Miami — By Marcella McCarthy
London-based Amadeus Capital Partners is expanding its reach in Latin America by raising a $150 million growth fund and hiring a partner in Brazil. The company has been investing in the region since 2013 and counts Creditas (valued at nearly $2 billion) and Descomplica as two of its investments.
“The thing that excites us is that exits are beginning to happen [in the region],” said Anne Glover, Amadeus’ CEO and co-founder.
The Latin American Sustainable Growth fund will focus on later stage companies which need money to grow, not just to stay alive. Amadeus, which also has offices in San Francisco and Bogota, was founded in 1997 and has been investing in emerging markets for years, but this is the first time it dedicates an entire fund to one of those markets.
“We chose Latin America because Africa didn’t have the level of digital preparedness and Asia was over funded,” Glover told Bloomberg Línea.
In its early days the firm focused on deeptech, but nowadays they have a general interest in companies that provide tech-enabled solutions. Glover said they’ll be looking more closely at companies in Fintech, Edtech, B2B and supply chain.
The fund will be focused on the entire region, but adding a team member in Brazil makes sense not only because it’s a huge market, but also because Brazilians are known to be early tech adopters and very much into “the latest thing.”
To lead its Brazil operations, Amadeus brought on Beatriz Amary, a Brazilian with a Harvard MBA and a proven track record in private equity and later stage investing. In her years in private equity Amary noticed that her best investments and those that survived any chaos going on around them were tech companies. Over the years she realized that they all had one thing in common: their exponential growth. Because of their level of growth, she said, even if there was interference from the economy or political instability, a company could still do well.
“Private equity is much more of a macro investment. What I like about venture vs. private equity, is that venture is all about the entrepreneur,” Amary said.
Like I mentioned in my story about Genesis Venture’s new growth fund, local and foreign investors in LatAm are noticing a gap in the market: there’s plenty of money - and smaller checks - for early stage companies, but not that many firms who are willing and able to back later stage ones. But this has been the story from the beginning, with the exception of Kaszek, of course, who had an insider’s knowledge of tech since its founders are the former leaders of Mercado Libre and know the region well.
Not too long ago when Nubank co-founder, David Velez, still worked for Sequoia, the firm was looking to open a Latin American office in São Paulo but pulled Velez back to San Francisco because they couldn’t find any investment worthy opportunities in the region. In fact, it was that turning point that prompted Velez to go off on his own and found Nubank (which became one of Sequioa’s first investments in LatAm). But over the last few years we’ve seen other global players like Founders Fund and Tiger Global give LatAm companies their money, too.
While Brazil has always attracted eyeballs because of its sheer size, the region as a whole is garnering attention from outsiders, with smaller economies like Chile spewing out new startups regularly. So it’s no surprise that foreign investors feel the need to “be on the ground” to get to deals first.