Early stage fund MAYA Capital, founded by Monica Saggioro and Lara Lemann, raised its second venture capital fund to pursue opportunities in one of the most challenging times of the Latin American venture capital market. The Brazilian fund has secured $100 million – more than double of its first fund of $40 million in 2018.
A great number of the investors in fund II are family offices that were already LPs in fund I, which was raised about four years ago. But now, MAYA has also managed to attract institutional investors from the United States and Europe, including large banks and Cendana Capital, an American ‘fund of funds’ that invests in very early stage funds in various geographies (in Latin America, MAYA is Cendana’s first investment).
Monica and Lara have already allocated much of the fund’s capital I and have already found two unicorns: NotCo, which makes plant-based foods, and Merama. The fund keeps a small portion in cash for follow-ons.
MAYA is sector agnostic, but always seeks to be the first check for startups, earning a relevant equity stake that justifies the efforts it makes to help startups. They help both in hiring talent and fundraising with other funds and in commercial efforts, which they call ‘billion dollar intro’.
“We use our network and our connections to help startups connect with their first customers. Last year alone, we made more than 200 of those introductions”, said Lemann.
For example, MAYA helped NotCo close a business partnership with Starbucks in the U.S., and Nile Health closed a deal with Notredame Intermedica.
In Fund II, MAYA has already made five investments and should announce others soon. The first of these was Tarken, a Brazilian agtech that created a grain marketplace. MAYA led the round together with Mandi, the management company owned by Antônio Moreira Salles and Julio Bennetti. MAYA also led the seed round for Finkargo, a Colombian fintech focused on cargo import and export financing.
MAYA’s practices in portfolio selection and support to entrepreneurs are formalized in two programs: the Female Force, which, as the name implies, is aimed at female entrepreneurs (MAYA does not set aside a specific capita for female founders, but has 40% of its portfolio made up of startups that have women among the main partners), and the Matching Program, for those who want to become entrepreneurs and have not yet found a cofounder.
MAYA invested in 29 startups in their first fund, from 12 different sectors in four countries – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Chile.