(Accel) December 1, 2011 – Kekanto, the Leading Social Guide headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has received Series A funding led by Accel Partners with Kaszek Ventures – a Venture Capital Firm led by MercadoLibre’s co-founder Hernan Kazah and Nicolas Szekasy – participating. This marks Accel’s fifth investment in Brazil over the past twelve months. Florian Otto, CEO of Groupon Brazil, and Vinicius Marchini, partner of the Brazilian investment bank and private equity fund BR Partners, are angel investors. The company did not disclose the amount of funding raised.
Kekanto, phonetically translated as “In which corner?” in Portuguese, is the leading online local community in Brazil. Kekanto was launched in 2010 by Fernando Okumura (Stanford GSB), Bruno Yoshimura, and Alan Kajimoto (both Computer Scientists from the University of Sao Paulo) and has quickly become a critical source of local reviews for millions of people in Brazil. The product offers consumers the ability to quickly find information on local businesses, tourist attractions, public service offices, and other points of interest. Kekanto’s search/recommendation system blends your social network and demographic information to replicate real life word of mouth.
The company has reached 3 million unique monthly visitors, and its active communities are in all major cities of Brazil. Kekanto will use the proceeds to accelerate investment in product and technology in its native Brazil while accelerating its expansion in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries in Latin America.
Accel´s Partner Andrew Braccia, who will join Kekanto’s Board of Directors, says “Access to high quality local information is a critical pillar in any emerging online market. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Kekanto and its founders to strengthen their leadership position in Brazil and across Latin America.”
Hernan Kazah, founding partner at Kaszek Ventures, explains he got to know Kekanto in the best way possible, as a happy user: “We learned about Kekanto through their fantastic service and great community as we would use their site in our regular visits to Sao Paulo to find the best restaurants and bars around, see where our friends were going and check what Kekanto’s community was recommending. Then we met the team and were very impressed by their professionalism and positive ambitions. Now, as investors in the company, we look forward to helping Fernando and his team foster their community and expand their operations throughout Latin America …”
About Accel Partners
Founded in 1983 Accel has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies worldwide through early initiating investments. Many of these companies have gone on to define their categories, including Facebook, Groupon, 99designs, Admob, Angry Birds (Rovio), Atlassian, Brightcove, ComScore, Diapers.com (Quidsi), Dropbox, Etsy, JBoss, Kayak, Macromedia, MetroPCS, Polycom/PictureTel, Playfish, QlikTech, Real Networks, Riverbed, SpringSource, Veritas, Walmart.com, XenSource, and Zimbra. Accel has offices in Palo Alto, London, Bangalore, New York City, Beijing and Shanghai amongst others, and is also actively pursuing investments in Brazil and Latin America, including Elo7, Shoes4You, Vostu, and Kekanto. For more information, please visit www.accel.com , or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/accel .
About Kaszek Ventures
Kaszek Ventures is the leading Latin American venture capital firm investing in high-impact tech entrepreneurs. Led by Nicolas Szekasy, MercadoLibre’s former CFO, and Hernan Kazah, MercadoLibre’s co-founder, the firm actively supports its portfolio companies through value-added strategic guidance and hands-on operational help, leveraging its partners’ successful entrepreneurial backgrounds and extensive network.