Asian investors are playing an increasingly important role in financing Latin American startups, co-investing alongside local and global investors across a range of sectors and stages.
2017 saw landmark investments from SoftBank and Didi Chuxing into Brazilian rideshare company 99, significant deals from Singaporean sovereign wealth funds GIC (in Netshoes) and Temasek (Netshoes, IguanaFix, Neoway) and corporate investors Tencent (Satellogic) and Tsing Capital (Bluesmart); and blockchain investors Digital Finance Group and FGB Capital in Ripio (formerly BitPagos).
SoftBank and Didi Chuxing’s US$200m investment in 99, along with Riverwood Capital, is the largest publicly disclosed round of venture investment in a LatAm startup to date. Didi acquired 99 in early 2018 for ~US$600m, in a deal that officially put 99 in unicorn territory and marked one of Didi’s first acquisitions outside of China. Didi is also expanding to its first market outside of China: Mexico.
The deal speaks to the larger significance of Latin America’s rideshare market on the global scale. Uber’s top three cities by ride volume are all in Latin America, and the battle between local and international players is heating up: 99 competes with Uber and Cabify in LatAm. But Didi is also an investor in Uber, and Uber is Didi’s largest shareholder; SoftBank is invested in Didi, Uber and 99. And Cabify, which acquired Brazilian rideshare app Easy in 2017, received a US$160m cash injection in early 2018, led by Japanese corporate Rakuten Capital and others.
HIGHLIGHTED ASIAN INVESTMENTS IN LATAM STARTUPS (2013-2017)
|99||Brazil||Marketplace: Ridesharing||Growth||Didi Chuxing (China); Softbank (Japan)|
|Bitso||Mexico||Fintech||Early||Bitcoin Capital (Hong Kong)|
|Bluesmart||Argentina||IoT: Travel & Tourism||Early||Tsing Capital (China)|
|Neoway||Brazil||Big Data||Growth||Temasek (Singapore)|
|Netshoes||Brazil||e-commerce||Growth||GIC (Singapore); Temasek (Singapore)|
|Nubank||Brazil||Fintech||Growth||DST Global (Hong Kong)|
|Psafe||Brazil||Digital Security||Expansion||Qihoo 360 Technology (China)|
|Rappi||Colombia||Logistics & Distribution||Early||DST Global (Hong Kong)|
|Ripio||Argentina||Fintech||Early||Digital Finance Group (Huiyin Blockchain) (China)|
|Satellogic||Argentina||Earth Observation||Expansion||Tencent (China)|
Investments took place during the period 2013-2017 and include verified LAVCA Industry Data on fund manager transactions, as well as other investor types from public sources.
This information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable and from secondary sources that were checked whenever possible, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. LAVCA shall not be responsible for any inaccuracy unintentionally included in this publication. Readers should consult and rely solely on their own advisers regarding all pertinent information, legal, and accounting issues.
*Investments include the following stages:
- Seed/Incubator: Startup capital for companies to incubate an idea into a company or product.
- Early Stage: Startup capital for companies.
- Expansion Stage: Capital for companies that have reached a sustainable level of development and may be shipping products.
- Growth Financing: Non-control equity investment in an existing company to finance growth strategy.