(Dealbook) The British venture capital firm Amadeus Capital Partners has made its first investment in Latin America, it said on Tuesday, leading an $8.9 million funding round in the Brazilian online insurance price comparison and brokerage company Bidu.
The investment suggests that the London-based firm, co-founded in 1997 by the European technology pioneer Hermann Hauser, who built Acorn Computers, is increasingly looking to emerging markets.
An Amadeus spokeswoman, Chantal Ligertwood, told Dealbook that this was the firm’s first investment outside Europe, the United States and Israel and that additional investments were likely.
“We expect there to be more investments in Latin America,” she said in an email. Priority countries for the firm in the region are Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, despite disappointing economic growth in Brazil and increasing struggles for many Internet start-ups there.
The insurance sector in Brazil remains fragmented and a still-growing middle class is increasing demand for services, making it a lucrative and competitive market. Competitors include Minuto Seguros and Ta Certo.
Minuto Seguros is backed by Redpoint e.Ventures, the Brazilian fund created by Redpoint Ventures of Silicon Valley and e.Ventures.
Bidu said in a news release that it would use the infusion of capital to increase partnerships and expand its product line. The company was hatched in 2011 by the São Paulo-based Monashees Capital and MBS Seguros, which brought in the Brazilian Eldes Mattiuzzo to serve as Bidu’s chief executive.
Monashees and other past investors in Bidu — the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann Group and Otto Capital — also participated in the new financing round.
For Amadeus, the San Francisco-based partner Pat Burtis will join Bidu’s board of directors.
The new investment is the initial one from the Amadeus IV Digital Prosperity Fund. That fund had a first close last year of $75 million but continues to raise additional capital. Investors include the telecommunications company MTN Group, based in Johannesburg.
Ms. Ligertwood declined to comment on the fund’s overall target size, citing regulatory restrictions.
This fund’s focus, Amadeus said in a news release, is “later stage venture and growth companies developing online and mobile applications and services targeted at the rapidly expanding middle classes in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.”
A person briefed on Amadeus’s plans told Dealbook that the company “seems really keen on doing more series B deals in Brazil.” The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the firm, said it was looking to fill what it believes is a gap in emerging markets, a lack of series B investors.
Advisers for the investors were Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian and Rosewood Due Diligence, and for Bidu, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.