LatAm Venture Bulletin
LatAm Venture Bulletin April 8, 2021

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

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📢 NEW: LAVCA’s 2021 Industry Data & Analysis

📢 Deals: New Rounds for KavakdLocal, Hotmart, Digital House, Vortx, Cora, FinanZero, OpenCo, Meru

📢 Funds: ClockTower Group reaches first close; Nubank launches diversity-focused fund

Investor Perspectives: Andy Tsao of SVB, Claudio Barahona of Alaya Capital




LAVCA’s 2021 Industry Data & Analysis includes data and insights on fundraising, investment and exit activity from the full year in 2020. Member access includes:

  • LAVCA Analysis: A summary of key trends and y-o-y comparisons, including eight-year trends on fundraising, investment and exits, and highlighted deals.
  • Excel File: 14 tabs with graphs including Fundraising Totals and Geographic Focus of Funds Raised; Investments by Asset Class, Transaction Size, Country, Stage and Sector; VC Investment; Exits by Country and Sector; and breakouts for the Andean Region, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.
  • NEW in 2021: For the first time, this report includes private credit activity, as well as a listing of 300+ notable publicly disclosed transactions and fund closings. Reported investment totals now include contributions by co-investors, as well as acquisition or project financing.

Investment Highlights: 2020 was a record year for investments overall, with USD16.33b invested across 653 deals.

  • Private Equity: PE deals during the pandemic concentrated their investments on softwarebusiness/professional services and payments, and took an increased role in providing growth equity financing to companies in the region.
  • Venture Capital: Investment in 2020 will be the second best year on record, following a blockbuster 2019. The acceleration of digitalization trends due to the pandemic sustained fund manager interest in Latin American startups. While SoftBank was less active as it waited for its portfolio to mature after deploying billions, other global investors stepped in on major growth rounds.
  • Infrastructure: Latin America’s rapid digital transformation has created opportunities for GPs investing in the data infrastructure sector. GPs are supporting the deployment of wireless infrastructure technologies through investments in fiber optic networks, internet service providers, telecommunications towers and data centers.

LAVCA Members can contact us for data-related requests at




Join Silicon Valley Bank and LAVCA for the launch of LAVCA’s Annual VC/Tech Report for Latin America on April 22. VC investment in 2020 surpassed USD4b for the second consecutive year and key themes that emerged during the pandemic are spilling over to a busy start to 2021.

The program will cover sectors of growth, key deals in the major markets, new unicorns, notable exits and M&A, and the rise of tech SPACS in LatAm with LAVCA VC Director Julie Ruvolo, followed by a panel discussion with Nico Szekasy of KASZEK, Eric Santos of RD, and Andy Tsao and Julia Figuereido of SVB. Register here.



D1 Capital Partners, Founders Fund, Ribbit Capital and BOND led a USD485m Series D in Mexican car resale marketplace Kavak, at a reported USD4b valuation.

  • SoftBank, DST Global and Greenoaks Capital led an undisclosed round in 2020 at a reported USD1.2b valuation; SoftBank and General Atlantic invested earlier through a secondary sale.
  • Kavak plans to launch in Brazil in the next 60 days, according to CEO Carlos García Ottati: “In Brazil, you still have the same problems that you have in Mexico, but Brazil is a little more developed, especially in fintech, which is light years ahead of Mexico.”

Alkeon Capital led a USD150m round for dLocal, a Uruguay-based cross-border payment platform, with participation from BOND, D1 Capital Partners and Tiger Global, at a reported USD5b valuation.

  • General Atlantic led a USD200m round in 2020 at a reported USD1.2b valuation. 

LAVCA’s Unicorn Leaderboard for an updated list of known LatAm tech unicorns.

#EDTECH TCV led a BRL375m Series C for Hotmart, a Brazilian content monetization platform, with participation from Alkeon Capital.

> #EDTECH Mercado Libre, Globant, and Riverwood Capital invested USD50m in Digital House, an Argentine provider of technical training for developers, with follow-on from KASZEK.

  • TPG’s The Rise Fund led a USD20m Series B in 2017; KASZEK first invested earlier that same year.

> US-based growth equity fund FTV Capital led a BRL190m Series B for Vórtx, a Brazilian asset custody and issuance platform for corporate trusts.

  • Pedro Englert, Marcelo Maisonnave and Eduardo Glitz of XP invested BRL7m in 2018.

> IFC and Goldman Sachs led a BRL150m round for OpenCo, a Brazilian unsecured personal credit platform formed by the merger of Brazilian fintechs Geru and Rebel earlier this year, with participation from Raiz Investimentos, and follow-on from monashees, LTS, Chromo and Sampa.

  • monashees and XP invested USD4m in 2018.

> Ribbit Capital led a USD26.7m round for Cora, a Brazilian lending platform for SMEs, with participation from KASZEK, QED Investors and Greenoaks Capital.

  • Cora raised an undisclosed round from its employees earlier this year; KASZEK led a USD10m seed round in 2019.
  • Cora was granted a banking license by the Brazilian Central Bank in 2020, enabling them to receive interbank transfers, issue credit and debit cards, and ensure deposit withdrawals.

> Vostok Emerging Finance, Dunross & Co and Atlant Fonder made a USD7m follow-on investment in FinanZero, a Brazilian consumer credit marketplace.

  • FinanZero raised a BRL42m round from these players in 2019; Vostok led a BRL12m round in 2018.

> Mountain Nazca led a USD2.3m pre-seed round for Meru, a Mexican wholesale e-commerce platform connecting SMEs in Latin America with suppliers in China, with participation from Ricardo Weder (Jüsto), Roger Laughlin (Kavak), and David Geisen (Mercado Libre).

> #PROPTECH Liquid2 Ventures and Emles Venture Partners led a USD2m round for Kredi, a Mexican real estate financing platform for home buyers.

> #EDTECH E3 Negócios invested BRL8m in Kenzie Academy Brasil, a Brazilian coding school supporting students’ placement after course completion.

> Astella Investimentos led a BRL6.5m seed round for DeliRec, a Brazilian social platform for food recipe discovery.



US-based hedge fund Clocktower Group reached a first close for Clocktower Technology Ventures, a Latin America-focused fund with a USD25m target to invest in fintech.

  • Clocktower Group’s investments include Flink (Mexico), Habi (Colombia), Kushki (Ecuador) and ontop (Colombia); Clocktower Technology Ventures has completed four undisclosed investments.

> Equity Rio Investimentos raised BRL5m to invest in pre-seed e-commerce and marketplace startups in Brazil.

> Nubank launched Semente Preta, a BRL1m fund to invest in Brazilian afro-descendente founders.



> iFood now offers health insurance and pension plans to its delivery partners in Colombia.

> Ann Williams of Creditas shares her perspective on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the Latin American tech ecosystem.

  • “Mulheres trazem mulheres, pessoas negras trazem pessoas negras, o mesmo acontece na comunidade LGBTQIA+. Mas elas irão embora se não se sentirem confortáveis para serem quem são, não receberem um salário justo e não tiverem as mesmas oportunidades do que pessoas de outros grupos.”

> Andrea Campos of Mexican behavioral therapy platform Yana shares her experience expanding access to the app’s core features during the C19 crisis.

  • “In Latin America, we do not have the culture of prevention, we usually approach a doctor or a psychologist when we are already on the brink of catastrophe.”

> Rest of World reviews the journey of Mexican grocery delivery platform Jüsto in How Jüsto became an investor darling with a basic grocery delivery app.

> Daniel Bilbao of Truora shares his perspective on the importance of building viable distribution channels before investing in product improvement in Vende Primero, Crea Después.

> Stefan Krautwald of Colombian healthtech Farmalisto shares his views on the edtech and healthtech opportunities comparing trends in the Asian and Latin American markets.

> LAVCA just published 2021 survey results of Healthtech and Edtech Startups in Latin America.

  • Sponsored by the IDB Lab, the reports include a high-level overview of key insights and aggregate statistics from 60+ startups, including the number of companies registered as B-Corps or that are women-led, and the impact that these startups have had in promoting access to healthcare or education in their markets of operation. The research also includes a section dedicated to the impact of COVID-19.
  • ACCESS the full surveys on healthtech here and edtech here.

> Check out LAVCA’s 2020 directory of 126 Latin American startups with at least USD1m in VC funding, verified by LAVCA (as of end-2019), our Unicorn Leaderboard, and our Inaugural Survey of Latin American Startups.



> SIGN UP for EMPEA’s bi-weekly newsletter. Edited by LAVCA Director of Venture Capital Julie Ruvolo, this newsletter covers cross-border tech transactions and innovations with cross-border applications in a rapidly changing world. Geographies include Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Central & Eastern Europe.

VIEW the archive of previous editions and sign up here.



> #POLICY The Brazilian Central Bank launched an open banking platform to increase transparency around financial institutions' product pricing and consumer credit history.

> #POLICY The Brazilian Central Bank authorized the launch of Facebook Pay, Facebook’s payment system used to facilitate transactions through WhatsApp in partnership with Visa and MasterCard, after regulatory delays.

  • Facebook Pay currently facilitates peer-to-peer transactions and is not yet accessible to merchants.

> #SPACETECH Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet initiative, is now licensed to operate in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico through its Better than Nothing program.

Alibaba partnered with Ruta N to develop tech talent in Colombia through its Global Digital Talent Program. Medellín is the first city in Latin America to be included in Alibaba’s initiative.

> XP launched a secondaries trading platform for alternative closed-end funds in venture capital and private equity.

> FT: Pandemic spurs the Latin America tech sector

  • "New Covid-19 variants in Brazil, undercounted death numbers in Mexico and second waves of the virus in Peru are just some of the recent devastating blows that have left the region reeling. In that context, it is easy to miss one positive consequence of the pandemic: a nascent tech boom which is making economies more competitive and transforming the lives of millions of poorer citizens."
  • Nicolas Szekasy of KASZEK"When you look at the metrics for ecommerce penetration, what was achieved in the last 18 months probably would have taken several years organically".


Stori, a Mexico-based credit card issuer, recently raised a USD32.5m Series B from Lightspeed Venture Partners, with follow-on from Vision Plus Capital, BAI Capital and Source Code Capital. This is Lightspeed’s second known investment in the region after Dolado.

LAVCA spoke with CEO and Co-Founder Bin Chen about the company’s launch in Mexico, its go-to-market strategy and any plans for international expansion.

LAVCA: Your prior experience in the credit card industry includes roles as Vice President of MasterCard’s community banking platform and as Business Manager of Capital One. What learnings did you bring over from these experiences to Stori?

Bin Chen: At Capital One I learned the powerful skills in data analytics skills and strategies for testing and learning from managing projects in the credit card business. At MasterCard I had the privilege of advising a number of banks developing and launching differentiated credit card products in emerging markets. Both are meaningful experiences for what Stori does in order to serve the underbanked consumers in Mexico, including their core mission of financial inclusion.

Why did you decide to launch Stori in Mexico?

We thought that Mexico was a great place to start because of the country’s low credit penetration and access compared to other countries like Brazil and China which have similar per capita income.

How does Stori plan to target the underbanked population in Mexico, and how is the team planning to leverage technology to reach your end client?

We do not require existing credit history for our customers. We do not charge an annual membership fee for our credit card product. And our user experience is entirely digital, solving the challenge that many customers do not have convenient access to traditional bank branches.



> Andy Tsao of SVB shares his perspective on the resilience of the Latin American and Indian tech ecosystems despite the C19 crisis.

  • “Global investors never really stopped investing in India or Latam, but as the year went on, we saw many established US and international investors make their first investments in the region. Should the year continue at this pace, I predict we will have record high VC investment for both India and Latam. I have long said that innovation is globalizing and increasing outside of traditional hubs like Silicon Valley and Beijing, and I predict 2021 should see that trend continue.”

> Alex Szapiro, former Head of Brazil for Amazon, has joined SoftBank’s Latin America Fund as Operating Partner and Head of Brazil.

> Claudio Barahona of Alaya Capital shares his perspective on the current state of the Chilean tech ecosystem and the companies with the potential to scale.


> #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:

  • Julian Cheng (Warburg Pincus) and JP Gan (INCE Capital) on backing Chinese tech
  • Chang Wen Lai (Ninja Van) on the future of delivery in Southeast Asia
  • Cem Sertoglu (Earlybird) on the sale of Peak Games to Zynga
  • Eric Acher (monashees) on Brazilian VC’s breakout moment
  • Judith Li (Lilly Asia Ventures) on biomedical VC
  • Actis and other leading GPs on the Global Tech Infrastructure Opportunity
  • General Atlantic’s Bill Ford interviews global entrepreneurs Byju Raveendran of India’s Byju’s and Ricardo Weder of Mexico’s Jüsto

> LAVCA, in collaboration with EMPEA, is pleased to announce the new Inside Private Capital series, a groundbreaking education training platform for GP and LP members.

  • LAVCA members are being given special consideration to participate in module one, Meeting LP Expectations on ESG, taking place on April 21, at the discounted rate.
  • To receive further information on the registration process, please contact

> ProChile launched a program to connect Chilean startups looking for international expansion with companies in Mexico, Colombia and Peru.

> ASCOA YPANYU Latin American Business Association and Columbia Business School LABA will host a session on Latin American resilience, the digital economy and impact investing at 12pm-3pm ET on April 9. Register here.

> Platzi will host its 2021 DemoDay on April 10 with 30 startups.

 ColCapital will host the IV Pacific Alliance Private Equity and Venture Capital Summit on April 13, 14 and 15. More information here. LAVCA members can attend at a special rate by registering here.

> AMEXCAP will host Cumbre de Capital Privado 2021 on April 27 and 28. Details here. LAVCA members are eligible for member discount by logging into their account. Get the discount code here.

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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