time memberships.



> Colombia Fintech: Bitcoin is moving almost US$2m per week ($6b pesos).

> Gizmodo: Crypto Exchange Says It Can't Repay $190 Million to Clients After Founder Dies With Only Password.

> Fortune’s The Ledger asks if NASDAQ and NYSE are in the same position as the cable industry five years ago:

Back then, TV executives still scoffed at streaming services like Netflix, arguing that no serious person would swap out their cable package for entertainment over the Internet. Today, even they will admit that so-called cord-cutters are upending their business.

> Morning Brew: After deriding bitcoin as a “fraud” back in 2017, Dimon’s JPMorgan will now become the first major US bank to introduce its own cryptocurrency for real-life use, CNBC scooped. The coin—dubbed JPM Coin (because Bananacoin was taken)—will represent $1 in value and begin testing “in a few months".


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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