LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin April 24, 2019

Web Version

LatAm Venture Bulletin

📧 Did someone forward you this email? Sign up here.



LAVCA Tech in Mexico

On the heels of a record US$2b invested by venture capital firms in Latin America in 2018 (an increase from US$500m in 2016) and the announcement of the new US$5b Softbank Latin American Tech Fund, LAVCA published an Inaugural Survey of Latin American Startups.

The Inaugural Survey of Latin American Startups is a 25+ page report that captures key insights from 227 startups.

88% of responses come from Founders and C-level executives. The majority of responding startups have raised US$500k to US$100m+ in funding.

The survey was conducted by LAVCA in Q4 2018 and startups were verified by LAVCA’s research team across a range of primary and secondary sources. 


  • Job Creation: Participating startups have created 25,000+ current full-time jobs. Startups with US$500k+ in funding create an avg. 129 full-time jobs each.
  • Entrepreneur Experience: 66% of participating founders have started multiple companies; 59% advise other startups.
  • Revenues: 89% of startups reported positive net revenue growth for 2017-2018.
  • Frontier Tech: 73% of startups across all sectors are using some form of big data, machine learning, or artificial intelligence.
  • Impact: 59% of startups are measuring some form of impact; job creation and financial inclusion top the list.
  • Diversity: 29% of startups said they’ve reached gender parity or greater in their workforce.


Powered by:


> #CVC #CHINA Tencent made an undisclosed investment in Ualá, an Argentine mobile banking app.

  • Goldman Sachs led a US$34m investment in Ualá in 2018, with participation from monashees, Ribbit Capital, Jefferies Group, Cohen’s Point72 Ventures, and Soros' family office.
  • Tencent invested US$90m in Nubank in 2018, and is also an investor in Satellogic.

> Riverwood Capital made a US$20m Series B investment in Omie, a Brazilian ERP platform targeting small businesses. Astella Investimentos led a R$25m investment in 2018. Angel network Verus Group invested previously.

> Propel Ventures led a US$13m investment in Conekta, a Mexican fintech enabling cash payments for over 1,000 online merchants, with participation from Variv Capital and FEMSA Comercio. Jaguar Ventures invested previously and partially exited in this round.

  • Amazon recently partnered with Conekta and OXXO to launch Amazon Cash payments in Mexico. Conekta CEO Hector Cardenas, says “~90% of ecommerce and physical sales are still made with cash in Mexico.”

> #CVC French group UP acquired a 60% stake in Glüky Group, a Colombian HRtech platform for employee motivation. Co-founder Juan Jose Mesa is an Endeavor entrepreneur.

> Global Founders Capital and Brazilian angels invested R$5.7m in Brazilian CaaS platform Zen Finance. GFC previously invested R$1.3m.

> BR Startups, managed by MSW Capital, invested R$2m in Carflix, a marketplace for pre-owned cars, to expand within Brazil.

> Angel Ventures Peru led a US$660k investment in Quantum Talent, a Peruvian HR tech platform for skills assessment and job training.

  • Co-Founder/CEO Carlos Ganoza says the labor market in LatAm is ripe for disruption: “The way in which firms and workers find each other is stuck in the 70s, and with our AI technology we can match workers with jobs in minutes, substantially improving the productivity of firms and connecting people with jobs where they can thrive.”

>  #IMPACT Odiseo and Capria invested COP$1m in Mesfix, a Colombian crowdfunding platform. Mesfix raised US$1.2m in 2017 from InQlab and IKON Banca de Inversion.

  • READ LAVCA's interview with founder and CEO Felipe Tascon Ortiz: “What really makes Mesfix innovative is that we don’t touch the money.”

> #CVC Latinia, a Barcelona-based software development company, led a US$500k investment in Facturedo, a Chilean invoice discounting marketplace.

  • Facturedo says they’ve financed ~US$10m to date for ~300 SMEs in Mexico, Chile, and Peru.
  • Facturedo participated in Startup bootcamp Fintech Scale in 2018.

> #CVC #PE American multinational Access Industries led a US$100m investment in Panama’s Selina, a global network of hostels and co-working spaces, at a post-money valuation of US$850m. CVC Grupo Wiese and existing investor Colony Latam Partners (formerly Abraaj Group LatAm) also participated in the round.

> #US The Venture City, Craft Ventures, David Sacks and Affirm participated in a US$19m Series B investment in Returnly, a US-based post-purchase payments startup for retailers founded by Spaniard Eduardo Vilar. The Venture City also participated in the Series A with Mundi Ventures

> #US Panama-based PE firm GITP Ventures made an undisclosed seed investment in Arlene, a New York-based adtech marketplace focused on immersive video, with participation from MathCapital and unnamed angels.

> Update: Seattle-based pet sitting marketplace Rover and IGNIA Partners co-led a US$7m investment in DogHero, a Brazilian pet-hosting startup.

  • DogHero previously raised US$2.5m from IGNIA, Global Founders Capital, and others in 2016. monashees and KaszeK led a US$3.1m round in 2016.


> #CVC Digital education giant Pearson is launching a US$50m co-investment fund as an alternative to doing tech M&A. Brazil is within the fund’s focus markets.

> #PE #CVC Engie and Tokyo Gas Co created a joint venture called Heolios EnTG to develop renewable energy projects in Mexico.

> #CVC Construtech Angels is a new network of ~50 angel investors looking at construction tech deals in Brazil, launched by Construtech Ventures, the CVC arm of Brazilian IT company Softplan.

> #IMPACT Pomona Impact is raising a US$35m mezzanine debt/equity fund to invest in Central American companies in agriculture, health, education, water, and renewable energy.

> #IMPACT Luminate and ICFJ (International Center for Journalists) launched a project called Velocidad to provide US$1.5m to Latin American news startups. Luminate is formerly the Government and Civic Engagement arm of Omidyar Network.

> Brazilian seed fund Bossa Nova Investimentos is looking at deals in Portugal.



> Jaguar Ventures partially exited Mexican fintech Conekta through a secondary sale in the startup’s latest round. This was Jaguar Ventures’ first investment and they achieved an 11x return.

> #PE #RETAIL Brazil’s first IPO of the year is Centauro, a retail chain that raised ~US$772m in an initial public offering on the Bovespa to pay down debt and fund expansion.

  • Centauro is owned by Grupo SBF; GP Investments is a minority investor and reportedly did not sell shares.



Co-founders Andre Penha (pictured) and Gabriel Braga started QuintoAndar when they finished their Stanford MBA in early 2013. Of all the problems in the world, why tackle the Brazilian real estate rentals market? “We wanted to tackle a problem no one had really resolved, something serious that affects a lot of people,” Penha says:

“Renting apartments sucks, for the renter and the landlord. Not just in Brazil, but especially in Brazil, but anywhere that is particularly bureaucratic. Even in more advanced countries, it’s not a good experience to rent an apartment; it’s difficult.”

QuintoAndar raised a R$250m Series C last year led by General Atlantic, but it took a few years of bootstrapping and slow growth to get there: Revenues are up 4x year-over-year.

LAVCA interviews Co-Founder & CTO Andre Penha on taking on complex problems, crunching data, and what real estate has to do with Netflix Originals. READ it here.

#CHANGETHERATIO QuintoAndar, with over 750 employees, has also reached gender parity (50%+ female workforce), according to LAVCA’s Inaugural Survey of Latin American Startups.


> #BIOTECH Chilean biotech startups Levita Magnetics and Praxis Biotech raised ~$US600k in oversubscribed campaigns on Founderlist, a Chilean crowdfunding platform. Both are US-based.

  • Levita Magnetics developed a magnetic surgical instrument system that is currently being applied to weight loss surgeries in the US. Investors include Alex Seelenberger from Aurus Capital and FEN Ventures.

> #BIOTECH Julian Rios of Higia Technologies, a Mexican cancer detection startup backed by Khosla, YC, and others, shares an update:

“We recently opened our Eva Clinic, a reinvention of primary care that is accessible, high tech, and looks gorgeous. And we are partnering with Salud Digna AC to conduct research in Monterrey, Mexico City, and Culiacán with 5000 patients in the next 8 months (one of the largest clinical trials of its kind in LATAM).”

> #AI iFood will invest US$20m in AI, under the leadership of chief data scientist Sandor Caetano, who joins from Nubank:

“The company was already using AI and related technologies such as machine learning (ML) to drive growth. The idea is to use the new dedicated function to drive further growth and also share best practices with universities to accelerate the development of local research around ML and deep learning.”

> Colombian fintech Tpaga is rolling out a savings account for users to democratize access to investing for underbanked Colombians.

  • WSJ shows how big this idea can get: “588 million users of Alipay, Ant’s highly popular mobile-payments network, had parked cash in its flagship Tianhong Yu’e Bao fund at the end of 2018.”

> Rappi and Visa partnered on a debit card for Rappi users.

> Bancolombia partnered with Colombian fintech Vlipco to roll out digital payments for consumers and small retailers.

> European mobile bank N26 is expanding to Brazil. N26 raised a US$300m Series D in January from Insight, GIC, and others.

Chilean e-sports startup Barracks formed a data/content partnership with Riot Games, maker of League of Legends. Barracks is backed by Manutara Ventures.

> Cloud computing startup Xertica was named Google’s Cloud Reseller LatAm Partner for the third consecutive year.

> These startups are joining the new Google Launchpad Accelerator in Mexico:

Agilis, Ben & Frank, EnvioClick, Herolens, Klustera, Ripio, Synapbox, Ualá, Wheel the World

> Época Negocios profiles 10 Brazilian healthtech startups:

Amparo Saude, EPHHealth, Gesto, Hoobox Robotics, iClinic, Medroom, Memed, Mendellics, Prontmed, Youper

> 2019 Cartier Women’s Initiative finalists include Tatiana Pimenta (Vittude), Marcela Torres (Holacode), and Liza Velarde (Delee).

> US-based fashion tech startup uSizy joins TVC’s Growth Accelerator Program.

> #FOODTECH Fazenda Futuro is a new Brazilian startup creating plant-based meat replacements.

> 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.



> El Norte: “El proceso de madurez del emprendurismo podría impulsar el atractivo de México para las inversiones de capital privado.”

> Reuters: China's Didi recruits Colombian drivers ahead of Bogotá launch.

> Nissan Mexico partnered with MercadoLibre to sell cars on the platform.

> Tec de Monterrey in Guadalajara will open Mexico’s first e-sports entertainment center.

> AWS will help Chilean astronomers with cloud-computing and data storage: “Amazon’s role as a founding member in the public-private research project, called the Chilean Data Observatory, gives it a key entry into a market where it is seeking to expand.”

> US accelerators are embracing Latin American startups — and it’s paying off.

“Before 2011, three of the top accelerators in the US, Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Techstars, didn’t accept a single Latin American startup….To date, Colombia is the Latin American country with the most startups in the YC network. Platzi, Rappi, Ropeo, Hogaru, UBits, and Tributi were all founded in Colombia. Mexico follows with companies like RunaHR, Grin, and Skydrop. By the end of 2018, almost every large country in Latin America has sent a startup through the accelerator.”

> McKinsey and Stanford’s “Brazil in Silicon Valley” collaborated on a sizeable report on the Brazilian digital ecosystem.

> São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City are top destinations for foreign direct investment, according to a new study.

> Uruguayan telco ANTEL partnered with Nokia to launch the first 5G network in LatAm. El Salvador is not far behind.



> LAVCA welcomes new member Mountain Nazca Mexico, an early-stage VC headquartered in Mexico City making investments in LatAm as well as other markets.

  • Investments include albo, Crehana, Miroculus, Nyati, Entocycle, TrueHome, and others.
  • Team includes Managing Partners Héctor Sepúlveda and Jaime Zunzunegui.

> VCs, tech players, and qualified entrepreneurs can now register for LAVCA Encontro Anual Brasil(formerly VC in São Paulo), an annual, invitation-only meeting scheduled for May 15 in São Paulo. The 2019 program includes:

  • 🔥 Fireside Chat with Sergio Romo, CEO of Grow Mobility
  • 🔥 Fireside Chat with Stelleo Tolda, COO of MercadoLibre, & Helisson Lemos, COO of Movile
  • Breakout Discussions on Angel/Seed Investing and Raising Growth Rounds
  • 🍽️ LAVCA members are invited to a private member-only dinner hosted by Latin American Tech Growth Coalition member Microsoft following the meeting.

✉️ Contact Leah Galamba ( to see if you qualify to attend. Discounted rate available for female investors, Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Members of the LAVCA Startup Directory, and LAVCA Startup Survey Participants.

> Investors from MAYA Capital, Innova Capital, Positive Ventures, Wayra Brasil, Google, and others are offering free mentoring for female entrepreneurs through Female Force LATAM. XX entrepreneurs, sign up here for free mentoring and spread the word. #CHANGETHERATIO

> Sodimac Colombia, Corona, and Endeavor Colombia invite Colombian entrepreneurs to apply to Aceleradora Sodimac Corona. Apply by April 30.

> Lima Fintech Forum brings together fintech, banking, insurance, regulators, cybersecurity, digital transformation technology, and innovation stakeholders. Register here.

LatinSF is hosting an Innovation Tour in Medellin, Santiago, and Buenos Aires, May 12-17. LatinSF is a public-private partnership to promote business between San Francisco and the Latin American region. Apply to join.

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. 

MIT is hosting the Inclusive Innovation Challenge in LatAm to award entrepreneurs using tech to drive economic opportunity for workers. Apply here.



> SoftBank chairman/CEO Masayoshi Son on the tech opportunity in Latin America:

“Latin America is on the cusp of becoming one of the most important economic regions in the world, and we anticipate significant growth in the decades ahead.”

> Nubank CEO David Velez interviewed Sequoia Capital Partner Doug Leone on why the firm hasn’t been more active in Brazil.

> #IMPACT A new report on the growth of impact investing includes highlights from Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil.

> Nilo Ventures associate Sebastian Krestin summarizes recent activity from Google, Facebook, Hubspot, WeWork, and others supporting the Colombian tech ecosystem.

> #IMPACT 🎥 VIDEO Angel Ventures searches for unicorns – and impact – in Latin America’s Pacific Alliance.

> El Pais: Buena Vista Capital, el fondo chileno que invirtió en Lyft antes de su salida a bolsa



> Netherlands-headquartered crypto exchange Bitex is expanding to Chile.



> NYTimes: We Built an ‘Unbelievable’ (but Legal) Facial Recognition Machine: Mass surveillance is closer than you think — it’s already here.

> Rolling Stone: This Is How Human Extinction Could Play Out.

> NYTimes: How Big Business Is Hedging Against the Apocalypse:

Grantham’s fund is going long on lithium and copper, which he believes will form the vascular system of future renewable-powered supergrids. His confidence derives from an odd and specific conviction that “sooner or later, there will be a carbon tax,” and much of the market capitalization of the leading oil and gas companies will be erased. “You have a certainty,” he said. “It will happen. Or we’ll be on our way to a failed civilization.”


The LatAm Venture Bulletin is the VC/tech newsletter and content platform of
The Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America.

Have news we should include? Please email

Cvent - Web-based Software Solutions