LatAm List – The Argentine early-stage VC, Kaszek Ventures, just became the first local Latin American fund to manage over $1B in capital between its five funds. In closing its fourth and fifth fund within just two months of opening, Kaszek announced that it raised $600M to invest in Latin American startups.
The Argentine fund is already one of the most active in the region, raising its first $95M fund in 2011. Founded by Hernan Kazeh and Nicolas Szekazy, Kaszek was born of the success of Latin America’s leading e-commerce platform: MercadoLibre.
“We thought we could identify many more MercadoLibres and identify teams that were outstanding and would have a very ambitious vision in a very large market,” said Szekasy. “I thought I could have more impact if I moved and started working on the investing side.”
Since 2011, Kaszek Ventures has had a hand in several of Latin America’s most successful companies, including becoming one of the first investors in Brazil’s Nubank. The fund also helped Chile’s NotCo make the connection with Bezos Expeditions, who later invested.
Kaszek’s recent fourth and fifth fund include a $375M main fund and a $225M “Opportunity Fund” for follow-ons into their larger companies. The firm expects to make 25 to 30 investments with the new funds by slightly increasing round sizes.
The rapid growth in the Latin American tech industry since Kaszek was founded has meant significant success for the firm; their first and second funds are posting 8x and 5x returns, respectively. Their third fund, which closed in 2018, is already showing 2x returns.
“…it’s an important benchmark to see one of the key local players raise such a significant fund, and a bellwether for the growing trend of co-investments between local and global venture investors.”
Kaszek Ventures’ most recent investment was in Brazil’s fintech, Creditas, where the fund co-invested with Japanese giant, Softbank. The fund’s founders are long on Latin American tech as the market continues to heat up.
“One of the reasons Latin America was lagging was that the region was not at a critical mass inflection point technologically, but it was also the lack of capital,” said Hernan Kazah. “SoftBank on the one hand provides capital but on the other hand it has opened the eyes of others as well.”