LatAm Venture Bulletin

LatAm Venture Bulletin December 19, 2018

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LatAm Venture Bulletin

This marks the final edition of the LatAm Venture Bulletin in 2018. THANK YOU to our members, readers, partners, and the VC/tech community for engaging with us so actively in 2018. 

Since launching the newsletter in 2016, and especially over the last 12 months, we have seen incredible momentum around this space in Latin America. Notably, significant milestones from global tech players, record startup creation and investment, and a spike in international interest, participation, and readership. We are excited to see what the new year brings!

We will resume bi-weekly frequency after a brief break over the holidays. In the meantime, please share relevant news with


> IGNIA and Dalus Capital led a US$6.5m investment in Mexican online payments platform UnDosTres, with participation from InnoCells, the corporate venture arm of Banco Sabadell.

> New York VC Palm Drive Capital led a US$5m Series A in LentesPlus, an online retailer for contact lenses, with participation from existing investors IGNIA and InQlab. LentesPlus is headquartered in Bogotá, with operations in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina. Stella Maris invested previously.

> DILA Capital led a €2m investment in BEWE, a Mexican SaaS platform for beauty retailers, with participation from The Venture City, Toro Ventures, and existing investors Variv Capital, Seaya Ventures, and Mountain Nazca.

> Global Founders Capital led a US$1.2m investment in Creditoo, an online payroll loan platform for Brazilian private sector employees, with participation from Canary. Creditoo also raised over R$100m through an FIDC (Fundo de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios) to realize payroll-deductible loans.

> Global venture builder techtools ventures invested R$3m in Eirene Solutions, a Brazilian agtech machinery startup.

> Redpoint eventures and DGF Investimentos made an undisclosed Series B investment in GESTO, a big data startup for Brazilian healthcare plans.

  • Redpoint eventures Partner Manoel Lemos says GESTO is using machine learning to sift through data on more than 6 million patients in its database to help select better insurance plans for corporations that optimize patient care while controlling costs.
  • CEO Fabiana Salles says the company grew by 100% in 2017 after introducing a benefits brokerage product. The plan is to triple growth in the next two years and “be among the most recognized brands in the category of benefits consulting."

> #EDTECH Omidyar Network made an undisclosed investment in Agenda Edu, a Brazilian school management and communication platform.

  • DOMO Invest made a R$3m investment earlier this year. Agenda Edu is also supported by Fundação Lemann.

> Distrito Ventures made an undisclosed investment in Ali Credito, a Brazilian consumer credit platform.

> Lighthouse Investimentos made undisclosed investments in POS Controle (mobile payments for small retailers) and Catálogo Delivery (last mile delivery).

> Manutara Ventures made an undisclosed investment in Barracks, a Chilean analytics software for gaming.

> Intel Capital led a US$3m investment in Aerial Technologies, a Canadian wifi motion detection SaaS, with participation from Telefonica Ventures and others.

> Mindset Ventures participated in the US$125m Series C in BREX, a US-based unicorn offering credit card services for startups. Mindset partner Daniel Ibri invested in the Brazilian co-founders’ previous company,

> #PE Monroe Capital Management Advisors invested in Mexican IT company AN Global.



> US beauty retail giant Ulta Beauty acquired GlamST, a Uruguayan AR platform for beauty brands and retailers, for an undisclosed amount. GlamST investors include 500 Startups, Hunt Technology Ventures, Reflex Capital, and GrowthX.

> Pão de Açúcar acquired Brazilian delivery startup James Delivery for an undisclosed amount.

> Chilean logistics company Patagon Logistics merged with Chinese shipping giant Sparx Logistics.

> #AVIATION Boeing agreed to buy an 80% stake in the commercial aviation business of Brazil's Embraer at an enterprise value of US$5.26b, according to Pro Rata.



> Qualcomm Ventures launched a US$100m global AI fund, with an inaugural Series A investment in Israel-based AnyVision.

> Desenvolve SP launched a program to provide R$8m in interest-free credit to startups. Valor reports the program will initially be limited to the almost 200 startups who have passed through the PIPE innovation program at Fapesp in São Paulo.

> BNDES will invest R$1.3-R$2.2b in Brazilian PE and VC funds, with a concentration on tech, infrastructure, education, health, public security, sustainability, and productivity.

> Mexican corporate GINgroup launched a program to support entrepreneurs that includes a media for equity fund.

> #PE El Economista says eleven Cerpis were registered on Mexico’s BMV so far this year, with projects in infrastructure, energy, tourism, and private capital locally and abroad.



> TPG is seeking US$3b for The Rise Fund II, its second social impact fund. In Latin America, the inaugural US$2b Rise Fund is invested in Digital House (Argentina), Grupo VI-DA (Brazil), and Bankingly (Uruguay).

> Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund Invested an undisclosed amount in Mexico’s Kampachi Company, a sustainable offshore aquaculture operation that raises King Kampachi, a sashimi-grade marine fish.

> VIllage Capital published a new report on strategies for inclusive investment, including revenue sharing structures, place-based multi-asset-class funds, and peer-based diligence.

> BIO, the Belgian development agency, published a feature by Julissa Rojas Flores, CEO of a cardboard box factory, on being a female entrepreneur in Peru.

> Forbes: Why Venture Capital Is The Original Impact Investing.

> Fast Company digs into the proliferation of B Corps.

> GIIN CEO Amit Bouri on impact vs ESG investing:

The responsible investing movement started in 1970s with a focus on using investment for good – by divesting from things you considered harmful. It started with the anti-apartheid movement, then firearms and tobacco. Impact investing incorporates values into investing, to achieve positive social or environmental results. It’s not just about avoiding, or about mitigating risk, but it is also about addressing inequality, climate change, increased access to financial services and healthcare and housing for poor people.

> Topics and themes were announced for the Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto (FLII), taking place Feb. 19-21 in Mérida, Mexico. For a special LAVCA 50% discount, use code ACAF19 before Jan. 18.

> SAVE THE DATE for the Responsible Investment Forum New York hosted by UNPRI and PEI on March 5-6. Register here.



> Recode on Didi vs Uber in Mexico:

While Didi has been fighting proxy battles against Uber around the world through its investments in multiple international competitors like Ola in India; Careem in the Middle East; Taxify in Europe and Africa; and via its acquisition of Brazil’s 99, this will be the first time Didi will be actively battling the US-based ride-hail player outside of China.

Bloomberg reports WeWork rival Knotel is launching in Brazil as office demand swells on the heels of WeWork’s aggressive expansion in Latin America.

  • Knotel’s investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Bloomberg Beta and commercial real estate broker Newmark Knight Frank. Fabio Bergamo, GM for Brazil, is leading the LatAm expansion.

> Xiaomi launched in Chile with a limited inventory of smartphones, watches, and scooters.

> Alphabet’s Jigsaw is rolling out its AI-powered toxic comment detection in Spanish.

> BBC: G20 en Argentina: las 7 empresas tecnológicas de América Latina que rompieron la barrera de los US$1.000 millones en 2018.

> Axios says US firms are looking to India as the next media battleground:



> The AMLO administration is closing down INADEM, Mexico’s Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor.

  • INADEM has invested in dozens of Mexican VC funds since 2013, including LIV Capital, IGNIA, ALLVP, DILA Capital, Ideas y Capital, and ON Ventures, which helped drive record VC fundraising and investment levels in Mexico in 2016.
  • In September, INADEM launched a MX$50m pilot program to encourage more angel investment by guaranteeing a portion of any potential investment losses.
  • Fortune looks at the future of Mexican VC without INADEM.
  • IGNIA Managing Partner Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui: "No le atribuyo a los esfuerzos de gobierno el crecimiento del ecosistema en los últimos años, en lo más mínimo, pero muchos dentro del ecosistema emprendedor los van a extrañar. Probablemente se regrese al modelo anterior de tener una la subsecretaría pyme.”

> Mexico is piloting an automatic tax payment system with Uber. Bloomberg reports it will allow ride-hailing and food delivery drivers to withhold/report monthly income.

> #CRYPTO The Chilean Central Bank is working on regulating cryptocurrencies.

> Microsoft is pushing the US to regulate the use of facial recognition technologies by the private sector as well as the government. Microsoft president Brad Smith says the time is now:

Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.

> #PRIVACY Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants oppose a new Australian law that would force tech companies to turn over encrypted data for certain criminal investigations.

> Adios Google+.



> US-based Holberton School is partnering with Rappi and local nonprofit Coderise to open two coding schools in Colombia.

  • Rappi CEO Simón Borrero: “The ability of Holberton to attract students of all genders, rich or poor, educated or not and to effectively train them on in-demand skills is exactly what’s needed.”
  • Holberton is backed by Trinity Ventures, Omidyar Network, and others. Artists Priyanka Chopra and NE-YO joined the board of advisors to help attract students from under-represented backgrounds.

> Nubank launched new debit card and cash withdrawal products.

> Brazilian bikeshare Yellow plans to expand into major cities in Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Uruguay.

> Chilean crowdlending platform Cumplo is expanding to the US.

  • Co-founder Guillermo Acuña recently told LAVCA that Cumplo’s average lending rate is lower than Cabbage, a referential American crowdlending platform that has facilitated over US$4b in loans to small businesses.
  • Cumplo is a B Corp backed by ALLVP, which led an undisclosed round with the participation of Ripple Labs founder and angel investor Chris Larsen.

> Chilean real estate platform is expanding to Peru. Aurus Capital invested US$1.4m earlier this year.

> InovAtiva Brasil profiles female founders behind ticketing startup Boletão, biotech New Tissue, healthtech Aya Tech, edtech Blend Edu, and Workay, a civil construction certification/services platform.

> DILA Capital has made 34 investments to date, including Ben & Frank, Kinedu, Creze, and others.

> 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.



📋 LAST CHANCE TO PARTICIPATE: LAVCA, with the support of Facebook, is conducting the first-ever survey of Latin American startups. Results will be shared globally to help put Latin American tech innovation on the map.

All qualifying respondents will receive access to LAVCA’s Fund Manager Directory, with the contact details of 200+ VC and PE firms investing in Latin America (US$795 value). 

✔️PARTICIPATE IN THE SURVEY. This survey is multiple choice and should take a startup CEO or founder no more than 12-15 minutes to complete. 


> Google for Startups and ABStartups partnered to support startups outside of the big Brazilian cities with networking, workshops, and mentorship.

> Applications are open for the 2019 Startups to Watch list, organized by Pequenas Empresas & Grandes Negócios e Época NEGÓCIOS, and EloGroup. Brazilian startups can apply by Jan. 4.

> InvestChile is hosting the 5th International Investment Forum in Santiago, Jan. 15-17. LAVCA President Cate Ambrose will participate as a speaker and in a afternoon VC Workshop. More info. and register here.

> 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.

> Congrats to the eight edtech startups that pitched at the Global EdTech Startups Awards (GESA) semifinals at INCmty. BabySparks, a Colombian platform for new parents, is headed to the finals in London.

Argentina: Digital House, Eidos Global
Chile: Colegium, Ludibuk
Colombia: BabySparks
Mexico: Bedu, Leaducate
Peru: Crehana

> TheVentureCity hired Ricardo Sangion, former head of Pinterest Latin America, as VP of TVC’s Growth Accelerator  for the  Americas.



> The Economist looks at the rise of family offices globally, and how they invest.

> El Financiero looks at ALLVP’s exit of Cornershop through a US$225m sale to Walmart.

  • ALLVP Partner Federico Antoni: “Fue la primera operación de compra en México de una empresa fondeada con ‘venture capital’ con una compañía trasnacional.”

> Nathan Lustig of Magma Partners for Crunchbase: 2018: The Year VC In Latin America Began To Close The Gap.

> Wayra has invested €1m in female entrepreneurs globally in 2018. About 25% of its historic portfolio includes female co-founders #CHANGETHERATIO.

> Insper professor Marcelo Nakagawa reports that investors who use pitch meetings to hit on entrepreneurs is not just an American phenomenon.

> YC’s Aaron Harris asks: When is it time to shut your company down?

> Ali Temaseb, an associate at DCVC, produced 100 charts on unicorns.

> Bloomberg: Venture Capitalists Are Taking $18-an-Hour Jobs to Understand the Gig Economy.

> Martin Tisne, Managing Director of Luminate and Partner at Omidyar Network, proposes a Bill of Data Rights in MIT Technology Review:

We need a new “paradigm [which captures] the ways in which an ambient blanket of data changes our relationships with one another—as family, as friends, as co-workers, as consumers, and as citizens. To do so, this paradigm must be grounded in a foundational understanding that people have data rights and that governments must safeguard those rights.”



> IDB Lab organized LAC-Chain, an alliance with Alastria, RSK, Consensys, Ethereum Foundation, Hyperledger, MIT Media Lab and others, focused on blockchain applications for social good in Latin America.

> What would happen if Apple rolled out a payment token?



> MIT Technology Review: EXCLUSIVE: Chinese scientists are creating CRISPR babies.

> The Atlantic: The CRISPR baby scandal gets worse by the day: The alleged creation of the world's first gene-edited infants was full of technical errors and ethical blunders. Here are the 15 most damning details:

Regardless of the risks or merits of the experiment, it reveals a vulnerability at the heart of modern science. That is: Small groups of researchers can make virtually unilateral decisions about experiments that have potentially global consequences, and that everyone else only learns about after the fact. He Jiankui’s experiment reveals that vulnerability in the starkest-possible light.

> The New Yorker looks at first experiments linking humans to mind-controlled prosthetics and robots, and the role of the US’ secretive DARPA agency in funding the research.

> Former US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger talks about consequences we have failed to fully reckon with for The Atlantic:

The most difficult yet important question about the world into which we are headed is this: What will become of human consciousness if its own explanatory power is surpassed by AI, and societies are no longer able to interpret the world they inhabit in terms that are meaningful to them?

> NYT Op-Ed: Would human extinction be a tragedy?


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The Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America.

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