Bloomberg Línea — Welcome to rounds of the week. At a time when venture capitalists are flocking to the seed stage, startups from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile received their first rounds this week.
Crunchbase data shows that total early-stage capital invested in Latin America grew more than 2.5-fold, from $500 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2022.
“Importantly, dilution expectations at this stage have not changed over that same period, signaling that valuations have increased in lockstep,” said Santiago Danino, Latin America investor at Picus Capital. “Of course, other investors might have a different view, but we think there’s a confluence of factors and reasons as to why that could be taking place”.
According to Danino, given the current market backdrop, especially in later stages, investors have seen a convergence toward and increased competition around top-tier companies that have strong unit economics and attractive margins, and a clear line of sight to profitability.
Because of this increased competition at the top tier, the amount of capital that has already been committed, and return hurdles that each of those investors have in place, many players who previously focused on those later stages have since revised their strategies and moved “earlier”, according to the investor.
“More broadly, we’ve reached a point in the maturation of the Latin America market where there are sufficient proof points to give otherwise conservative investors the comfort needed to move earlier, particularly by way of several global funds publicly announcing their revised focus on early stage opportunities, thereby further increasing broader investor momentum in that same direction, boosted investor confidence related to more seasoned and second generation founding teams in Latin America, and recent Latin American success stories at a global level, which in turn heighten interest in the next global category-defining business coming out of the region,” he said.
These were the Latin American early-stage startups that raised funds this week:
Digital credit fintech Ume, which uses the buy now, pay later model, raised $10 million, of which $5.5 million was in equity and $4.5 million in debt. The equity round was led by Silicon Valley seed venture capital fund NFX, and Brazilian venture capital firm Canary, with participation from BigBets and Clocktower Ventures.
With the round, the company from the north of Brazil will invest in its expansion to national retail, online and physical stores.
Nine months after raising 10 million reais ($1.96 million), Brazilian beauty tech B4A raised a Series A of up to 30 million reais ($5.95 million). The investment was led by Brazilian private equity fund DXA, which has already invested in Zee.Dog. AcNext, which led the previous round, as well as all the angel investors who were in 2021, also participated in the new fundraising.
The corporate venture capital arm of CEMEX, a Mexican multinational building materials company, has invested $250,000 in the Chilean startup ObraLink, which is developing technology that monitors concrete in buildings in real-time. According to Cemex, ObraLink reduces the cost of a structural project by 15% and also reduces the time that would otherwise be spent on thermocouple installation, cylinder loading, logistics, and data collection.
Bolivian DeltaX received $1 million from investors such as Magma Partners of Chile; Duro Ventures, from California, SC Angeles, from Bolivia, and 99 startups, from Mexico, to expand into South American markets.
DeltaX is an application with which a driver can schedule shipments and know in advance what loads will be pending in the following days to plan their return load and thus have greater stability in their monthly income.
Argentine startup Biomakers, specializing in genetic and molecular oncology testing, raised a $3 million seed investment for its expansion in Mexico and Brazil. The startup founded eight years ago by Nicolas Kirchuk, foresees a next series A of more than $10 million that will strengthen its technology and innovation.
The company has accumulated more than 150,000 genetic tests in 10 Latin American countries, making it the leader in cancer precision medicine in the region. The company also collaborates with pharmaceutical companies and companies in the United States to strengthen drug development and drug discovery.
The Chilean compliance and cybersecurity platform announced its expansion plans to Mexico, with the aim of becoming the leading company in the sector in the region. It raised a $1.5 million seed round led by Cometa, a venture capital firm focused on investing in high-growth technology companies, as well as various angel investors.
The investment will serve to continue its consolidation with new clients in addition to those that are already part of its portfolio, such as MercadoLibre, Ualá, Justo, Betterfly, Sofía Salud and Truora. Hackmetrix, founded in 2017 by Adriel Araujo and Alejandro Parodi, has a presence in Chile, Colombia, Argentina, and now Mexico. In addition, the investment will serve to consolidate its own hacker academy, with an investment of $500,000.
The Mexican fintech that offers financial services to young people between 25 and 35 years old announced that it has raised a $4 million round led by DILA Capital, and with which it will launch a crypto rewards card of up to 3% on each purchase.
Although at the moment the startup only operates in Mexico, it hopes to expand to other Latin American markets such as Colombia, Chile, Peru and Argentina.