December 7th, 2004 / Washington, DC – The Latin American Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) convened venture capital and private equity leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean today to chart a vision for growing an industry that is showing renewed momentum.
LAVCA’s strategic planning initiative brought together its members, top advisors, and key fund managers from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) Venture Capital Development Network, a pilot network of the MIF Partners in Innovation Program. LAVCA serves as lead institution of the network.
“LAVCA’s event was intended to build on the continuing enthusiasm and commitment of industry leaders like the MIF,” said LAVCA Interim Executive Director Christina Kappaz. “In order to best serve the needs of the industry, we asked our members to engage with us in identifying the actions needed to ensure sustained growth of venture capital in the region.”
Ms. Kappaz said event participants strongly affirmed LAVCA’s role as the leading advocate for the industry across sectors. While optimistic about the industry and tremendous potential in the region, participants identified several challenges holding the industry back. Key among these was fundraising, which participants noted is affected by the region’s lack of a strong positive image. Other challenges include barriers in the legal and regulatory environment, limited awareness of entrepreneurs of the role and process of venture investments, and the need for greater standardization of processes used by fund managers.
Participants identified a range of actions that could be undertaken by LAVCA and the MIF Network to help overcome these challenges. These included activities in the areas of advocacy, research, networking, education, and the development of best practices. Short-term priorities for participants included advocacy on behalf of the industry – in particular to investors and to public sector agencies – and conducting targeted research to collect data on the industry and support advocacy efforts. Participants suggested the latter priority could aid in improving the industry’s image by disseminating information on actual market conditions and success stories from the industry.
“We came away with a clear sense of what LAVCA needs to do to address the fundamental needs of our members and the industry in general,” said Ms. Kappaz. “These objectives will shape our activities in 2005 and beyond.”
Participating in LAVCA’s Strategic Planning Session were some of the largest and most active fund managers in Latin America, including Darby Overseas Investments, Ltd., AIG-GE Capital Latin American Infrastructure Fund, and Intel Capital, as well as development finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Additional participants included IBM Global Venture Capital Group, Aureos Capital Central America Fund, and managers of funds active in Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and Brazil. Participating law firms with active private equity practices included Winston & Strawn LLP and Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps LLP. The U.S. National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) sponsored the event, noting that many of its members are interested in supporting efforts to grow the market in Latin America.
The Latin American Venture Capital Association
LAVCA promotes the growth of the venture capital and private equity industry in Latin America through methods of research, education, networking, best practices, and the advocacy of sound public policy. For more information on LAVCA and its activities please visit www.lavca.org.
The Multilateral Investment Fund Partners in Innovation Program
The Partners in Innovation Program mines knowledge and experience by enlisting MIF partner institutions as “innovation leaders” in networks that add to the stock of practical knowledge needed for enhanced private sector decision-making and capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information on the program please visit www.iadb.org/mif/v2/networks.html.
Contact: Ramona DeNies
Latin American Venture Capital Association
1 (503) 239-7449