Bloomberg Línea — Colombia-based authentication startup Truora is acquiring Brazilian company ZapSign. Truora launched operations in Brazil this year after raising $15 million in April, and has turned to acquisitions as the way to grow in the country.
“We launched our products and we soon realized that Brazil has a huge presence of WhatsApp for business services,” Maite Muñiz, Truora’s co-founder, told Bloomberg Línea.
“We met with different companies, and one of them was ZapSign. They were offering a product that we have in our roadmap, reaching small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) through Google Ads and WhatsApp, and that matched our ambition. We also realized that the potential for growing in Brazil non-organically,” she said.
“If you want to grow in Brazil, having Brazilian leadership is easier, it makes more sense, and also they brought on board another way to do marketing and business acquisition that brought Brazil in a big scale to the table,” she added.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but as part of the deal Truora is absorbing 20 people from ZapSign into its team, bringing its total staff to 130.
For Truora, besides accelerating in Brazil, the acquisition complements the product suite for other markets where the company operates, such as Mexico, Muñiz said.
In a tough macroeconomic environment where companies grow less, she says that Truora is targeting client companies that are more stable.
“Even though there is a tough economic downturn, we’re very lucky to have had a lot of investment beforehand, and a product that is growing in the market. For us, the challenge is growing efficiently and not burning too much money,” she said.
Daniel Bilbao, Truora’s CEO, recently invested in the largest pre-seed in Latin America, the $6.3 million investment in Colombia-based startup Pandas.
In addition to Bilbao, also participating in the investment round were the founders of Belvo, Nowports, Merama, Tul, Riogrande, Ironhack, Clara and Farmu, part of an investment cycle among Spanish-speaking Latin American founders.
Nico Barawid, of Mexico’s Casai, also supports angel investing in Spanish-speaking startups, and recently Daniel Voguel, founder of Bitso, and Roger Laughlin, of Kavak, invested in the $150 million Series C round that made Nowports the newest unicorn in Latin America.
Muñiz says it is not usual for founders of other startups to invest in later stages, but that she is keen on angel investment.
“When you think that founders usually invest in pre-seed or seed rounds, super early stage, for all those startups it can be really helpful to have a founder on the board. When you bring angel investors that are founders, what you want is the early-stage expertise of how to nurture the first employees and bring a Series A funding round. You want someone with real life advice, and that has lived it recently,” she said.
And even in this market where things are getting tough. Muñiz says that pre-seed and seed rounds are still “sort of safe”.
“They will use the money to test hypotheses and hopefully find a product-market fit quickly. Having good advisors at that level is crucial, and having people telling you straight to your face when you’re doing something wrong is very much important, to say things as they are,” she said.