LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin March 20, 2019

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

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> SoftBank announced an initial US$2b commitment on a new SoftBank Innovation Fund to invest in Latin American startups, with a target of US$5b.

  • SoftBank’s investments in the region include 99 (2017), Loggi (2018) and potentially Gympass.
  • SoftBank COO (and chairman of Sprint) Marcelo Claude, a Bolivian, is leading the effort.

> SOFTBANK'S LATEST DEAL: SoftBank invested US$1.2m in Ayenda Rooms, a Colombian hotel chain with a digital reservation platform. Ayenda CEO Andrés Sarrazola: "Con esta inversión, sabemos que hemos sumado a los socios correctos para escalar Ayenda a nivel internacional.”

> Crunchbase News: SoftBank Earmarks US$2b For Latin American Startup Investment Fund:

In addition to the new fund, SBG announced the creation of the “SoftBank Latin America Local Hub,” a new operating group that it said “will partner with SoftBank portfolio companies helping them enter Latin America...

> TechCrunch: With These Numbers, It’s No Surprise SoftBank Is Investing In Latin America.

> Nasdaq: SoftBank Whale Jumps into Latin American Pond:

[Latin America] already has more smartphone users than the United States. It also has lots of problems startups can fix: millions have no bank account and public transport is patchy at best.

> Reuters: SoftBank is also planning a global early-stage VC vehicle out of Seoul. Masa’s US$20m early-stage investment in Alibaba is now famously worth US$130b.



> Omidyar Network spun off its financial inclusion investment arm as Flourish Ventures. The new firm launches with US$300m in capital for investments (equity and grant) and operations, and will maintain its current US$200m portfolio.

  • In Latin America, Omidyar’s fintech-related investments include Albo, GuiaBolso, Neon, and Suyo.
  • Omidyar recently spun out its Government and Civic Engagement arm as Luminate and launched Spero Ventures, a US$100m fund to invest in for-profit US businesses that can achieve “impact at scale.”

> REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL: IDB Lab is launching the LAC Venture Debt Fund to support Latin American entrepreneurs with venture debt financing. Fund managers with experience in the region are invited to submit proposals to manage the new fund. Details here. Proposals due by April 15.

> Morro Venture Partners, under parent company Advent-Morro Equity Partners, launched a US$20m early-stage VC fund under Partner Allison Kern’s leadership to invest in Puerto Rican technology as well as startups that can utilize Puerto Rico to pursue cross-border growth.

> #IMPACT Grupo Bimbo committed about US$10m from its employee pension fund to anchor the LatAm Impact Fund, a fund of funds managed by Sonen Capital and Fondo de Fondos, with a target of US$75-150m in initial capital.

> COFIDE, el Banco de Desarrollo del Perú, and PECAP are working together on a Fondo de Fondos initiative to support early-stage startup entrepreneurs in Perú. Greg Mitchell of Angel Ventures Peru serves as President for PECAP.

> Florida-based StartUp Nation Ventures launched a US$25m early-stage fund to invest in Israeli startups expanding to the US and Latin American markets.


> PayPal will make a US$750m strategic investment in MercadoLibre through a common stock investment. Dragoneer Investment Group will purchase an additional US$100m of Series A perpetual convertible preferred stock. MercadoLibre will offer an additional US$1b common stock as part of a US$1.8b+ total raise.

> Brazilian real estate startup Loft raised a US$70m Series B at a valuation of ~US$370m, led by Fifth Wall Ventures and QED Investors.

  • Fifth Wall is co-founded by real estate tech investor Brendan Wallace.
  • Loft raised a US$18m Series A in 2018 from monashees, Canary, Andreessen Horowitz, and Thrive Capital, as well as the founders and angels including David Velez (Nubank).

> Tpaga secured a ~US$1.5m strategic investment from Alkosto, the investment arm of Grupo Colombiana de Comercio, to facilitate digital payments rollout to tenderos.

> Criatec 3, managed by Inseed Investimentos, made a R$3m investment in VarejOnline, a Brazilian software platform for retail management.

> Smart Money Ventures made a R$1m investment in Produttivo, a software platform for field service management. Movile co-founder Fábio Póvoa runs the angel/seed fund.

> Bossa Nova Investimentos has invested in Delfos, Upik, Job For Model, e Digital Manager Guru so far this year.

  • Bossa Nova’s portfolio raised over US$11m in 2018, including investments in Agenda Edu, Contentools, HandTalk, Smarthint,, and Veek.

> #AFRICA Nigerian digital banking platform TeamApt raised a US$5.5m Series A from Nigerian PE firm Quantum Capital Partners with plans to expand to Latin America.

> 🛴 Scooter unicorn Lime raised US$130m from Bain Capital Ventures and others. Lime recently launched in Chile.



> TripAdvisor’s restaurant reservation subsidiary, TheFork, acquired Restorando for an undisclosed amount. Restorando is backed by KaszeK Ventures, Atomico, Flybridge Capital, and others.

> Latin American Tech Growth Coalition member Globant acquired Avanxo, a cloud systems integration company, for an undisclosed amount.



> African e-commerce platform Jumia filed for an IPO on the NYSE and may raise up to US$500m. Jumia is backed by Rocket Internet, Goldman Sachs & others. 

Pro RataJumia is considered to be Africa's first tech unicorn, even though it was founded by two Frenchmen and is headquartered in Germany.



Credijusto secured a US$100m line of credit from Goldman Sachs to lend to small businesses in Mexico. Via WSJ:

Credijusto relies on a trove of data gleaned from tax invoices, which were digitized in Mexico under a tax reform law in 2014, and other data to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness and assess risk…. The company has grown rapidly, distributing about US$10 in loans and equipment financing in 2017 and US$35m in 2018.

> Forbes: The world’s best banks include startups Nubank and Neon in Brazil.

  • Nubank says over 20 million people have requested a Nubank credit card since launch. Nubank has more than 6 million active customers, including 3 million with a NuConta digital account.

> Colombia Fintech: Will Rappi partner with Banco Davivienda on payments?

> Congrats to The Venture City portfolio companies in the new Google Launchpad Accelerator cohort:

  • 1DOC3 (Colombia)
  • Gurucargo (Uruguay)
  • Coffunity (El Salvador)

> Latin American startups at this week’s YC Demo Day include Keynua, Kovi, Nowports, and Cuantopaga.

> FlexClub, a South African investment platform for rideshare vehicles, raised US$1.2m and partnered with Uber Mexico.

> 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.



> NESsT launched a US$20m impact fund for Latin America, with a first close of US$3m with social investors, including DFIs, foundations, non-profits, and philanthropists.

  • The fund will loan an average of US$200k to small enterprises in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru, targeting 80 investments generating employment for 30,000 vulnerable individuals.

> The LGT impact Fellowship offers business professionals the opportunity to spend a year working at impactful businesses supported by LGT in Africa, Brazil, China, India, Southeast Asia, or the UK. Apply by March 31.

> BBC: Inside Brazil’s secret daycare economy. How Elisa Mansur's award-winning start-up idea benefits the Brazilian families in greatest need.

> PEI covers the US college admissions FBI case: Can impact investing withstand another reputational blow?

> Bloomberg: TPG Fires McGlashan, Lets Investors Pull Money From Social Fund: The vehicle, known as The Rise Fund II, is still aiming to close this year with US$3b.



> MercadoLibre will invest US$300m in its Mexico operations and payments products to increase financial inclusion.

> WSJ says MercadoLibre Wants to Build the Amazon of Latin America:

CFO Pedro Arnt: “We are focused on disrupting two large industries: retail and the financial industry.”... Investors appear to have bought in. Shares of the company, which trade on the Nasdaq , closed at an all-time high of $503.93 on Wednesday.

> FT: Latin America’s gold e-rush: After a multibillion-dollar week, optimism is surging around business opportunities.

> Finnovista has a new report on Colombian fintech.

> Colombia Fintech has a review of digital payments activity in Colombia.

> Dinero: France’s referential entrepreneurship hub, Station F, is coming to Bogotá.

> ZDNet: Latin American CEOs optimistic about AI's potential.

> #PRIVACY Axios DEEP DIVE on privacy:



> Engadget: Russian 'sovereign internet' bill could give Putin his own Great Firewall:

Russia may also see centralized controls as a way to control the flow of information without enduring the kinds of knock-on effects it saw when it blocked Telegram last year. It inadvertently stifled access to other sites, including Twitch, banks and airline ticket hubs.

> 🌈 IBM, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and other US tech giants support The Equality Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. “Most large businesses have already added nondiscrimination policies protecting LGBTQ workers from discrimination,” according to Axios/Login.



> LAVCA welcomes new member Amadeus Capital Partners.

  • The global firm has backed 135+ companies and raised over US$1b for investment since 1997.
  • Since 2013, Amadeus’ emerging markets team has invested in growth-stage technology companies in Latin America, Asia, and EMEA, focusing on fintech and consumer digital services.
  • Investments in Latin America include Creditas and Descomplica.
  • Amadeus’ Latin American activities are led by Partner Pat Burtis.

> 🍹 LAVCA, in partnership with Latin American Tech Growth Coalition member KIO Networks and with support from Endeavor and AMEXCAP, is hosting a meeting and cocktail for VC/tech investors, leading entrepreneurs, and top tech companies in CDMX on April 3. Details here.

  • LAVCA will present an update on VC/tech activity in Mexico.
  • 📧 Contact LAVCA ( to see if you qualify to attend.

> MAYA Capital partners Lara Lemann and Monica Saggioro launched Female Force LATAM, a collaborative platform for investors to volunteer time mentoring female tech entrepreneurs. More information here. #CHANGETHERATIO

> Google Launchpad São Paulo welcomes eight ML-focused startups to its new cohort:

Accountfy, Agilize, Blu365, Estante Mágica, Gesto, Rebel, Smarttbot, Social Miner

> Wayra México inaugurates a new space in Mexico City on March 25. Details here.

> CEMEX Ventures launched a Construction Startup Competition 2019 for startups innovating in the construction industry. Apply by April 21.

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

> 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.

Mass Challenge Mexico is accepting applications for its 4-month accelerator and MX$2m in equity-free funding. Apply by April 2.

LAB Ventures hosts the Future of Real Estate Tech Summit on May 14. The program will include a pitch competition for real estate & construction tech startups. Apply here.

Fortune: Paula Santilli was named CEO of PepsiCo’s US$7.4b Latin America operation.



> Pablo Capurro of Buenos Aires seed fund Troopa, for La Nación: La industria tecnológica, a contramano de la crisis actual.

  • Troopa’s recent investments include, Tributi, and

> FT reports that tech investors are including #MeToo clauses in startup deals to disclose sexual harassment in the due diligence process.

> Quartz says sovereign wealth funds “are quickly becoming a combination of finance and national policy the world has never seen before.



> The Argentine government intends to co-invest in blockchain projects backed by crypto exchanges Binance (through its investment arm, Binance Labs) and LatamEx. Binance will host its incubation program in Buenos Aires.

> iupana: The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is working on a pilot project with Bitt to roll out a blockchain-based digital version of the local currency, the DCXD.

> CBInsights published a primer on ethereum.


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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