Stemming from the first six editions of the LAVCA Deal Book and ESG Cases, it is now more important than ever to highlight how fund managers are partnering with their portfolio to support company growth and sustainability during and post-pandemic. In today’s world, with things changing rapidly for companies across all sectors, LAVCA is collaborating with members to showcase examples of responsible investment from the private capital community throughout the year.
Deal Case Highlight Oria | Zenvia: CPaaS Growth Amidst Pandemic
Member Investor: Oria Capital
Oria Capital is an independent growth-stage investment firm focused on enterprise software, SaaS and software-enabled companies in Brazil. Oria aims to contribute to a sustainable world through its investments in tech-enabled businesses, which have the potential to improve productivity and reduce transactional costs for individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (“SMEs”). With its Funds Oria Tech I, Oria Tech III, Oria Tech Zenvia.
At the time of Oria’s initial investment in 2014, Zenvia was the leading SMS communication platform in Brazil. As digital and mobile penetration grew in the region, the company became well positioned to expand its marketing solutions and increase its footprint outside of Brazil. As an experienced technology investor, Oria was the ideal partner to support the company’s growth plans across three pillars: (i) the development of new features, channels, and visual builders for Zenvia’s communication platform; (ii) the acquisition of complementary technologies through mergers and acquisitions (M&A); and (iii) the formalization of an international expansion strategy.
Oria acquired a minority stake in Zenvia in September 2014, partnering with the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) to boost Zenvia’s balance sheet and support its aggressive growth agenda. Five years later, and with support from local and international investors, Oria reaffirmed its commitment and led a follow-on round from a dedicated co-investment vehicle and additional commitments from Oria Tech III, increasing its stake to 59.4%.
Over the last five years, and in strong collaboration with Oria, Zenvia has developed thorough strategic plans to establish new channels, features, and products aligned with existing offerings. During that period Zenvia developed a virtual assistant tool—also known as a chatbot—allowing companies to engage with their customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Likewise, Zenvia’s platform expanded to support voice, chat, email, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, allowing companies to build relationships with customers across multiple communications channels.
Oria also assisted in the creation of a dedicated M&A team, resulting in the acquisition of four companies over a two-year period. In July 2020, Zenvia announced the acquisition of Sirena, a WhatsApp communication solutions platform based in Argentina and with presence in Mexico and the USA. WhatsApp’s penetration in the region stood at 64% in 2018, so the acquisition of Sirena is set to further strengthen Zenvia’s product portfolio and international reach. In Mexico alone, 77 million people—more than half of the country’s 126 million people—are active monthly users of WhatsApp.
During the course of its investment, Oria strengthened a series of internal processes and protocols, including the establishment of monthly review committees across various functional areas (i.e., finance, sales, operations, human resources, and products), supported Zenvia’s hiring and onboarding of a strong management team to execute the company’s ambitious growth plan, and established a competitive variable remuneration model.
SPOTLIGHT ON COVID-19
Zenvia recently partnered with Brazil-based data analytics company Neoway to develop a COVID-19 screening chatbot which allowed users to engage in a medical assessment and receive a recommendation that followed protocols developed by the Telemedicine University of Rio Grande do Sul. The chatbot is available free of charge for all public agencies in Brazil.
At the onset of the pandemic and during a period of great unknowns for many SMEs, Zenvia also…. download the full case study to read more.