LatAm Venture Bulletin January 17, 2018

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

> Didi Chuxing acquired a majority stake in 99 for ~US$600m. This officially puts 99 in unicorn territory. What you need to know:

  • This is one of Didi’s first acquisitions outside of China. Didi is also expanding to its first market outside of China: Mexico.
  • 99 operates in 550 cities in Brazil, with over 160k drivers and 20m users.
  • Didi and Riverwood Capital invested over US$100m in 99 in 2016. Softbank and Riverwood also invested another US$100m in 2017. Other investors include monashees+, Qualcomm Ventures, and Tiger Global.
  • It’s complicated: 99 competes with Uber and Cabify in LatAm. But Didi is also an investor in Uber, and Uber is Didi’s largest shareholder. And Softbank invested in Didi, Uber and 99. Got all that?
  • Folha de São Paulo interviews 99’s Paulo Veras on why he sold to Didi Chuxing: “Fomos atrás.”

> SP Ventures exited Bug, a Brazilian biotech firm, though a sale to Dutch biochemical company Koppert.


> Movile made a US$9m Series A investment in Colombian grocery delivery platform Mercadoni. Axon Partners and Grupo Pegasus invested previously.

  • Mercadoni is Movile’s first investment outside of Brazil.
  • READ our interview with CEO Pedro Freire on why LatAm is an ideal market for grocery delivery.

> The IFC led a R$15m investment in Koin, a Brazilian fintech startup focused on after-delivery payment.

> MercadoLibre (through its MeLi fund), NXTP Labs, and Alaya Capital made a US$3m investment in 123Seguro, an Argentine insurtech startup. This is the company’s first institutional financing. Co-Founder & CTO Bruno Ferrari says:

We are launching a new mobile app in Q1 2018, and planning to expand to Chile in Q2 2018. The seed round is going to help accelerate the growth of online insurance penetration in LatAm, with a transparent business model that helps policyholders and insurers alike.

> Fondo de Capital Privado Emprendimiento e Innovación SP, the corporate venture arm of EPM, made a US$2.2m investment in Reciclados Industriales de Colombia, a startup developing sustainable materials for construction.

> Fip Inseed Fima, the environmental innovation fund (Fundo de Inovação do Meio Ambiente) created by BNDES and managed by Inseed Investimentos, invested R$7.5m in Zazcar, a car-sharing service operating in São Paulo.

> Florianopolis, Brazil-based BZPlan made a R$4m investment in Eadbox, a Brazilian startup developing course distribution software. This is BZPlan’s first investment outside of the Santa Catarina area.

> Accel-KKR acquired I-Med, a Chilean digital healthcare network, for an undisclosed amount.

> Dila Capital led a US$1.6m investment in Camino Financial, an online loan platform for Hispanic small businesses based in the US. Collaborative Fund invested previously.

> Fondo Alerce made a US$1.4m investment in GeneproDX SPA, a Chilean biomedical startup working on thyroid cancer detection:

El cirujano oncólogo Hernán González, fundador y COO, explica que 40% de la población chilena (~7m de personas) presenta nódulos tiroideos, pero 20% de las biopsias no arrojan resultados concluyentes, mientras que 25% de los casos resultan ser malignos.

> BR Startups invested R$2m in Car10, a Brazilian auto maintenance platform that reached US$2m gross merchandise volume in 2017. BB Seguridade, an LP in BR Startups, will also invest up to R$5m in Car10. Fabio Gimenez, Co-Founder of Car10, shares some insights:

Brazil has a large fleet of vehicles (~90m) ,with a significant auto repair and maintenance service market of more than US$4b (with 80,000+ body-shops and auto-shops). Generally speaking, the market is considered to be low tech, with low levels of digital solutions and automation, representing a prime innovation opportunity.

> Cemex and new Chilean VC firm Manutara Ventures made a US$1m investment in Ipsum, a Chilean project management platform for the construction industry. Ipsum was accelerated by Wayra Chile, accelerator of Telefonica Open Future_. Founder/CEO Franco Giaquinto talks about the opportunity:

La construcción es una de las industrias que mas dinero mueve a nivel mundial, pero a la vez una de las mas atrasadas en penetración tecnológica y en IPSUM estamos cambiando eso…. Estamos demostrando que en Latinoamérica también podemos crear soluciones de nivel mundial que actualmente compiten con softwares de Estados Unidos y Europa, con los cuales nuestros clientes y leads nos comparan.

> Promotora Social México and NXTP Labs made an undisclosed seed investment in Lab4U, a Chilean edtech startup disrupting the way science is taught, with participation from local family offices and angels. Startup Chile and CORFO invested previously and Lab4U won WeXchange 2016. READ our interview with Co-Founder & CEO Komal Dadlani.

> Wayra Chile also invested US$500k across three startups: ZappingTV, PostedIn, and Cloner.

> Mexico's IGNIA, Kapor Capital, and others made an undisclosed Series A investment in Regalli, a New York-based white label payments platform.


> Angel Ventures announced a first close of US$30m for its Pacific Alliance VC fund. The firm aims to invest US$120m in 30 entrepreneurs in Perú, Chile, Colombia, and México over the next five years.

> Polymath Ventures now employs 300 people across seven ventures in Latin America. Polymath partnered with private equity investor Mesoamerica last year on a US$40m fund to support Polymath’s ventures. READ more on Colombian VC here.

> A5 Capital Partners launched operations in the US.



> TriLinc Global Impact Fund approved US$22.7m in term loans and trade finance facilities with companies operating in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

> The UN Development Programme’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) partnered with the Social Venture Exchange Mexico (SVX) to explore opportunities for impact investing in nature-related projects and ventures in Mexico.

> The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) published a new study on responsible exits from impact investments, including Adobe Capital’s exit from NatGas Queretaro, a Mexican company that promotes the use of natural gas to power cars.

> The Rise Fund makes its first investment in fintech with a commitment to US-based Acorns.

> Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times details a letter from BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink in BlackRock's Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support.

> New Ventures is hosting the annual Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto (FLII) 2018 in Merida, Mexico February 27 - March 1. Details here.

> El Economista: Te Creemos es reconocida como la mejor sopifo de México en el 2017.

> UNICEF reports on Migrant children using technology in Central America.


> Brazilian automotive services app Easy Carros acquired XMultas for R$10m.

> Digio, a digital credit card offered by Banco CBSS, acquired Poup, a cashback website that was accelerated at Wayra Brasil, for an undisclosed amount.



> OneSkin, a biotech startup with ambitious plans to reverse the aging process, has developed the first algorithm exclusively designed to predict skin’s molecular age. OneSkin is funded by IndieBio and various angel investors.

> Bloomberg: Amazon Is Said to Pit Argentina Versus Chile in Data-Center Race.

> Business Insider: Amazon Echo launches across Europe, Latin America.

> Isto É: 8 motivos para investir em startups agrícolas no Brasil em 2018.

> Axios: Microsoft supports bill to address sexual harassment.

> Erin Griffith for WIRED: Silicon Valley Techies Still Think They’re the Good Guys. They’re Not.

Will anyone ever write another positive story about a tech startup? I said probably not.

> The Atlantic looks into the invisible content moderator labor force in ‘The Basic Grossness of Humans’.


> Smart speakers (Alexa, Google Home, etc.) could be in ⅓ of households in Mexico, Brazil, and the US by the end of 2018, according to a new Accenture study.

> Google Campus in São Paulo has 98,000 members.

> In 2016, women-led tech companies received 2.19% of venture funding. #CHANGETHERATIO

> The 100 most active US based venture firms have only 34 female general partners of 484 in the dataset (less than 7%), according to a recent Crunchbase study.

> The second-most streamed series on Netflix globally is the Brazilian 3% (behind American Vandal), according to Exame.

> Over 1 billion Indians had their biometric data hacked, including thumbprints and retina scans.



> Y Combinator launched a Growth Stage Program for founder-CEOs of post-Series A companies with 50-100 employees who are in the early stages of company-building.

> Chicas Poderosas, a women-in-journalism organization incubated at Stanford, is launching the New Ventures Lab, an accelerator program for women-led media start-ups. The program, funded by a grant from Open Society Foundations, includes training, mentorship, and workshops. Details here.

> Apply to Startupbootcamp Scale FinTech Mexico City, a program for growth stage startups in emerging markets. The deadline is Feb 3. Details here.

> UCLA is hosting the Latin American Business Conference in LA on March 2.

> NYU Stern is hosting their annual VC & PE Conference in New York on March 2.

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

> Finnovista is hosting their first event in 2018 with Finnosummit Colombia on March 22 in Bogotá. Fintech entrepreneurs are invited to participate in the Finnosummit Challenge. Apply by Feb. 25.

> IGNIA welcomes new partners Christine Kenna (formerly a Principal) and Otto Graff (formerly CFO).

> Congrats to, a Brazilian local price comparison platform, for joining Facebook’s FBStart and FBStart para Bem Social.

> ePesos, a mobile wallet based in Mexico, hired Teresa Schroeder as Chief Revenue Officer.



> LAVCA had the pleasure of speaking with Members Juan Lucena (Alba Capital), Hernan Kazah (KaszeK Ventures), Ariel Arietta (NXTP Labs), and Diego Gonzalez-Bravo (Draper Cygnus) about their outlook for 2018 at ARCAP’s inaugural meeting in Buenos Aires. WATCH here.

> Sebastian Vidal of Parallel18 highlights five Puerto Rican startups that are thriving during a year of crisis.

> Nathan Lustig of Magma Partners digs into the history of Groupon LatAm, and Mountain Nazca’s buy-back spree last year. (Mountain Nazca also acquired Peixe Urbano from Baidu).



> Mango Startups is a new early-stage LatAm fund attempting to raise funds via an ICO.

> Reuters: Mexican authorities warn cryptocurrency offerings could be a crime.

> Reuters: South Korea plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, rattles market.

> TNYT: Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble.



> WIRED: Inside China's Vast New Experiment in Social Ranking: It “will ensure that the bad people in society don’t have a place to go, while good people can move freely and without obstruction.” #MUSTREAD

> The Washington Post reports on Xue Liang (“Sharp Eyes”), another Chinese program to build a nationwide surveillance and data-sharing platform:

It will use facial recognition and artificial intelligence to analyze and understand the mountain of incoming video evidence; to track suspects, spot suspicious behaviors and even predict crime; to coordinate the work of emergency services; and to monitor the comings and goings of the country’s 1.4 billion people...

At the back end, these efforts merge with a vast database of information on every citizen, a “Police Cloud” that aims to scoop up such data as criminal and medical records, travel bookings, online purchase and even social media comments — and link it to everyone’s identity card and face.


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