LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin January 23, 2019

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

> Point72 Ventures led a US$20m investment in Contabilizei, a tax filing and accounting SaaS for Brazilian small businesses, with participation from the IFC, Quona Capital, Quadrant, the Fintech Collective, and previous investor e.Bricks.

  • e.Bricks Ventures, KaszeK Ventures and Endeavor Catalyst previously invested in Contabilizei in 2016. KaszeK Ventures led the Series A in 2015. Curitiba Angels also invested previously.
  • TechCrunch: Contabilizei has already audited more than R$2b in customer revenue and saved its users over R$500m in taxes. For new companies, Contabilizei will also offer free business registration and formation filings. So far, the company has helped 5,000 new businesses get their paperwork done around the country.
  • Fast Company ranked Contabilizei as one of the most innovative companies in Latin America (2017).

> monashees, Mindset Ventures, and Banco Votorantim made a US$6m investment in WEEL, a Brazilian cash flow management platform. Formerly WorkCapital, WEEL was founded in 2014 and received US$8.5m in 2017 from monashees, Mindset Ventures, and FJ Labs.

> Mountain Nazca led a US$7.4m Series A investment in Albo, a Mexican digital bank, with participation from Omidyar Network and Greyhound Capital.

  • Magma Partners and Eric Perez-Grovas of Jaguar Ventures invested in the 2018 seed round.
  • Founder/CEO Ángel Sahagún: Es dinero para crecer. Tenemos que hacer que más gente nos conozca.”

> Variv Capital led a US$1.8m investment in Yotepresto, a Guadalajara-based consumer lending marketplace, with participation from Redwood Ventures, Tonk Capital, and unnamed angels.

> Angel Ventures, Fondo Alerce, and CLIN invested US$1.7m in CitySense, a Chilean open platform to develop smart city solutions. Angel Ventures invested US$1.3m in 2018 through its Pacific Alliance Fund II.

> Chile Ventures invested US$200k in ZeroQ, a Chilean startup with a “smart line” customer service app for corporate clients.

> Angel Ventures Pacific Alliance Fund II participated in a US$15m investment in B2Link, a Korean B2B beauty platform, with Korean investors including Premier Partners, POSCO Capital, Delta Investment, Korea Development Bank, Cape Investment & Securities, and Kolmar Korea Holdings.

> #PE Advent International acquired a 51% stake of Prisma Medios de Pago, an Argentine payments company formed as a joint venture between Visa International and local banks. 🦄 UNICORN ALERT: The deal values Prisma at US$1.42b.


> Krealo, Credicorp’s open innovation arm, made an undisclosed investment in Peruvian payment processor Culqi. This is Krealo’s first startup investment. Culqi CEO & co-founder says it’s the first time in Peru that a financial industry corporation has invested in a fintech:

"Esto es una muestra de cooperación en la que, la agilidad y sensibilidad de Culqi para crear productos simples y, el respaldo financiero y la llegada al mercado de las empresas del grupo Credicorp, harán que Culqi este presente en cada negocio, simplificandoles la vida."

> Cemex Ventures invested in StructionSite, an American construction modeling startup.

> Liil Ventures participated in a US$1.85m Series A investment in WhereisMyTransport, a South African integrated mobility platform launching in India and Latin America.

  • Liil Ventures is also invested in Cabify and Keyo.


> Uruguayan retail group TaTa acquired daily deals site woOw for a reported US$18m, providing a full exit for Uruguayan angel fund Tokai Ventures. Tokai Ventures first invested in woOw in 2010 (seed) and made subsequent investments with InCapital.

> Bloomberg: As New York Snatches Brazil IPOs, Local Exchange Fights Back.



> Loggi acquired adtech platform WorldSense and named its co-founder, Davi Reis, as Loggi’s new CTO.

> Spanish laundry startup Mr Jeff acquired Brazilian laundry provider Lava e Leva to expand into Brazil.

> Ideas y Capital portfolio company Phunware, a Mexican mobile cloud solutions platform, listed on the NASDAQ (ticker: PHUN).



> Finep Startup (formerly Startup Brasil) plans to invest R$30m in 30 Brazilian startups in 2019, part of a R$400m capital commitment.

> In 2019, Argentine VC fund Ayala Capital plans to invest US$4m in 6-7 startups in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and potentially Colombia and Peru.

> CyC Capital updated its name to Itera Capital and is raising its third seed fund, with a target of MX$60m. Read more about the fund here.

> Fundación Chile GM Marcos Kulka announced plans to launch an agtech-focused VC fund in 2H2019.

> Magma Partners is expanding to Mexico and looking for a strategic partner to join the Chilean seed fund that has made 50 investments to date.



> Capria Ventures invested US$40m in Mexican impact fund Adobe Capital.

  • Capria previously invested US$21m in Chilean VC fund Fen Ventures.

> IDB Invest signed an agreement with Argentina’s BICE (Banco de Inversión y Comercio Exterior) to issue a US$30m “green bond.”

  • IDB Invest says this is the first bond to be qualified as sustainable in Argentina.
  • The goal is to increase the loan portfolio in BICE for projects that comply with at least one of the seven identified Sustainable Development Goals for Latin America and the Caribbean.

> Impact investor Acumen Latam Capital Partners completed an undisclosed investment in Phoenix Foods, a Peruvian agro-industrial exporter with special attention to responsible supply management with high social impact.

> IDB Invest and Blue Like an Orange Sustainable Capital will loan US$20m to Produbanco to increase small business loans in Ecuador.

> Swiss VCs Investiere and Polytech Ventures led a €2.8m Series A in KiWi, a Swiss microfinance startup that lends to Mexican entrepreneurs, with participation from Swiss impact funds Symbiotics and 1to4 Foundation.

> PE firm PC Capital made an undisclosed follow-on investment in Mexican microfinance Te Creemos.

> Rebeca Rocha, Head of ANDE Brazil, shares insights from the recent ANDE/LAVCA survey of impact investors.

> PEI says impact investing has reached a tipping point.

> A Forbes contributor encourages family offices to focus on impact and governance.

> We are a long way from closing the gender investment gap:

According to the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Gender Gap Report… at current rates of progress toward gender parity, the gender gap will close in 61 years in Western Europe, 70 years in South Asia, 171 years in East Asia and the Pacific and 165 years in North America.

> Topics and themes were announced for the Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto (FLII), taking place Feb. 19-21 in Mérida, Mexico. 

> SAVE THE DATE for the Responsible Investment Forum New York hosted by UNPRI and PEI on March 5-6. Register here.


> Elevar Equity is hiring an investment professional based in Bogotá or Mexico City. Email for details.

> Kaya Asesoria de Impacto is hiring a Senior Associate in Mexico. Details here.




> Some notes from LAVCA President Cate Ambrose on what next for Brazilian PE/VC as Bolsonaro takes office (PEHub, December 2018):

In the wake of Jair Bolsonaro’s election as Brazil’s next president, deal activity is exploding for the country’s private capital investors….. Despite positive sentiment for private capital investment in the short-term, among the long-term risks that Bolsonaro’s leadership poses for the country is to the environment. If he realizes his campaign promise to open up more of the Amazon to loggers and extractive industries, this may further exacerbate environmental degradation, making the need for ESG practices from investors even more imperative.

There is also expectation that international and Brazilian rights groups will be monitoring threats to human and civil rights. However, if Bolsonaro prioritizes economic reform and corruption reduction efforts, there is an opportunity for historic progress in Brazil’s investment and business climate.

> Americas Quarterly: Everything You Need to Know About Brazil's New Government.

> Romero Rodrigues of Redpoint eventures says the business outlook is extremely positive.

> AP: Brazil's Bolsonaro targets minorities on 1st day in office.

Retailer Falabella plans to invest US$1.5b in IT and logistics infrastructure over the next four years.

  • Falabella recently partnered with Google Pay to roll out mobile payments for customers, and acquired Mexican ecommerce platform Linio for a reported US$138m.

> BBC: Qué son las aceleradoras de empresas y en qué países de América Latina invierten más: “Las más activas incluyen empresas como NXTP Labs, Wayra y ACE.”

> FT looks inside Facebook’s dating experiment in Colombia.

> Reuters: Venezuela’s consumer prices rose 1,300,000% last year.

> FT: Spotify’s plan to beat AppleSign the rest of the world:

Latin America is having a moment. In 2017, music revenue increased in the region faster than in any other, as a young, internet-savvy population streamed music in the billions, prompting Rolling Stone to declare the year Latin’s “pop takeover”.

So far Latin America is the only emerging market where the Spotify model has worked meaningfully — a phenomenon which caught senior executives by surprise when it entered Mexico six years ago. Spotify became the dominant paid streaming service in Latin America with minimal effort; to this day a few dozen employees working out of a Miami WeWork office run the operation for the whole continent.

iPhone sales are flat in India and massively down from China revenue forecasts.

> TechCrunch: The US continues to hammer Chinese tech.

> Google acquired Superpod, a startup with a question and answer mobile app, as part of its ambitions for Google Assistant. Related: Voice Assistant Tech Underpins Google's Startup Strategy For Brazil.

> Axios has a status update on Facebook privacy policies across apps.

> How is Netflix spending US$13b on original content in a single year? “It would have taken more than four hours of streaming per day, every day of 2018, to watch all of it.”

> Buzzfeed News says Spanish-speaking sellers have become Avon’s not-so-secret weapon as the beauty sales empire works to reinvent itself in the US: “In 2014, the top 10 of 850 selling districts were primarily Latino, and 31% of Avon’s top-selling and recruiting leaders were Latino.”



> By decree, Colombian banks can invest in local and internationally based fintech startups, as long as the startups have no financial holdings in those same banking institutions.

> Chilean association ACVC submitted policy recommendations to the Ministerio de Hacienda to overcome obstacles to startup investment.

> Brazil and Chile signed a free trade agreement on e-commerce, including eliminated tariffs on electronics and a commitment on no data localization.

> Brazil’s Central Bank is working on a new payments system that will make it easier for banks and fintechs to make instant transfers between bank accounts.

> Opposition by big media in Argentina killed a bill on intermediary liability that would have followed global best practices.

> FT: India’s start-ups fear extinction from ‘angel tax’. Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra: “It needs immediate attention or else all chances of building a rival to Silicon Valley in India will be lost.”

> The EFF examines problematic clauses in the new EU Copyright Directive:

Taken together, these two rules will subject huge swaths of online expression to interception and arbitrary censorship, and give the largest news companies in Europe the power to decide who can discuss and criticise their reporting, and undermining public-interest, open-access journalism.



> Mexican consumer lending platform Kueski issued its millionth loan.

  • Kueski also recently launched Kueski Pay in partnership with Volaris.
  • 🎤 READ LAVCA’s interview with Kueski CEO Adalberto Flores on disbursing over US$100m to date. Flores says Kueski’s traction is a drop in the bucket compared to the US$46b market for consumer credit in Mexico.

> iFood logged 12.3 million orders in November 2018.

> Colombian logistics platform Liftit is working with 8,000 drivers to make over 110,000 monthly deliveries, according to Dinero.

> Spanish delivery startup Glovo says Brazil is likely to overtake Spain in terms of delivery volume.

> Bloomberg takes a look at Baidu’s acquisition of Peixe Urbano, and subsequent merger with Groupon LatAm.

> #HEALTHTECH Founders of Mexico's Granta, Carlos Monroy and Martín Carcaño, developed a 3D printed surgical implant for skull reconstruction in collaboration with Autodesk.

> La Segunda features Chilean entrepreneurs of Jooycar, NotCo, TriCiclos, U-Planner, and Fracttal.

> Chilean legaltech startup Lexgo is expanding across the Pacific Alliance.

> IESE, with the support of IDB Lab, xcala, and others, launched a Startups Eurolatinas platform to identify and support startups operating between Latin America and Europe.

> 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.


> Last week early stage investors from Chile, Mexico, Argentina, and other markets convened in Santiago for a VC workshop discussion with LAVCA President Cate Ambrose, CORFO, ACAFI, and ACVC during InvestChile’s 5th International Investment Forum. LAVCA member participants included The Yield Lab, ALLVP, Wayra, NXTP Labs, Ayala Capital, and others.

> The Yield Lab LatAm invites agtech entrepreneurs working on sustainably revolutionizing agrifood systems to apply to their 2019 investment cycle. Apply by Feb 15.

> Wayra and Liga Ventures were chosen by BNDESPAR to run the inaugural Programa BNDES Garagem for entrepreneurs. The four-month acceleration program happens in Rio and has separate tracks for MVP and established projects. Apply by Jan 27.

> Applications are open for Aceleradora Herd, a non-profit that is part of the Rede Mulher Empreendedora to support projects founded by women. The program is free and equity-free. Apply here. #CHANGETHERATIO

> #HEALTHTECH Porto Alegre will receive a healthtech accelerator, Programa de Inovação em Saúde da instituição, through a partnership between hospital Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Porto Alegre and Techtools Ventures. The program aims to accelerate 100 healthtech startups and invest in an additional twenty over the next few years.

> BlueBox is hosting a meeting on food industry innovation on Feb. 6 in CDMX. Details here.

> 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.

> Ericsson alumni Adriano Accioly and José Alexandre Rochetti have teamed up to create FindOut, a Brazilian platform that connects startups to the market.



> Jackie Hyland, formerly of SVB and Accion Venture Lab, explores the need for more venture debt financing for Latin American startups, with a roundup of current players. Take her survey if you are a startup exploring debt financing.

> Redpoint eventures is surveying SaaS and cloud computing startups to benchmark the market. The goal is go help entrepreneurs and investors compare their data to metrics and results of comparable local and global companies. Details here.

> Bloomberg: China’s Billions Are Powering Latin America’s Tech Boom:

According to a report by CEPAL, Chinese firms were the largest investor in the region in 2017, with around $18 billion—representing 42 percent of the volume in the region.

> Reuters: Chinese tech investors flee Silicon Valley as Trump tightens scrutiny:

It is a radical shift for Silicon Valley. Money has historically flowed in from every corner of the globe, including from geopolitical rivals such as China and Russia, largely uninhibited by U.S. government scrutiny or regulation.

> FT: China’s state-owned venture capital funds battle to make an impact despite claims of raising US$1.8t.

> The Economist looks at how the .001% invests:

Since 1980 the share of the world’s wealth owned by the top 0.01% has risen from 3% to 8%.... As they grow even bigger in an era of populism, family offices are destined to face uncomfortable questions about how they concentrate power and feed inequality.



> Travis Scher, VP of Investments for Digital Currency Group (DGC), who spoke at LAVCA’s 2018 annual meeting, on his current outlook for crypto/blockchain:

2018 was a challenging year in blockchain, and there are good reasons for pessimism and disillusionment as 2019 begins. Prices of major cryptoassets fell over 70%, while those of many small cap coins collapsed by over 95%. Meanwhile, there has been hardly any uptick in actual usage of crypto-networks for payment or decentralized applications, and the ICO market is dead. To top it off, regulators have come down harder than ever, making life for many crypto companies extremely difficult. Nonetheless, I remain optimistic — these challenges create opportunities, and there are many positive harbingers.

> DCG launched Metaverse Ventures, a subsidiary, to invest exclusively in companies building products and services for Decentraland, a decentralized virtual world built on the blockchain by Argentines Ari Melrich and Esteban Ordano. Metaverse Ventures has invested in Artie and Vegas City so far.

> LatAm List: Chilean banks required to keep accounts open for crypto exchanges.

> VentureBeat: Early adopters show blockchain’s big potential for Latin America.

> Bakkt, a digital assets and bitcoin futures platform, raised US$182.5m in first-round funding. Founder/investor The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) also owns the NYSE.



> Samsung has pledged to make all of its devices intelligent and connected by 2020.

> People in Arizona are attacking Waymo self-driving cars.

> The New York Times goes inside a Chinese internet censorship center:

For Chinese companies, staying on the safe side of government censors is a matter of life and death. Adding to the burden, the authorities demand that companies censor themselves, spurring them to hire thousands of people to police content.

> New York Magazine: How much of the internet is fake?

Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot.

> #LONGREADS The New York Times dives into a bizarre and fantastic story about Amazon resellers arbitraging goods from Alibaba that features a zombie search-engine-optimized spam farm, adult diapers, plastic tchotchkes, and the Evangelical Church:

“At some point I began to feel like I was in a dream. Or that I was half-awake, unable to distinguish the virtual from the real, the local from the global, a product from a Photoshop image, the sincere from the insincere.”


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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