LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin February 6, 2019

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

> 🦄 #UNICORNS SoftBank will lead a US$190m (and up to US$500m) investment in Gympass, a Brazilian B2B gym membership platform with global operations, at a reported valuation of US$1.1b. 

  • Gympass operates in 10+ countries and launched in the US last year. Investors include General Atlantic, Redpoint eventures, KaszeK Ventures, Valor Capital, and Atomico.

> #RIDESHARE Grin and Yellow jointly raised US$150m and merged to form Grow Mobility in Latin America, only a few months after Grin merged with Ride in Brazil. The joint venture has over 1,000 employees based in the region, about 100,000 scooters and 35,000 bikes.

    Grin and Yellow both raised notably large Series A investments in 2018:
    • Grin, a Mexican e-scooter startup run by CEO Sergio Romo, raised a US$45.7m Series A from Lukasz Gadowski—Founder of Delivery Hero, Shasta Ventures, DCM, SV Angel, Trinity Ventures, monashees, Base10 Partners, Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Liquid2 Ventures.
    • GGV Capital led a US$63m Series A investment in Yellow, a Brazilian dockless bike-sharing service, with participation from monashees+, Grishin Robotics, Base10 Partners, and Class 5.
    • Grin CEO Sergio Romo is CEO of the new venture and Yellow co-founder Ariel Lambrecht will become Chief Product Officer.

    Pedro Waengertner of ACE comments: “Mas mal se passaram 3 meses de competição direta entre as duas startups e elas resolveram anunciar uma fusão.”

    More on this deal from The Information:

      GGV and Monashees pushed for the deal, believing a combined firm could have more bargaining power from suppliers, a person familiar with the matter said. Hans Tung, managing partner of GGV, said they also thought the merged firm would have a better chance of heading off threats from larger companies like ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, which bought the Brazilian ride-hailing firm 99 last year and could enter the bike and scooter market in Latin America.

> monashees and the IFC led a US$14.3m Series A in Colombian logistics platform Liftit, with participation from Jaguar Ventures, MELI Fund, NXTP Labs, and others. LiftIt previously raised US$2.2m from 80+ investors.

> Elephant and Peak Ventures led a US$16m Series A investment in Mosyle, a Brazilian MDM (Mobile Device Management) software company for Apple devices. DGF Investimentos invested previously.

  • Mosyle moved into the enterprise market with the launch of Mosyle Business after expanding into the US with its education MDM, Mosyle Manager, in 2017.
  • READ LAVCA’s interview with Founder & CEO Alcyr Araujo.

> Valor Capital led a R$11.5m investment in Gupy, an AI-powered recruiting platform, with participation from Maya Capital, a new VC fund run by Lara Lemann and Monica Saggioro, and existing investor Canary.

> IGNIA, Ataria Ventures, and Banco Sabadell made a US$3.5m investment in GoTrendier, a clothing resale marketplace founded in Mexico by Spanish entrepreneurs, to fund expansion to Colombia and Chile.

  • Previous investors include Antai Venture Capital, Bonsai Venture Capital, and Pedralbes Partners.

> OLX, a global classifieds marketplace backed by Naspers, acquired Properati Brasil. The new entity is called Casafy and is supported by a R$8m investment from European funds Telor, Morcote, and others.

  • In 2018, OLX merged with most of Properati’s operations, including in Argentina, but Brazil, Chile and Mexico remained independent at the time. Properati investors include NXTP Labs and NEVEQ.

> Adianta, a Brazilian receivables fintech for small businesses, raised US$8m from DGF Investimentos, 42K Investimentos, Chromo Investimentos, Capital Lab, and previous investors Yellow Ventures and OsherTech, among others.

> Carao Ventures led a US$2m follow-on investment in Speratum, a Costa Rican biotech focused on microRNA-directed oncology therapies primarily for pancreatic and ovarian cancers. Carao previously invested US$800k when Speratum was founded in 2014.

> #CVC EDP Ventures made its first Brazilian investment in Delfos, an intelligent maintenance platform applying AI to the energy industry, participating in a R$1.5m round with Bossa Nova Investimentos and BMG Uptech.

> #HEALTHTECH Chilean dental tech startup Purple Dental raised US$1m from biotech accelerator GaneshaLab, ChileGlobal Ventures, and others. Purple Dental was accelerated at MassChallenge.

> Criatec 3, managed by Inseed Investimentos, made a R$2.5m investment in Justto, a Brazilian software startup that automates the process of negotiating legal agreements, with a focus on consumer and labor law.

> #EU Mundi Ventures led a US$8.5m Series A in Sherpa, a Spanish language digital voice assistant.



> Bloomberg reports SoftBank is preparing a LatAm fund that “could reach several billion dollars in size.”

  • SoftBank has already invested in 99, Loggi, and Gympass in Brazil.
  • This fund is separate from SoftBank’s Vision Fund; unclear if it will include backing from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund given repercussions of the Khashoggi assassination.
  • SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian, will run the new fund. Masayoshi Son recruited Claure from Brightstar in 2013; he went on to run Sprint and sold to T-Mobile.

> #REALESTATE Marcelo Fedak is leaving Blackstone Brasil to launch Blue Macaw, a real estate fund that plans to raise US$250m-US$500m.



> Brazilian online lender Banco Agibank SA is considering an IPO in the US after recent listings on Nasdaq and NYSE by Stone Pagamentos, PagSeguro, and Arco Educação. Expect delays.



> Siigo, a Colombian ERP software startup, acquired Ilimitada in Medellin to accelerate growth. Accel-KKR invested in Siigo in 2017.



> 🎤 READ: LAVCA spoke with Paul Carttar, the co-founder of the International Venture Philanthropy Center (IVPC) and former Director of the Social Innovation Fund (a priority program of the Obama Administration), about the significant role of private investment in effecting social change through impact and ESG:

    Many of the most exciting “impact investment” opportunities relate to very early-stage, high-risk technologies or enterprises that are in fact the “stock and trade” of VCs... I would expect to see more VCs position themselves explicitly as social impact investors, which is likely to imply a significant increase in their emphasis and capabilities relating to due diligence around social outcomes.

> Acumen Latam Capital Partners led a US$4.5m Series A in Peruvian edtech Crehana, with participation from Dila Capital, Mountain Nazca Mexico, and previous investors Rethink Education, Howzat Partners, and others.

  • Rethink Education and others invested US$900k in 2017. Crehana was accelerated at Wayra Perú.

> Accion Venture Lab led an undisclosed investment in Jeitto, a Brazilian fintech offering a mobile purchases and payments app for underserved consumers.

> TPG launched Y Analytics, an independent public benefit corporation that wants to provide actionable data to impact investors.

  • TPG is raising a second US$3b Rise Fund for impact investments.
  • Rise Fund backer Bono says, “Capitalism isn’t immoral, but it is amoral and it needs direction.”

> Emily Feenstra explains why Omidyar Network invested in Laboratoria, a Peruvian coding school for women:

  • More than 22 million young people in Latin America and the Caribbean neither work nor study…. 16 million are women.
  • Software development will be the fastest growing career in the next decade, with Latin America requiring over 1.2 million developers by 2025.
  • In Latin America, the gender gap in tech is alarmingly high. Fewer than 7% of Peruvian web developers in 2014 were women. In Mexico, 10% of programmers are women, while in Chile it is 5%.

> The Economist is hosting Investing for Impact in New York next week (Feb. 12). More details.

> NEXT MONTH: PEI/UNPRI are hosting the Responsible Investment Forum on March 5-6 in New York.


> 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.



Amazon is selling directly to customers in Brazil for the first time ever — but Business Insider says, “a tough retail climate might make the company 'uncomfortable'.”

  • Amazon is not offering payment plans but will accept Boleto on all orders.
  • RELATED: Amazon is having trouble trademarking “Alexa” in Chile.

> Mexico City has grown into Spotify’s largest listener base, ahead of New York and London, according to the Financial Times.

> Mercado Pago partnered with Bancolombia to roll out digital payments for the bank’s small business clients.

> Brazil’s largest banks launched Quod, a data management company for positive credit scoring.

> FT says Sequoia Capital launched an Asia startup program to provide early-stage entrepreneurs with mentorship and capital:

Asia has witnessed a shortage of domestic capital for startups, especially in India. “You can’t survive in India without foreign capital,” said Naveen Tewari, the founder of InMobi, a Bangalore-based start-up that has not received money from Sequoia. “But all too often you give up real control by selling too large a stake.”

Bloomberg: Maduro Fights Back With Targeted Killings and Media Blackout.

> PRI: Brazil's new president targets Amazon rainforest, Indigenous peoples.


> Facebook plans to unify the underlying architecture behind Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, and making it all default encrypted. The apps collectively have 3.8 billion users globally.

> Apple had a major privacy breach on Facetime—on National Privacy Day. Not to be confused with the Apple/Facebook/Google privacy issue.

> Uber hired a Chief Privacy Officer, Intel and TomTom alum Ruby Zefo. Also, Bloomberg published sealed documents from the Uber/Waymo case.

> Bloomberg on new version of NAFTA:

    It] contains the most pro-business digital provisions of any trade deal, say experts such as Georgetown’s Chander. The accord… enshrines the right of data to flow freely across North America and bans any requirements by governments that even sensitive data be stored on domestic servers, something countries including Australia, Indonesia, and Russia have pushed for in recent years.



#SPACETECH Satellogic partnered with China Great Wall Industry Corp to launch 90 micro-satellites aboard Chinese space rockets over the next two years.

  • Satellogic has launched eight satellites to date. Founder/CEO Emiliano Kargieman says this is “really a milestone.”

> Former Easy COO Gustavo Vaz launched EmCasa, a Brazilian tech-enabled real estate brokerage, and raised US$20k from First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund.

> Cabify is planning to launch scooters and e-motos in Mexico under the brand Movo.

Hogaru, a Colombian subscription cleaning service for small businesses, almost doubled full-time employees in 2018, currently employing over 900 people and performs over 35k services monthly.

> Nubank has over 1,300 employees and is hiring 400 more people across categories.

> Where Thoughts Go is a VR experiment by Brazilian developer Lucas Rizzotto:

    Unlike other social networks, which may serve to curate an online personality or “brand,” it’s an experience that seems to prioritize open catharsis and empathy. It’s more akin to projects like PostSecret or apps like Whisper, where people confess their secrets.

> 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.


> Google Brasil launched an internship for black professionals. Spread the word.

> ABStartups awarded Camila Farani (angel investor of the year), Darwin (accelerator), Edtools (startup), and others.

Startupbootcamp Scale Fintech announced its second cohort:

  • Mexico: Mango Life, Prestanómico, Vexi
  • Colombia: Ualet
  • USA: Mosabi

> 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

> Startup Huddle launches Feb. 6 in Rio de Janeiro. Details here.

> Darwin Startups is accepting applications for its programs in São Paulo and Florianopolis. Apply by Feb. 10.

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

> WOW Aceleradora is accepting applications for its 13th cohort. Early-stage startups can apply by Feb. 17.

> 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.

> Sebastián Aldasoro, formerly of ARCAP, was promoted to CMO of NXTP Labs.

> LAVCA is hiring! LAVCA is seeking qualified candidates for a Digital Marketing Manager position. The role is to be based out of the organization's New York headquarters. APPLY HERE or



> Federico Antoni of ALLVP shares his outlook for 2019:

“If last year felt confusing sometimes depressing, this year will feel worse. The world will face new challenges under terrible leadership.”

AND: “I think the massive trend of venture capital globalization will get stronger this year.”

> Romero Rodrigues of Redpoint eventures predicts exits ahead for the Brazilian market in 2019:

Some people question why there are no Series B or Series C rounds in Brazil, but companies are getting to that stage now. There were no exit transactions because it just wasn't possible yet.

> Nathan Lustig of Magma Partners says US accelerators are embracing Latin American startups — and it’s paying off, with examples from Platzi and Rappi to Grin and SimpliRoute.

> ACE and BTG Pactual’s BoostLAB have a new report on the rise of fintech investment and counts over 100 payments startups in Brazil.

> Eduardo Bitrán talks about filling the gap of growth capital for Chilean startups:

La Asociación Chilena de Capital de Riesgo (ACVC) y la propia Corfo propusieron incentivar la creación de fondos para invertir en la fase de desarrollo de las empresas. Existe una propuesta concreta de permitir a Corfo participar como accionista minoritario pasivo en estas estructuras, lo cual estimularía el desarrollo de fondos más grandes con participación privada mayoritaria.

> Ingrid Fung of Finistere Ventures says a notable number of CVC and PE players are investing in early-stage agtech in LatAm.

> BNAmericas says Edtech is the Multi-Billion Dollar Untapped Opportunity in LatAm.

> Crunchbase News says 2018 was a record year for investment in female-founded startups:

In 2018, US$38.9b was invested in companies with a female founder, representing 17% of venture dollars funded globally. 

Term Sheet says that number is more like 12%: “In 2018, all female founders combined received $10 billion less in funding than e-cigarette company Juul took in by itself.”

NEA closed the most deals with female founders.#CHANGETHERATIO

> Lux Capital’s Josh Wolfe, who spoke at LAVCA’s 2017 annual meeting, tells the WSJ the attitude in Silicon Valley is shifting, swapping 'fear of missing out' for 'shame of being suckered.'

> Samir Kaji of First Republic shares insights from a survey of US emerging VC funds, which he qualified as “firms that were on a Fund III or below, and the majority of funds were sub-$100MM in size.”

> ILPA, Cambridge Associates, LAVCA and many others pledged to employ the term "key person" to replace "key man" in all Limited Partner Agreements (LPAs) and relevant documents. “Words matter and the term ‘key man’ is outdated and overdue for replacement,” says ILPA CEO Steve Nelson. #KEYPERSONPLEDGE



> #AI DeepMind’s AlphaStar AI can beat a world-class human at Starcraft II. DeepMind made headlines a few years ago for beating AlphaGo. Exponential View explains why this is a huge deal:

The state-space complexity of Starcraft II is 10^1685 or about 1000-orders of magnitude more complex than Go; which in turn was about 100-orders of magnitude more complex than Chess. It took us 18 years to advance from mastering Chess to mastering Go.

> #PRIVACY Addressable ad technology is finally rolling out in the US. Addressable ads, AKA the holy grail of TV advertising, are ads that can be targeted to specific households via user data.

> CBInsights: Our Meatless Future: How The US$90b Global Meat Market Gets Disrupted.

Despite high-profile deals in the sector, the industrial meat industry faces a rising tide of challenges, in the form of interrelated business, ethical, and environmental concerns. Today, they also face a unique political situation — since the US and China entered into their trade conflict, shares of WH Group [#1 pork producer globally] have dropped nearly 50%.

Meanwhile, startups using technology to engineer meat in labs or manufacture it from plant-based products are rising in popularity. Meatless food products from beef-free burgers to pea-based shrimp threaten the future of the meat giants.

> Bloomberg goes inside Fortnite and the future of global trade: “The digital economy is everywhere, and much of it is international without our even knowing it”:

Epic Games Inc., the North Carolina-based studio behind the title, is 40 percent owned by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., one of the world’s largest social media companies. That Fortnite is free to play and has more than 200 million registered users worldwide is thanks in large part to the $330 million investment that Tencent made in 2012.

Discussions about globalization—and its costs and benefits—often focus on physical goods such as steel beams, cars, or soybeans. The reality is that the integration of economies is increasingly a digital one that happens in invisible daily bursts—like the sessions in which far-flung armies of Fortnite players face off against each other on an imaginary island.

In some cases, the World Trade Organization pointed out in a report last year, the rapid propagation of digital technologies has contributed to a false picture of globalization in retreat as shipping containers filled with hardcovers and DVDs are replaced by e-book downloads and streaming music.


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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