LatAm List – We reported earlier this month that Latin American startups raised more funding in September and the first half of October than in all of 2016. Now that October is over, it is clear that through 19+ deals, Latin American startups raised US$547M+ just in October; meanwhile, the 2016 investment total barely scrapes US$500M. If we include the Cornershop acquisition and the Rappi investment from the end of September, the total capital going to Latin American startups topped US$1B, more than the total raised in all of 2017.
We’ve continued to see record-breaking deals this month, including unexpected partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions that add to the growing dynamism of Latin America’s ecosystem. Here are October’s top Latin American startup deals that you might have missed.
Brazil’s “Square clone” StoneCo IPO’d at the end of October, raising over US$1.5B in its initial offering. The payments processing startup went into the IPO process with commitments from Jack Ma’s Ant Financial and Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway for hundreds of millions in shares. After one day of trading, StoneCo’s shares hit US$32 per share, boosting the company’s valuation above US$9B. StoneCo is Brazil’s fifth company to reach unicorn status this year.
After raising a US$45M Series A in mid-October, Mexican e-scooter startup, Grin, merged with Brazilian e-scooter company, Ride, to enter the Brazilian market. Ride’s team will operate under the Grin brand in Sao Paulo. Grin also partnered with Colombian delivery startup, Rappi, to allow customers to unlock Grin scooters directly through the Rappi app. This move will help Grin expand across the region where Rappi is active, including Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.
Record rounds by UltraCasas and U-Planner
Bolivian real estate portal, Ultracasas, and Chilean higher education analytics software, U-Planner, both raised the biggest rounds for tech companies ever seen by their countries. UltraCasas closed a US$440K preseed round from Orbis Ventures, with participation from Seedstars and Taris. U-Planner raised US$5M led by Scale Capital, the biggest tech round in Chile this year.
Asian mega-investments in Brazilian startups
In October, two Brazilian startups, Nubank and Loggi, raised US$100M+ each from Tencent and Softbank, respectively. Nubank, Latin America’s biggest neobank, reached a US$1B valuation in early 2018, and this investment boosted the startup’s valuation to US$4B. Softbank made good on a speculation that they would invest up to US$150M into Brazilian delivery startup, Loggi, when they invested US$111M in mid-October. These massive investments signal Asia’s growing interest and influence in Latin America’s startup ecosystem, specifically in Brazil.
Chile’s The Bonding, a startup known as the “Tinder for Business,” was acquired by Grupo DNA in mid-October. This was the first acquisition of a company accelerated by Microsoft’s Imagine Lab in Santiago, Chile. Chile had its first major startup exit in September, when Walmart acquired Cornershop for US$225M.
This month’s deals mirror September’s rapid growth pattern. Latin America’s tech deals are getting bigger and more frequent. While international investors, especially from Asia, are boosting the Latin American startups, local partnerships are also helping companies cross borders and consolidate regionally.