Interest in crypto and DeFi has exploded over the last year in Latin America. There has been a consistent and massive rise in cryptocurrency, including its fundamental blockchain technology. This comes as no surprise. With a fall in government regulated currencies, Latin Americans have turned to virtual money for a safer and more profitable option.
The population of the financially underserved is not completely known in Latin America. According to statistics, it is estimated that the number is about 70% of the population, that is, over 400 million people. This staggering number will allow DeFi to close the gap and bring the obviously needed financial inclusion to the region.
The trend in LatAm is not lost among venture capital firms. Investments in this sector jumped from $68 million in 2020 to $658 million in 2021, according to industry group Lavca.
Rapid developments in crypto and digital assets have sparked startups all the way from Mexico to Argentina. In this article, we will zoom in to the investment rounds that have taken place to date (Q1 to Q3, 2022).
DeFi Fintech Credix raises $11.25M to develop a next-generation credit platform
Brazil-based Credix has raised $11.25 million in a Series A round led by Motive Partners & ParaFi Capital. The round was also backed by Valor Capital, Victory Park Capital, MGG Investment Group, Circle Ventures, Abra, Fuse Capital and Claure Group, and angel investors including Ricardo Villa Marina, chairman of Itau LatAm.
Credix enables fintech companies and other non-bank lenders to convert their receivables and real assets into investment capital. All financing happens on-chain using USDC & smart contracts, creating instant efficiencies, settlement, and more transparency.
Asset tokenization platform Koibanx raises $22M in investment round
Koibanx, an asset tokenization platform based in Argentina, has raised $22M in its first investment round.
The fintech allows financial entities to tokenize assets and bring them to blockchain, fragment them, enable their use as a means of payment, and exchange with cryptocurrencies.
Peruvian DeFi fintech Fluyez is acquired by Spanish crypto exchange Bit2Me
Bit2Me, the largest Spanish crypto exchange, acquired a majority stake in the Peruvian peer Fluyez. The purchase of the 85% stake was for more than 1 million euros ($1.022 million). The exact figure was not disclosed.
New crypto exchange Digitra receives $5M from Itau’s to accelerate operations
Profitus, a fund owned by Ricardo Vilella Marino, the controlling partner of Itaú Unibanco, invested $5 million in Digitra.com, a new crypto exchange created by Rodrigo Batista, the former CEO and founder of Mercado Bitcoin. Digitra launched in July.
Belo raised $3M to further develop its digital crypto wallet locally and regionally
Belo, an Argentine crypto startup that offers a digital wallet, raised $3 million in a seed round to expand operations in Argentina, and launch to Mexico and Brazil. The seed round featured participation from firms such as CRV, The Venture City, Newtopia, Latitud, Liquid 2, Infinity Ventures Crypto, Magma Partners and Sur VC.
Crypto company SenseiNode received $3.6M to grow its infrastructure
SenseiNode is a platform that allows clients such as fintech, exchanges, banks and other financial institutions, entrepreneurs, wallets and decentralized finance companies (DeFi) and NFT, among others, to have their own nodes.
The company announced a first round of investment totaling of $3.6 million led by Borderless Capital, and followed by five Argentine unicorn founders: Marcos Galperin (MercadoLibre), Martín Migoya (Globant), Miguel Santos (Technisys), Matías Woloski (Auth0) and Patricio Jutard (from Mural, through the Newtopia VC fund). Key players in the crypto and investment world also joined, such as Esteban Ordano (Decentraland), Javier Villamizar (Softbank), Facundo Garretón (Terraflos), Francisco Álvarez-Demalde (Riverwood Capital), Mat Travizano (Sur VC) and the Spice fund, among others.
7. Conduit Financial
Conduit Financial secures $17M to launch its API for DeFi in Latin America
Conduit Financial raised $17M to unlock access to decentralized finance (“DeFi”) for any fintech, neobank or exchange through a single API. The Seed Round was led by Portage Ventures, and included participation from Diagram Ventures, FinVC, Gemini Frontier Fund, Gradient Ventures (Google), Core Innovation Capital, Inovia Capital, Gaingels, Discovery Ventures and Jump Crypto. The startup also has the support of leading fintech executives, including Mark Britto (Paypal), Gary Marino (ex-PayPal), Asiff Hirji (ex-Coinbase), Simon Taylor (11:FS), and Nik Milanović (Google Pay), as well as personal investment from Rex Salisbury (ex-a16z).
Crypto bank Let’sBit closes pre-seed round to leverage its growth in the Peruvian market
Let’sBit closed a pre-seed round led by Angel Ventures and with participation from Primary Ventures of MATBA-ROFEX Group, the main derivatives market in Argentina. The amount of the round was not shared. The company uses DeFi protocols to offer banking services in Latam. It already has 50,000 users in Argentina and is looking to expand to Peru.
Colombian DeFi fintech Littio starts operations with $3.7 million pre-seed round
Littio raised a $3.7 million pre-seed investment round led by 1662nd, WeWork founder Adam Neuman’s fund; Global Founders Capital; Jam Fund, from Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen; and a set of angel investors featuring founders of Y Combinator-backed companies, as well as some McKinsey & Company partners, as angel investors.
Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange Foxbit gets $21M for new products and services
Foxbit, a Brazilian crypto-based solutions platform, announced a $21 million (nearly BRL 110 million) Series A round led by the OK Group, a blockchain technology and services provider founded in China in 2013, now operating in more than 180 countries and serving a 50 million user base.
Fintech delt.ai brings DeFi lending to businesses in Mexico
Mexican fintech delt.ai announced it is processing the equivalent of $25M in debt financing from TrustToken. The statement is a first-of-a-kind because the financing is done purely in digital assets, specifically in crypto. delt.ai is a Y Combinator-backed software company that focuses on financial tech, building software that helps businesses make their day-to-day financial management easier, from corporate expenses to ecommerce and digital platforms.
Brazilian climate tech startup focused on blockchain Moss.earth, nabs $10M in a funding round
Moss.earth, a Brazilian climate tech that develops blockchain-based solutions to help companies offset carbon, secured a $10 million Series A funding round. The round was led by SP Ventures and Acre Ventures Partners, and followed by Jive Investments, Flori Ventures (Celo) and The Craftory.
Founded in 2020, Moss.earth is specialized in digitizing carbon-neutral assets by using blockchain technology.
Mercado Libre buys part of brazilian blockchain Fintech 2TM, the controller of Mercado Bitcoin
Mercado Libre acquired a stake in 2TM, the parent company of the Mercado Bitcoin brokerage. The value of the investment was not disclosed.
Mercado Libre also made a strategic investment in Paxos, a regulated platform and leading blockchain infrastructure that leverages the Mercado Pago cryptocurrency experience in Brazil.
This is a reinforcement of the Argentine company’s bet on the cryptocurrency market, which announced at the end of last year that it would allow the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies on its platform in Brazil.
14. Tribal Credit
Mexican fintech Tribal Credit raises $40M to drive new use cases for blockchain payments
Corporate payments platform Tribal Credit raised a $40 million debt offering through fiat and stablecoins, giving the company additional capital to expand its services in Latin America.
The so-called hybrid debt round was funded by Partners for Growth, a California-based investment firm, and Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), which is a nonprofit that supports the growth of the Stellar blockchain. Tribal said it will use the capital to fund receivables from its customer base across Latin America, especially in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
With Q4 just around the corner, there are still plenty of days to see more investments happening in DeFi this year. We will update this article by the end of the year.