(IGNIA) October 13, 2010 – IGNIA Fund I, LP, the first impact investing fund in Latin America, announced today that it has invested MX$38.1 million (US$3.1 million) in Servicios Caseteros S.A.P.I. de C.V. (“Barafón”), a provider of public telephony and related services to low income populations in Mexico through a network of independently owned micro‐businesses.
“Barafón caters to the population at the base of the socioeconomic pyramid (BoP) which, in many cases, is unable to afford even prepaid mobile services,” said Álvaro Rodríguez Arregui, co‐founder and Managing Partner of IGNIA.
“The Company differentiates itself by placing its booths within small, independently owned convenience stores at more affordable rates, and which provide greater security, privacy and comfort to the customer, than traditional options on the street. Barafón’s network of micro‐businesses further positions the Company as a critical link between the BoP and the greater economy.”
Barafón was founded in 2006 by José González Macín in association with Rafael Galicot, with the vision of providing affordable and accessible telephony services to the underserved populations in the D and E socioeconomic segments. The Company has over 600 phone booths in 4 states of Mexico through which it offers a range of additional services including transaction processing, cell phone top‐ups, and medical and job consultations, among others.
“With funding from IGNIA we will rapidly expand our network of micro‐businesses, while developing additional products and services that are economically and socially beneficial to the BoP”, said José González, CEO and Founder of Barafón. “Today, our booths are often the most important source of revenue for store owners. We remain excited at the potential of our network of micro‐businesses to continue expanding the innovative ways by which services in high demand by the base of the pyramid can reach them efficiently and affordably.”
“A platform inserted deep in the daily life of the majority of the population and linked to Barafón through the internet opens the door to radically reduce transaction costs,” added Michael Chu, co‐founder and Managing Director of IGNIA. “Barafón will help deliver the rest of the world to the base of the pyramid, and the base of the pyramid to the rest of the world.”
About IGNIA Fund
IGNIA Fund I, LP is an impact investing venture capital fund that invests in high growth businesses that serve the base of the pyramid in Mexico and other regions of Latin America. By providing effective responses to the enormously underserved needs of the low income population, IGNIA empowers entrepreneurship and generates social impact while creating attractive financial returns for its investors. Representative current investments include Finestrella, Primedic, Pro‐Organico, MexVi and Chiapas Farms.
Barafón is a Mexican public telephony operator that provides public telecommunications and related services from telephone booths located in third party micro‐businesses. The Company is based in Mexico City and operates over 600 booths in the states of Nuevo León, San Luis Potosi, Mexico and in Mexico City.