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NG.CASH, Ruuf, Lumu Among Startups that Got Capital this Week in LatAm

Despite the crisis, venture capital bets on Latin American startups. This week industries such as mental health, beauty, and cybersecurity raised early stages of investment

Latin startups that received funding this week.
August 05, 2022 | 05:20 pm

Welcome to the rounds of the week. This week, venture capital in Latin America bet on non-traditional sectors in the region, such as beauty, healthcare, cybersecurity, and even weather insurance.

Unlike previous weeks, this week there was an increase in early-stage round announcements. Still, later stages also got something as was the case of Brazilian healthtech Dr.Consulta, which received R$ 170 million ($32 million) in a Series D round led by Kamaroopin.

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These is a roundup of Latin American startups that received capital this week:

NG.CASH

“Nubank for Generation Z,” Brazilian fintech startup NG.CASH raised $10 million from Andreesen Horowitz (a16z) and Monashees. Ualá founder 17Sigma and founders of Brex, Rappi, Movile, Wildlife, Norte Ventures, Eleva, and Trybe also participated in the Seed round. Even Brazilian Olympic volleyball champion Bernardinho jumped in to join the round.

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The startup’s CEO, Mario Augusto Sá, 24, founded NG.CASH a year ago. He started working at 14 when he co-founded the YouTube channel Neagle. In college, he created a fintech that was later sold.

Last year, the company received a $400,000 pre-Seed from Stone. The fintech says it has 900,000 users, targeting Brazilians aged 10 to 24.

Through NG.CASH’s app, it is possible to make transfers, instant payments, recharge mobile phones, and get discounts to buy on its marketplace. Its Elo brand fintech card is prepaid, which means it works for online purchases, but needs money in the account.

“The market has changed a lot, but the fact that we only raised $400,000 last year and we are at the same stage as those who raised millions has helped a lot, a lot because we knew how to build the base,” Augusto told Bloomberg Línea in an interview.

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Today, the startup’s revenue sources are card interchange fees, and commissions on products and cash-based payments (boleto). The company says that its customer acquisition cost is low because Sá, as he was already a YouTuber, had access to a large audience among young people.

According to Augusto, one of the demands of this audience is NFT products, which NG.CASH intends to incorporate into the marketplace in the long term, as well as stablecoins. The company is betting on the fact that many of the younger generations are gamers and use the accounts to earn rewards from play-to-earn games.

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Today, NG.CASH is hiring and aims to reach 80 employees.

Ruuf

US-based Collaborative Fund and Positive Ventures invested a pre-Seed round of approximately US$700,000 in Ruuf, a new Chilean startup that focuses on financing and enabling the installation of solar energy panels. Juan Carlos Jobet (Chile’s former energy minister) also put money in the startup.

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Ruuf wants to be the Sunrun of Latin America. The company plans to launch its operations in Chile this month and expand into other South American markets next year.

Co-founders Domingo García and Tomás Campos have experience in the Chilean energy sector. They met in 2012 when they were studying engineering and moved to the U.S. to study.

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Previously in Chile, García set up his first business installing solar panels on homes and said he noticed the problems with the lack of automation in the industry and the user experience.

“My idea was to go to the U.S. where there is a mature market for solar home energy to understand how they developed a solution that has grown significantly.,” he told Bloomberg Línea.

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Campos, who had previously sold a fintech to a Chilean bank, said he spent nine months working at Tesla and learning about the solar energy business.

“We want residential solar energy to become massive in our region by means of a UX-friendly process, financially accessible,” said García.

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The idea is to partner with contractors in a marketplace model where Ruuf finances the installations, as Solfácil does today in Brazil.

This was the first check of the second fund of Positive Ventures. Bruna Constantino, a partner at Positive Ventures, invests in companies working with climate and social impacts.

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“We’re in a different context from a year ago for VC, what defines these moments is that you need to really understand the market, need to invest in the best founders that are really going to work with the solution,” Constantino told Bloomberg Línea.

It was not the only round for social impact businesses in the week. Brazilian fintech Jeitto, which offers credit to low-income customers, received $15 million from Rise Ventures.

Lumu

Colombian cybersecurity company Lumu Technologies closed a $8 million investment round, reaching a total of $15.5 million so far.

The round was led by Panoramic Ventures, the investment will serve as growth capital for sales and marketing initiatives to further Lumu’s mission of helping organizations operate cybersecurity efficiently. The company, founded by Cartagena native Ricardo Villadiego, enables organizations to measure confirmed commitments in real time.

Other investors include KnowBe4 Ventures, Lane Bess, former Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks executive, and Tom Noonan, former CEO of Internet Security Systems and SoftBank Group’s SB Opportunity Fund.

In addition, Lumu is signing a partnership with KnowBe4, a security awareness and training platform.

Raincoat

The Puerto Rico-based startup develops scalable weather insurance solutions and allows for instant individual claims processing. This week, Bloomberg Línea revealed that it raised a $4.5 million seed round. The round was led by insurance technology investor Anthemis and includes backing from SoftBank Group’s SB Opportunity Fund.

Also in the seed round were Puerto Rican banking leader Banco Popular, Chilean financial group Consorcio, Miami-based 305 Ventures and deep tech-focused Divergent Capital.

Pura mente

Pura mente App is a meditation startup that just closed a $1.3 million seed round. The Argentine startup seeks to ease access to digital meditation tools in the region.

Founded in 2019, Puramente has been selected by 500 LatAm and Start-Up Chile, two of the most prestigious accelerators in the region and have the support of investors such as Goodwater Capital, Newtype Ventures.

In less than four years of operation, the company has already had more than 1 million downloads and projects a turnover of US$1 million this year. Today they have 35 employees distributed around the world, including programmers, designers and meditation guides. “We are the most chosen app in countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Mexico,” says Martín Becerra, CEO of Puramente, whose app performs more than 100,000 meditations per week.

Beauty 911

This is an online platform for home beauty services focused on the Latina community living in the United States and LatAm. It was founded in Puerto Rico in 2019, by Carmen Medina and Afa Juste. Beauty 911 closed a $200,000 pre-seed round from Miami-based fund 305 Ventures.

“With this investment we are looking to grow our market in Puerto Rico, and test the market for our services in multiple cities in Florida,” Medina told Bloomberg Linea. “Our mission is to become the Uber of beauty globally.”

Beauty 911 was part of the Rising Entrepreneurs Program accelerator program in Puerto Rico, created by Orlando Bravo, CEO of private equity fund Thoma Bravo.

Intera

Recruitment platform for tech people Intera has received a Rs 9.85m funding boost from Citrino Ventures, through the CV Idexo fund, as well as angel investors. Intera had received its pre-Seed round of R$ 2.5 million two years ago.

The company intends to invest the funds in its InHire software to make the intelligence of the recruitment and selection area of companies more efficient.

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