Bloomberg Línea — Brazilian startup Nuvini (NVNI) debuted on the Nasdaq earlier this month through a merger with a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company). Now, they’re looking for opportunities in the market to accelerate their plan of growing their portfolio through acquisitions, according to founder and CEO Pierre Schurmann. “We remain focused on purchasing new companies. I hope that this year we can announce some of the companies we intend to acquire,” Schurmann said in an interview with Bloomberg Línea. According to him, the plan is to carry out 17 acquisition transactions.
The company, which operates in the SaaS (Software as a Service) segment, seeks to identify smaller companies or competitors that can be considered strategically valuable, Schurmann says. The plan includes managing and developing these acquired companies. Currently, the Nuvini group has a portfolio that includes seven previously acquired SaaS companies: Leadlovers, Ipê Digital, Effecti, Datahub, Onclick, Mercos, and SmartNX.
This strategy is common among tech companies that wish to grow rapidly, add new assets to their portfolio, or consolidate the market, much like Totvs (TOTS3) and the privately-held Stefanini do in Brazil. The company’s shares closed Wednesday (11th) with a 9.22% increase on the day, priced at $3.50. The stock has depreciated by 45% since the start of trading on the Nasdaq on October 2nd.
Last month, Pierre Schurmann’s company completed a merger with Mercato Partners, a SPAC, a company created solely to merge with another and take it public. Nuvini raised approximately $18 million in the operation (about R$ 90 million). According to Schurmann, this amount was “well below” the company’s expected $60 million, explained by the high number of original SPAC investors who chose not to participate in the merger and preferred to get their invested capital back, a process known in market jargon as redemption. The minimum amount to ensure the merger was $12 million.
The deal with Mercato valued Nuvini at $283 million, according to data from the SPAC Research platform. Even with the amount raised below expectations, Nuvini decided to proceed with the transaction. Schurmann stated that access to the American capital market and greater ease in obtaining credit lines are attractive aspects for the company, which justified maintaining the merger. “We have a long-term vision of two, three, five years that gives us some peace of mind, that we can generate and show the company’s value to investors,” he said. “This is a way to access capital and long-term investors.” With the funds raised at its stock market debut, Nuvini also plans to expand its geographic presence in Latin America, in addition to the aforementioned acquisition opportunities.
The model Nuvini followed to go public, through a merger with a SPAC, has also been adopted by other Brazilian companies, including Semantix (STIX), which merged with Alpha Capital and debuted on the Nasdaq in August 2022.
SPACs have existed since the 1990s, but the model of going public through a merger garnered more interest in the American market from 2014 and peaked in 2021, when over 600 SPACs initiated public offerings, raising $162.5 billion.
In 2022 and 2023, however, the capital market’s downturn with rising interest rates weakened the model, and many SPACs failed to find companies interested in merging within the stipulated time frame and had to return the money to investors.
What Nuvini Does
Founded in 2019 by Schurmann, Nuvini was created with the goal of acquiring B2B Software as a Service (SaaS) companies that serve other customers in Brazil and Latin America, focusing on consolidating the sector. The companies that are part of the Nuvini group operate in sales management, ERP, marketing solutions, digital product development, and public tender monitoring areas.
Nuvini’s strategy is based on the vision of serving as a liquidity solution for startups and an alternative investment in value. Among its competitors are companies like the Movile group, behind iFood, Totvs, and Stefanini.
In 2022, the company had revenues of R$ 124.5 million and a net loss of R$ 114.2 million, an improvement from 2021 when revenues were R$ 89.9 million, and the loss was R$ 77.7 million. Since its inception, Nuvini has completed two investment rounds with family offices and issued a debenture on B3.
Who is Pierre Schurmann
Schurmann is an investor known for his active participation in Brazilian startups through Bossa Invest (formerly Bossa Nova Investments), one of Brazil’s longest-standing venture capital firms with over 1,500 investments and counts João Kepler as a partner.
Many years before, Pierre Schurmann became famous for his family background. He and his family, including sailing parents Vilfredo and Heloísa Schurmann and siblings, were the first Brazilians to sail around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.
After studying business administration in Florida, Schurmann founded Zeek, an online search platform, in 1997. In 2000, at 30, he sold the company to the American Star Media Network, an internet provider competitor of AOL (America Online, one of the first internet service companies), and took on the position of Director of New Business Development in Brazil.
For Schurmann, the deal was a success: Star Media made a public offer on the Nasdaq in 1999, drawing American investors’ attention to internet providers focused on Latin America. Schurmann and Star Media rode the “dot-com bubble” wave at the time when companies like Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL, PSINet, Telefónica, and local firms UOL and Grupo Globo vied for web pages in Brazil.
The period of euphoria with new internet economy companies peaked in the late 1990s, climaxing in 2000 with high market valuations and IPOs. The bubble burst at the end of 2000 when investors realized many companies were more valuable than their profits, leading to a significant drop in shares.