LatAm Venture Bulletin February 28, 2018

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

MAPPING Global Investors in Latin American Startups

Global Investors

Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names are now active in Latin America, investing in startups alongside Europeans, Asians, and global corporate VCs.

25 global investors made debut investments in Latin American startups in 2017 alone, and the total number of global investors in the region's startups has more than doubled since 2013 (from 36 in 2013 to 80 in 2017).

NEW this week LAVCA published a Mapping of Global Investors Active in Latin American Startups, including top investors and 200+ highlighted transactions with sector and stage data. 

Access highlighted deals and investor lists:

international lists

> Dux Capital made its inaugural investment in Cronology, a Mexican cleantech startup developing paper replacement products.

  • Cronology’s technology uses recycled plastics and natural minerals, reducing plastics waste and water and chemicals used in cellulosic paper production.
  • Founder Adrian Nava says the market opportunity in Mexico is “estimated to be more than US$12.b, equivalent to consumption of more than 6.85 million tons of paper annually.”

> TheVentureCity, the IFC, and Ventech made a US$22m investment in RecargaPay, a Brazilian mobile payments platform, with participation from FJ Labs, DN Capital, and various angel investors (through AngelList and FundersClub).

> Qualcomm Ventures, MercadoLibre, Confrapar, and FJ Labs made a R$20m investment in Brazilian ticketing platform Ingresse. Previous investors include e.Bricks Ventures and DGF Investimentos.

> e.Bricks Ventures is investing up to R$10m in Brazil's F(x), a “Tinder” for enterprises seeking credit and capital investment.

> DOMO Invest made a R$3m investment in Agenda Edu, a Brazilian edtech management platform. Agenda Edu is supported by Fundação Lemann.

> Fundo Aeroespacial, a R$131m fund launched by BNDES in 2014 to invest in aeronautics and defense, made an undisclosed investment (R$3m+) in Virtual Avionics, a Campinas, Brazil-based startup creating and commercializing training cockpits for pilots. Virtual Avionics previously received R$1.2m in seed funding in 2014 and was accelerated at Startup Brazil.

> Jaguar Ventures made a US$500k investment in Bandtrack, a SaaS company providing music streaming services for retail businesses. Bandtrack is headquartered in Argentina with offices in Mexico and Spain.

> #AGTECH 🌿 Argentine agtech accelerator Glocal, impact investor NESsT, and others made a US$350k investment in Auravant, a precision agtech startup accelerated at NXTP Labs & Wayra Argentina.

> Ayala Capital Partners and MercadoLibre’s MELI Fund invested US$300k in Zoco, a Chilean e-commerce platform for small businesses selling on MercadoLibre.

> Dila Capital and Jaguar Ventures made an undisclosed investment in Ben & Frank, a direct-to-consumer eyewear brand in Mexico, with the participation of previous angel investors. LAVCA asked co founder & co-CEO Mariana Castillo how Ben & Frank is bridging the payment gap:

"It is definitely one of the larger challenges for e-commerce companies in Mexico, however we offer alternatives with offline payments such as bank deposits and cash payments at convenience stores. Currently, 20% of our online sales are paid through these methods, which is partially due to our manageable ticket size (avg 1800MXN). Moreover, in our stores we do take cash payments which allows us to bridge the gap."

> Agfunder made an undisclosed investment in Brazilian agtech startup Solinftec through its new co-investment vehicle. TPG also made an undisclosed investment in Solinftec 2017 through TPG ART, the firm’s Alternative and Renewable Technologies growth equity platform. #AGTECH 🌿

> Dalus Capital made a MX$121m investment in Xertica, a cloud computing startup in Silicon Valley with operations in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador.

> Mexico's Cemex Ventures made an undisclosed investment in SAALG Geomechanics, a Spanish civil engineering software platform.

> Japanese pharma Oncolys BioPharma made a US$3.33m investment in Unleash, a biotech startup based in the US that was accelerated at Axia Ventures in Argentina.



> ImpactAlpha: In Latin America, Tech is Driving Impact and Impact is Driving Tech

More than US$10b in impact investing assets now sit in Latin America, according to the latest Global Impact Investing Network research.

> Root Capital, a non-profit social investment fund operating in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, is hiring an Analista de Crédito in Bogotá.

> Impact investing firm Capria is seeking 3-5 investment managers based in and investing in emerging markets that can deliver superior financial returns with scalable impact. Apply by April 6.

> PARTICIPATE 📝: LAVCA and ANDE are partnering on a Latin American impact investing survey. Relevant fund managers, foundations, and other investors are invited to PARTICIPATE IN THE ONLINE SURVEY. The deadline is Friday, March 23. All respondents will receive a copy of the survey findings.



> #HOTOFFTHEPRESS TechCrunch: Latin America is emerging as the new battleground for the global tech giants, and some of Silicon Valley and Asia’s biggest investors—from Sequoia Capital to SoftBank—are taking notice.

> Reuters says Amazon is eyeing a new warehouse in Brazil, and may be gearing up to ship more than just books.

> Brazilian Development Bank BNDES, Rio’s Institute of Society and Technology, and others published an action plan on the development of IoT in Brazil.

> Bloomberg says Netflix is Booming Outside of America: “Netflix has fixated on adding customers abroad, especially in Latin America and Europe.”

> NYTimes: Brazil Looks to Crack Down on Fake News Ahead of Bitter Election.


> 102 million Brazilians access Facebook per month (93 million on mobile). Almost 100% of connected Brazilians use WhatsApp.

> Finnovista published a new report of 85 foreign fintechs active in Latin America.

> Axios says China has surpassed the US as the leading trading partner of several South American countries, including Brazil.


> Latin Lawyer: Argentina is considering a new data privacy bill that follows the spirit of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.



> Centro Jalisco, Fondo Jalisco de Fomento Empresarial (FOJAL), and the Jalisco Ministry of Innovation launched JalisConnnect to build cross-border bridges between Jalisco, Silicon Valley, and other global technology hubs.

  • A same-day tech visa is now available for entrepreneurs seeking residence in Guadalajara.

> Google is opening new Launchpad accelerators in Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia.

> Microsoft for Startups will invest US$500m in support of global startups.

> LAVCA's Cate Ambrose will speak on a fintech panel at this week's UCLA Latin America Business conference. Access more information and register here.

> Y Combinator is offering a free, four-day course on startup investing on March 5-8. Accredited investors can apply for Startup Investors School here, and attend in Mountain View or via livestream.

> TheVentureCity launched The Garden, an acceleration/international expansion program for startups that does not take equity upfront. Apply here.

> La Fundación MET Colombia and Telefonica Open Future_ celebrate Día Internacional de la Mujer at Wayra Colombia on March 8. Details here.

> Check out the Stanford/NVCA Venture Capital Symposium on March 13-14 in Stanford, CA.

> Nexa (formerly Votorantim Metais) will give US$2.4m in equity-free capital to twelve startups for its second Mining Lab open innovation program. Sectors: Logística, Automação Industrial, IoT/TI, Economia Circular e Concentração Mineral. Apply by March 18.

> Wayra Chile, the accelerator of Telefonica Open Future_, is looking for soluciones o productos que contribuyan a mejorar la calidad de vida de las personas a través de un hogar sostenible, accesible, inclusivo, con mayor conectividad y seguridad. Apply to Hogar del Futuro by March 19. Details here.

> MassChallenge Mexico is accepting applications to its equity-free accelerator. Apply here by March 28.

> Applications for Y Combinator Summer 2018 are open.

  • Need a reason to apply? READ how Y Combinator helped the teams at Rappi and Hogaru raise capital from Silicon Valley investors.

> MIT and MIT Sloan Club of Brazil launched the Inclusive Innovation Challenge in LatAm, to award entrepreneurs using tech to drive economic opportunity for workers. Apply by May 15.


> Autolab is a Colombian autoshop startup incubated at Polymath Ventures that recently raised a US$525k Series A. READ LAVCA's interview with founder & CEO Nicolás Azcuénaga where he details the market opportunity:

In terms of market size, the auto parts and auto repairs market in Latin America is currently valued at US$76b. By the year 2021, it’s expected to exceed US$100b.

> Mesfix is a Colombian crowdfunding platform that raised US$1.2m last year from InQlab and IKON Banca de Inversion. READ LAVCA's interview with founder and CEO Felipe Tascon Ortiz where he talks about the challenges and opportunities of being Colombia’s first crowdfunding platform, and about the impact it can have on SMEs in LatAm:

What really makes Mesfix innovative is that we don’t touch the money.

> TPaga is a Colombia-based mobile payment platform for the unbanked that raised US$2.2m+ from Green Visor Capital and Y Combinator. READ Co-founder Andrés Gutiérrez interview with LAVCA about how TPaga emerged from running Tappsi, a Colombian taxi app that merged with Easy in 2015 and the opportunity to bring mobile payments to the unbanked:

According to the World Bank, 30 million (out of 50 million) Colombians are unbanked. 90% of consumer transactions in Latin America are made in cash because this population did not have the opportunity to receive money electronically, until now…. TPaga is the first mobile wallet that lets someone without a bank account make physical purchases at retail stores and gas stations.



> WATCH 📺Joaquim Lima of Riverwood Capital and Angel Uribe of TPG Growth talk about capital considerations for making investments during the 2017 LAVCA Venture Investors Annual Meeting in NYC:

From our perspective, capital intensity is not the most challenging thing. It is the return on the investment.

> Y Combinator published a Series A Diligence Checklist for founders.



> Brazil’s BNDES is developing a blockchain-based currency to track vendor payments on bank-backed projects.

> Utemis is a decentralized B2B ecommerce platform attempting to merge LatAm into entire a single economic space with a token sale on the Etherium blockchain.

> WashingtonPost reports that Venezuela launched a cryptocurrency called the petro. Bloomberg says the blockchain won’t save Venezuela....

> Messaging service Telegram raised US$850m via token sale, with plans to raise more.

> 46% of projects that raised money via ICO in 2017 have already failed, despite raising over US$104m.



> Boston Dynamics blew minds this month with a video of two dog-like robots opening a door. All fun and games, unless you’ve seen Black Mirror’s Season 4 episode on killer robo-dogs.

> It’s not just SpaceX—Axios has a round-up of private companies racing to get to outer space.

> Fortune: Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian Thinks Software Will Dominate Venture Capital.

> Experts from Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, Elon Musk’s OpenAI, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and others published a report on The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence.


The LatAm Venture Bulletin is the VC/tech newsletter and content platform of the Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.

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