LatAm Venture Bulletin June 21, 2017

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LatAm Venture Bulletin


LAVCA Startup Directory

Over the last five years, Latin America has produced a new generation of startups backed by the region’s tech investors. Today, more entrepreneurs have access to capital than ever before: VC funding from local and international investors drove venture deals in Latin America to a record high 197 deals in 2016.

Today LAVCA is releasing the 2017 Latin American Startup Directory, identifying 144 tech companies that have received US$1m+ in funding (over 2+ rounds) and are still in operation, as tracked by LAVCA Research.

This list has grown by 44 startups (an impressive 44% jump) since the inaugural list was published just a year ago in April 2016. Of the 144 companies:

  • 6% raised seed funding
  • 51% raised early stage funding
  • 35% raised expansion capital
  • 7% raised growth capital

The 2017 Latin American Startup Directory includes actively funded startups, but not companies that have been acquired or realized an IPO. Click here for a separate list of highlighted companies that have raised US$1m+ via 2+ rounds, and were acquired/listed.

Do you know of a startup that qualifies to be on this list, but isn’t represented? Would you like to update information about a listed company for future editions? Please email Claudia Rosenbloom.


> Astella Investimentos invested R$6m in Bom pra Crédito, a consumer credit marketplace with 1.5 million Brazilian clients. This is Astella’s first investment out of its Journey III fund.

> Mountain Nazca participated in a US$27m Series B in Alta Motors, an electric vehicle design and manufacturing company based in California.

> DGF made an undisclosed investment in Mosyle, a Brazilian edtech startup improving the classroom experience with mobile devices. READ LAVCA's interview with Mosyle's CEO.

> VC firm Primatec acquired a stake in TecSUS, a Brazilian technology-based startup, for R$3.8m.

> Four angel investors including Kick Ventures and Thamila Zaher (SEB Group) invested R$3.5m in Hippo Drs, a Brazilian startup that connects patients to health services.

> Provence Capital made a R$1.2m investment in, a live video platform accelerated through Wayra Brasil, the accelerator of Telefonica Open Future_.

> Aurus Ventures III invirtió capital en Ecosea Farming.



> Mosyle CEO Alcyr Araujo talks with LAVCA about how they self-financed the business until taking funding from DGF Investimentos to expand their edtech solution to the US, and the importance of word of mouth:

"Our investment in acquiring customers was practically zero, with no paid campaigns in Google, Facebook, or Twitter. All customers came through a recommendation from other schools, which has resulted in Mosyle Manager being used in all 50 states in the US and more than 50 countries."

> Mercadoni CEO Pedro Freire talks with LAVCA about why he’s obsessed with saving time for Latin American families (en español):

"En promedio en Latinoamérica una familia gasta 4 horas a la semana comprando productos de alta tasa de recompra. Más y más personas prefieren distribuir su tiempo en las cosas verdaderamente importantes de la vida: tiempo en familia, para los amigos o viajando."

> For more on the last-mile delivery opportunity in Latin America, READ LAVCA interviews with Cornershop CEO Oskar Hjertonsson and with Rappi CEO Simón Borrero.

> Financial Times profiles Agrosmart founder & CEO Mariana Vasconcelos. Agrosmart is monitoring 50k hectares of farmland in nine Brazilian states and is expanding to Kenya.

> Peru’s La Republica interviews TuRuta co-founder Isaac Malca: “Un emprendedor trabaja tanto o más que en cualquier otro empleo.” WATCH LAVCA’s interview with Malca and Co-Founder Jean-Pierre Carrere at Wayra Peru, the accelerator of Telefonica Open Future_.



> The Mercy Corps’ Social Venture Fund and Yunus Social Business invested US$330k in Agruppa, a Wayra-accelerated startup that optimizes the current fruit and vegetable supply chain between farms and mom-and-pop shops in Bogotá, Colombia. READ our interview with Co-Founder & WeXchange winner Carolina Medina Gutiérrez.

> TriLinc Global Impact Fund, an impact investing fund providing growth-stage loans and trade finance to established SMEs/PyMEs in developing economies, approved US$20.4m in term loan and trade finance transactions with companies operating in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

> In Pushing the Boundaries of Impact Investing, the Stanford Social Innovation Review looks at global health product development partnerships (PDPs), a group of nonprofit organizations developing drugs and vaccines as public goods:

PDPs and other public-private partnerships support more than half of the 485 candidates for drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics under development. Yet they receive only about US$450m annually in funding for neglected diseases—less than one-fifth of the total needed.

> In Across the Returns Continuum, the Stanford Social Innovation Review looks at Omidyar Network as a case study into the parallel of investing for financial returns and generating meaningful social impact.



Facebook exec Diego Dzodan, at LAVCA’s 2016 Venture Investors Annual Meeting, on the dominance of LatAm audiences on Facebook:

"Brazil is number three in terms of number of people coming on a monthly basis to the platform (with 108 million monthly visitors) and Mexico is number four (with 68 million).... Generally, it's safe to say that north of 80% of the online population in these markets is on Facebook, and what's really interesting is that most of those connections (95%) are now being done by a mobile phone."

> Google exec Newton Neto (at the same 2016 meeting), on the dominance of Braziilans and Mexicans on YouTube:

"The US is the largest market globally on average time spent on YouTube, followed by Brazil and Mexico."



> Guichê Virtual, a Brazilian online bus ticket sales startup, acquired G&M Soluções for an undisclosed amount.

> Brazilian English language teaching network Cel Lep, a portfolio company of H.I.G. Capital, acquired coding school MadCode



> Cabify and Easy formed a strategic alliance to combine their investor base and expand services in Latin America. READ LAVCA’s analysis of recent LatAm rideshare investments in Cabify and 99.

> Financial Times’ Special Report Mexico: Innovation and Technology says, "Venture capital investors say it has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in Mexico. International funds are increasingly active in the country, while government agencies are also financing start-ups."

> Miami Herald covers The Venture City, a new accelerator for the global tech ecosystem founded by Laura González-Estéfani, former director of international business development and mobile partnerships for Facebook, and Clara Bullrich, a private banking and asset management veteran formerly with Guggenheim Partners.

> OZY looks at the Netshoes IPO in the context of Brazil’s corruption scandal in Brazilian Business Goes Global -- Here Comes the Culture Shock.

> Quartz: Y Combinator will accept 10,000 startups to prove there’s nothing magical about Silicon Valley. And 1,500 startups just competed in Y Combinator’s first online Startup School.

> WSJ says Tencent “has quietly become China’s top corporate investor in Silicon Valley”What Does China’s Tencent Want With Silicon Valley?

> #CVC Orange Digital Ventures, the early stage investment fund of French telco giant Orange, is launching a new €50m Africa-focused investment program for startups. From

The investment division, which will be led by a team in Dakar to be set up in September, is dedicated to verticals like fintech, IoT, energy, and e-health. It will invest in both Africa-based startups and startups that are tackling issues in Africa. According to Orange, one in 10 African inhabitants is an Orange customer.

> RELATED: Quartz has data demonstrating Africa is an under-capitalized market in terms of venture funding.

> TechCrunch: Venture investing in the US and Europe are totally different industries:

The average US venture capital exit is nearly US$200m, versus US$70m for Europe. The number of US$250m exits during this five-year period? 22 across all of Europe, versus 166 in the US. That’s a huge, persistent disparity, especially given the evolution of European venture over the past decade…. The above has nothing to do with ambition, it simply reflects a current reality slowly changing; to make significant returns, CEO’s and investors need to invest less into more capital-efficient businesses that can return enough in a smaller, though successful exit.



> Rick Marini, a serial entrepreneur with three exits, investor in over fifty startups, and LP in a handful of VC funds, shares insights on exits:

"A founder should not start a company because they're looking for a big exit. That's important to understand. They should start a company to fundamentally improve a situation that affects many people. As an investor, I have to determine if the company’s solution actually addresses a big need in the market, and if this is the right team to execute. And if “yes” to both of those, then I expect that the upside in the investment will likely be there."

> Dropbox head of Corporate Development Lan Xuezhao takes quarterly weekend trips to China to stay in the tech loop: The Sharing Economy + AI Assistants in China — my short trip in May, 2017.

> M25 Group: Smaller, Earlier VCs Should Invest Differently

> First Round Capital: The Best Advice We Overheard at First Round's CTO Unconference

> The NVCA held a digital class on how Micro VC’s get off the ground & succeed. Check out the webinar.



> LAVCA ANNUAL INVESTOR MEETING: Once a year, LAVCA convenes early-stage tech investors, along with select entrepreneurs, angels, accelerators, and tech companies, to foster connections across LatAm and internationally. LAVCA’s 2017 Annual Investor Meeting will take place on September 28 in New York at Tribeca 360. 

> Applications are open for Google’s next Campus Exchange program, at Google Campus São Paulo in October. Fintech-focused startups across LatAm can apply by July 18.

> Applications are open for entrepreneurs building solutions for Mexico’s underbanked to apply for Village Capital’s 2017 fintech program.

>, a global accelerator supporting startups in heavily regulated industries, invites startups solving meaningful problems to apply to the 1776 Challenge Cup. Applications are open for teams in Caracas, Cochabamba, DF, Quito, Salvador, and Santiago.

> There is an open call for startups to compete in the AI Startup Battle at PAPIs Connect in São Paulo on June 21-22.

> Helisson Lemos has left MercadoLibre Brazil to join Movile as their new COO.

> Congrats to consumer loan startup Latin Fintech for winning BBVA Open Talent Peru.

> The Universidad de Piura (UDEP)’s co-working space, Hub UDEP, joins Telefonica’s network of global Espacios Crowdworking as part of a new partnership with Telefonica Open Future_.

> Colombian startup Tpaga, a payments platform created by the Tappsi team, was accepted into the next Y Combinator class. Hogaru and were part of the previous class.



> Major shake-up at Uber, the world’s most valuable startup, after former engineer Susan Fowler’s post about her year working at Uber went viral in February. Here are the key points:

> Uber is very light on senior management right now. Who’s out: Travis resigned as CEO due to pressure from his investors. His #2, Chief Business Officer Emil Michael, is out. The head of Asia Pacific is out. Uber has no CEO, CBO, COO, CFO, CMO or SVP of Engineering.

> Who’s in: Francis Frei, a professor at Harvard Business School, is Uber’s new SVP of Leadership and Strategy. And Bozoma Saint John left Apple to serve as Chief Brand Officer. Frei and Saint John are well-regarded in their respected fields.

> Future uncertain: Board director Ryan Graves and CTO Thuan Pham are still in, but under mounting pressure in the wake of sweeping independent sexual harassment probes led by Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder and law firms Perkins Coie and Covington & Burling that looked at 215 employee complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation. (That’s three complaints for every hundred Uber employees.)

> The tech press is playing a key role in the Uber departures. 20 employees were fired as a result of the Perkins Coie investigation, but that list did not include Uber execs Matt Alexander or Emil Michael, until Recode published a story that Eric Alexander had gone to India to obtain medical records of a passenger who was raped in 2014, then brought them home to show to Travis and Emil Michael. Alexander was out the next day. Six days later, Michael resigned under pressure from the board.

> And then... at last week’s all hands meeting, where board member Ariana Huffington announced Travis’ leave of absence, and the results of the Holder investigation, board member and TPG partner David Bonderman interrupted Huffington with the comment "Actually, what it (data about women on boards) shows is that it's much more likely to be more talking." An employee leaked the audio to Yahoo Finance. Bonderman resigned from the board by nightfall.

> Does anyone really care? TIME devoted its cover story last week to #UberFail, saying the fallout is a wake-up call for Silicon Valley: “Uber's unraveling has undermined some of the Valley's credos: the cult of the founder, the rabid pursuit of growth, the virtue of disruption.”

> Others wonder how much it matters, arguing efficiency tends to trump corporate intrigue for riders and public markets alike. Stay tuned…


The LatAm Venture Bulletin is a news platform of the Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.

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