LatAm Venture Bulletin October 18, 2017

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

> Scotiabank Partners and NXTP Labs are partnering to accelerate fintech startups from Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Peru.

> BNDES is looking into launching a fund with angel investors to invest R$40m-R$60m in early-stage Brazilian startups.


> Vostok Emerging Finance led a US$39m Series D in GuiaBolso, a mobile personal financial service, with participation from Ribbit Capital, QED Investors, the IFC, Endeavor Catalyst, and Omidyar Network. Previous investors include Valor Capital, e.Bricks, and KaszeK Ventures. READ LAVCA's interview with co-founder & CEO Ben Gleason for insight into GuiaBolso’s progress building Brazil’s largest digital marketplace for credit products:

"We have a very complementary set of investors that have a high degree of specialization around specific topics that are relevant for us. For example, KaszeK understands very well the Brazilian market and digital products. Ribbit and our new investor Vostok are focused on fintech, particularly in emerging markets, and QED Investors has deep expertise in credit businesses. IFC provides a strong institutional presence in this regulated market and Omidyar helps us measure/increase our social impact. The list goes on to include other backers, including angel investors with specific skills (e.g. Neil Daswani at Lifelock, who is an internet security expert)."

> The IFC made a follow-on US$10m Series B investment in Mexican online lending platform Konfío. Existing investors QED Investors, KaszeK Ventures, Jaguar Ventures, Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund (managed by Quona Capital), and Accion Venture Lab followed on in the round. READ LAVCA’s interview with Konfio CEO David Arana.

> Valor Capital led a US$4.6m investment in Revelo (formerly, a Brazilian job marketplace, with participation from Australian recruiting company Seek. Revelo previously raised seed capital from Social Capital, Graph Ventures, and angel investors.

> Santander InnoVentures led a US$6m investment in ePesos, a Mexican mobile payment service for SMEs.

> Green Visor Capital in Silicon Valley led a US$2.2m investment in Tpaga, a Colombia-based mobile payment platform from the founders of Tappsi. Y Combinator invested US$120k in Tpaga this year.

> InQlab and IKON Banca de Inversion made a US$1.2m investment in Mesfix, a Colombian crowdfunding platform that has helped 65 Colombian businesses collectively raise US$3.5m.

> GVAngels, an angel network of FGV alumni, made an undisclosed investment in Estoks, a retail logistics startup.

> Venture builder SuperJobs made an undisclosed investment in Vibbra, a Brazilian job-matching app.

> Correction: The October 4th issue incorrectly listed Mesoamerica as a new investor in Polymath Ventures’ Autolab, an auto shop startup based in Colombia. An unnamed group of American, British, Colombian, Mexican, and Peruvian investors participated in the US$525k Series A.



> Tbit is an agtech startup that raised R$1m from BR Startups, a fund whose investors include Monsanto, Qualcomm, Algar, and Microsoft Participações Brazil. We spoke with co-founder Igor Chalfoun about Tbit’s vision for helping to guarantee food security on a global level:

"A Tbit terá um papel chave em de mudar as relações humanas/econômicas em 2 pontos: garantir a segurança alimentar do mundo acelerando processos e trazendo transparência nas relações comerciais entre produtores e grandes empresas."

> Cultura Colectiva is a digital media company creating content for Spanish-speaking millennials that raised MXN$72.4m from Dalus Capital this year. We spoke with co-founder and CEO Luis Enríquez about how Spanish-speaking millennials consume content:

LAVCA: What has been you biggest challenge so far?

Cultura Colectiva: "It's not really a surprise anymore: A lot of people share “cool content” in social media, but when you look at the numbers, nobody reads the content; everybody shares it. When you see the stats, you’ll see 10, 20 clicks, and 2,000, 3,000 shares. People are pretending that they are reading these articles."



> Accion Venture Lab, Mountain Nazca Colombia, Invictum Capital, and several Colombian angel investors made an undisclosed seed investment in ESCALA Educación, a social enterprise to help students save for higher education, and ultimately reduce income inequality. This is ESCALA Educación’s first institutional investment.

> Performa Investimentos’ Brazilian Sustainable Technology Fund agreed to acquire a 19.13% stake in Global Environment Fund’s Tecverde Engenharia for an undisclosed amount.

> FLII CA&C, The Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto for Central America and the Caribbean, will take place on November 8-9, in Antigua, Guatemala. Details here.

> ANDE is hosting an Investment Manager Training course November 27-December 1 in Washington, DC. The course is unique in its focus on impact investing. Details here; LAVCA members receive a 10% discount by emailing

> CISCO is awarding Global Impact Cash Grants to non-profits and NGOs addressing significant social problems. Details here.

> In How Does Agtech Fit an Impact Investing Thesis?, Louisa Burwood-Taylor at Agfunder News outlines key issues where ag technologies stand to make a huge global impact:

  • CO2 emissions: Agriculture contributes 30% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, more than any other industry.
  • Climate change adaptation: This will cost between US$70b-$100b per year by 2050, according to the World Bank.
  • Water: Agriculture uses 70% of the world’s water supply. Meanwhile, 2.7 billion people have a hard time finding water at least one month out of the year.
  • Food waste: About 40% of food that is grown is never eaten, whether you’re in the US or Africa.
  • Farmer welfare: 60% of all child laborers, worldwide, work in agriculture.


PedidosYa, an Uruguayan online delivery service that is part of the Delivery Hero umbrella, acquired Apppetito24 to accelerate growth in Panama and Costa Rica. PedidosYa was founded in 2009 and operates in over 400 Latin American cities.

> SDP Noticias acquired El Deforma and its publisher, Now New Media: “Aunque sí es una nota de El Deforma, esta no es una broma. SDP Noticias adquirió el 100% de la casa editorial de El Deforma, Now New Media, con el objetivo de formar el bloque digital más grande del país.”



US$21.5b: VC investments in US startups for Q3 2017. VC spending in 2017 is on track for a record year, with US$61.4b invested so far in 2017, according to the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor. But deal count is down, as investors focus on mega-growth rounds for a smaller number of companies.

> US$4.8b: VC investment in Israeli startups for 2016. says it was a record year:

Startup funding is available, not just for growth rounds, but also at earlier stages through an active angel community, government supported incubators, a small number of seed funds, and via crowd equity platforms such as OurCrowd and iAngels…..145 Israeli startups have raised money through crowdfunding over the past 5 years.

> US$63m: VC investment in Southern African startups in 2016. VC investment in 2016 grew 34% in terms of dollars and 23% in terms of deals over 2015, according to a new report from SAVCA (Southern African VC & PE Association).

> 40%: Potential reduction in world trade over the next 23 years if 3D printing sparks a local production revolution. From Azeem Azhar’s newsletter, Exponential View:

Lower cross-border trade in industrial machinery, automotive and consumer products may take the lead in suppressing world trade given that these sectors are front runner industries in 3D printing and have a significant share in cross-border trade.

> 10%: Amount of venture dollars globally that went to startups with at least one female founder since 2012. Crunchbase has the latest numbers on gender diversity in global VC. #CHANGETHERATIO

> 10 million: The number of Argentinians that do online banking. This represents 33% of all digital users in the country.



> Diario Financiero recognized Claudio Baharona, Country Manager of Telefonica Open Future_ in Chile, as one of the Jóvenes Influyentes del 2017.

> Mario Letelier, one of the Buscapé founders, joined DOMO Invest as an operating partner. DOMO Invest launched a R$100m fund earlier this year to invest in B2C startups in Brazil.

> CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: LAVCA is seeking nominations for the 2017 edition of Women Investing in Latin American VC: senior level female investment professionals committing capital to a VC fund, or deploying capital from a VC fund, and female angel investor committing over US$50k to LatAm startups. Investors must be active in the last five years. NOMINATE HERE

> Interested in the role of women in LatAm's early stage universe? Join FOMIN for the Annual WeXchange, a forum that connects high growth women entrepreneurs in LatAm with investors and mentors. WeXchange 2017 is taking place on Dec. 4-5 in Santiago, Chile.

> Business solutions provider Grupo Assa launched Parabolt, an incubator planning to invest US$10m in 100 companies over the next three years.

> ACVC, the Chilean VC Association, opened offices in London and Miami.

> The first cohort of Startupbootcamp FinTech in Latin America has already secured 30 collaboration projects with the financial industry.

> Capria is seeking 3-5 investment managers based and investing in emerging markets that can deliver superior financial returns with scalable impact. Apply for its fifth investment cycle by November 27. Details here.

> Argentina’s Ministerio de Producción invites Argentine accelerators to apply to the Fondo Aceleración to receive financial support for operating costs and matching funds for entrepreneurs. Apply by November 6.

> Argentina’s Ministerio de Producción invites Argentine VC funds raising a minimum of US$18m to apply to the Fondo Expansión to receive financial support for fundraising costs. Apply by November 6.

> Global Startup Challenge invites entrepreneurs in Panama City, São Paulo, and Buenos Aires to compete for US$50k in funding. Details here.

> Resultados Digitais’ popular RD Summit is October 18-20 in Florianopolis, Brazil. More info and tickets here.

> Encuentro Internacional: Inversión en Emprendimientos de Ciencia y Tecnología is happening in Santiago de Chile on October 24-25, organized by ACAFI and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Details here.

> Join LAVCA at Smart Capital, a conference in Medellin organized by RutaN and Capitalia Colombia, on November 14-15. Details here.

> SAVE THE DATE: Brazilian fund managers are invited to the bi-annual LAVCA VC in São Paulo on December 5th at Wayra Brazil. Details here.



> Jacobo Fasja, CEO and founder at Now New Media (recently acquired by SDP Noticias - see news in M&A section above), told us about what decisions NNM took on September 19 to help out after the earthquake in Mexico City:

"We are a humor and satire site mostly focused on viral content so it was a hard decision about what to publish. After stopping all content distribution for about four hours, we decided to do two important things:

1) We completely changed our editorial style to inform purely on relevant information about the earthquake to the people.

2) We used our viral power to create a system of 'viral donations.' We started by donating $50,000 pesos to Topos (a rescue group) and nominating another media site to do so and so on. At the same time, we invited our followers to donate in exchange for an article with their name on our site. We ended up with about 1 million pesos in donations."

> Mashable: How Mexican millennials moved Twitter and earth after the earthquake.

> Bloomberg: Hunt for Life in Mexico Fuels Demand for Tech to See Past Rubble.

> The Atlantic: Puerto Rico's recovery is more uncertain than ever:

Interior towns like Utuado and Barranquitas face total isolation, landslides, and dwindling supplies. FEMA estimates that over a third of the islanders are in need of water, a fact underscored by alarming reports that some people have tried to obtain drinking water from contaminated EPA Superfund sites.

In all, millions of people are struggling to find basic necessities, and the presence of federal aid has been tenuous or lacking in rural areas. People are dying, and people will likely continue to die from worsening illnesses.

> Axios looks at how NetHope and tech companies are working to bring the internet back to Puerto Rico:

What's unique about Puerto Rico is that the electric grid was basically wiped out. Most emergencies [involve] repairing any power outages and standing back up electricity and power in a few places. In this case power is a challenge everywhere.



> #IPO La Nación: El "unicornio" Despegar cotiza en Bolsa bajo la mirada de sus fundadores:

"El IPO es un medio para otras cosas. Pero cada uno tiene su sueño y para muchos ese es su momento de gloria. Para mí ese momento sería ver a la compañía grande y desde afuera, independiente de los fundadores. Es como un hijo: los padres están contentos cuando tomás las decisiones correctas."
— Roby Souvirón, Despegar co-founder

> #FINTECH TechCrunch looks at how Konfio, Kueski and Kubo.financiero are taking on “Mexico’s lending problem,” where 75 million people lack access to the kind of financial services and lending support that they would need to start a small business.

> Apertura interviews Auth0 founders Eugenio Pace and Matías Woloski on their trajectory from launching in 2013 to their US$30m round this year with Meritech Capital Partners. Existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures, and K9 Ventures also participated.

> BusinessInsider: Chilean Based Crowdfunding Platform RedCapital Successfully Closes First Campaign.

> Tus viajes en Uber serán asegurados por Axa y Sura: Uber partnered with Axa and Sura to offer Uber drivers and riders in Mexico accident and theft insurance (at no cost to Uber drivers).

> Reuters: Mexico tech industry benefits from US anti-immigration stance:

Amazon, Facebook, Cisco and other US tech companies are expanding operations south of the border as Mexico works to capitalize on the Trump administration’s anti-immigration stance.

> Read why Amazon Web Services (AWS) opened offices in Bogotá and Santiago.

> Crunchbase News editor Alex Wilhelm says The US share of global early-stage capital dropped again:

Historically, Silicon Valley has served as the de facto hub for tech. But that is under assault from markets both domestic and abroad. Hotspots in China, India, Latin America, and Europe are showing increasing maturity and growth.

> The Guardian: Black and Latino representation in Silicon Valley has declined, study shows.

> Harvard Business Review: Startup Accelerators Have Become More Popular in Emerging Markets — and They’re Working:

We were surprised to find that emerging market ventures are typically older than startups applying to accelerator programs in high-income countries, are earning more revenue, and have hired more employees. Despite this, ventures in high-income countries attract roughly twice as much early stage investment as these promising emerging market ventures.

> Check out the 2016 LAVCA Accelerator Directory for a list of verified accelerators based in Latin America, and accelerators with specific programs dedicated to the region.

> CBInsights has some interesting data points comparing VC in global markets (LatAm was not included):

  • Germany was the top region outside the US for raising a second round of funding. It also saw highest overall exit rate of all non-US regions.
  • Chinese companies raised follow-on funding faster than all other regions. Chinese companies also raised significantly larger rounds.
  • India saw the lowest rate of companies funded between the seed and Series A rounds. It was also the only region to see a decrease in median round size — median investment dropped from US$32m in round 4 to US$15.2m in round 5.


> WSJ: Beijing Pushes for a Direct Hand in China’s Big Tech Firms, including Tencent, Weibo, and an Alibaba subsidiary. INTERESTING

> NYTimes: As US Confronts Internet’s Disruptions, China Feels Vindicated

> NYTimes: Facebook Faces a New World as Officials Rein In a Wild Web:

More than 50 countries have passed laws over the last five years to gain greater control over how their people use the web. China has blocked Facebook and Twitter since mid-2009, after an outbreak of ethnic rioting in the western part of the country. In recent years, similar barriers have gone up for Google services and other apps, like Line and Instagram….

Today, the overwhelming majority of Chinese citizens use local online services like Qihoo 360 and Sina Weibo. No American-made apps rank among China’s 50 most popular services, according to SAMPi, a market research firm.



> Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi argues that the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to provide clean water and sanitation, quality education, and affordable clean energy among other goals, “offer a pragmatic roadmap for effective business investment”:

Private finance is key. It represents one of the most scalable solutions to tackling global challenges. But from our experience, when you blend financing from private investors and operating partners with public development finance institutions, you generate an economic rate of return that is incredibly powerful.

> Pierre Omidyar outlines six ways social media has become a direct threat to democracy.

> Jalak Jobanputra of Future\Perfect Ventures raises key questions about the application of blockchain in society: “While we may not be able to predict every scenario, it’s important to have mechanisms in place to alert us when an automated system is working against society or certain rules we operate by.”

> Homan Yuen at NewGen Capital talks through the math of becoming a VC.

> Nathan Lustig at Magma Partners shares insights from Latin American entrepreneurs doing cross-border tech.



> David Galbraith argues that blockchains’ real value comes from their un-hackability, not their decentralisation:

A public database based on this technology that is literally money, that has managed to survive being successfully hacked for several years, is nothing short of miraculous.

> “Bright dings of pseudo-pleasure”: The Guardian interviews the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia, including Justin Rosenstein, the engineer who created the Facebook “like” button, and now spends very little time on social media:

Everyone is distracted all of the time…. One reason I think it is particularly important for us to talk about this now is that we may be the last generation that can remember life before.

> The Guardian: Goodbye — and good riddance — to livestock farming:

While we call ourselves animal lovers, and lavish kindness on our dogs and cats, we inflict brutal deprivations on billions of animals that are just as capable of suffering. The hypocrisy is so rank that future generations will marvel at how we could have failed to see it.

The shift will occur with the advent of cheap artificial meat. Technological change has often helped to catalyse ethical change. The US$300m deal China signed last month to buy lab-grown meat from Israel marks the beginning of the end of livestock farming.

>  AgFunder News says funding to food startups developing protein alternatives is increasing, with 17 deals raising US$206m in the first half of 2017 representing a 60% increase over 2016.


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