Rounds of the Week: Agritech Dominates Investment in Latin American Startups

Argentine company Kilimo, Chile’s WiseConn and Brazilian startup Seedz, all of which are dedicated to improving irrigation systems and raising agricultural yields, raised funds this week

Maíz bresileño
December 09, 2022 | 04:52 PM

Bloomberg Línea — Early-stage startups continue to garner funding amid the adverse global outlook for venture capital investments. The latest Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor shows a drop in Q3 investment to $43 billion, down from $62.3 billion in Q2 2022, and which directly affects Latin American startups, and threatens to stymie innovation and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

A few days ago in Argentina, during the Newtopia Summit, Patricio Jutard, co-founder of early-stage funds Newtopia and Mural, said there are great opportunities for the technology industry in Latin America.

“This is a region full of challenges. What technology developed here and its entrepreneurs do is solve those problems,” he said.

PUBLICIDAD

At the summit, which gathered over 150 investors, entrepreneurs and mentors to share trends within the venture capital space in Latin America, Jutard said that in the face of the crisis it is necessary to unite.

“It seems to me that Latin America is very fragmented and we do not exploit the concept of Latin America as a whole (...). If we accept and integrate new technologies, some of these borders can be erased and the region would be unified, which will add more value in the future,” Jutard said.

Technology has allowed many startups to cross borders in Latin America, as have Latin American unicorns.

Meanwhile, here are the startups in the region that received early-stage capital to grow in their countries and reach other Latin American markets this week. The common denominator is that three of them are in the agritech sector, the application of technology to increase crop yields and livestock production.

PUBLICIDAD

Kilimo

Regional investment fund Kamay Ventures invested in Argentine startup Kilimo, which has developed a platform that allows agricultural producers to manage irrigation more efficiently. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed by the Argentine fund.

Kilimo’s solution combines meteorological, satellite and field information with big data to optimize crop yields by up to 30% and increase water use efficiency by 70%.

“This is how our solution was born, thinking of helping not only farmers to be more efficient with water use, but also to improve yields,” said Jairo Trad, CEO and co-founder of Kilimo, in a statement.

The entrepreneur also said that by the end of 2022, Kilimo will save 50 billion liters of water, which is equivalent tsix 6 months of human consumption of a population of more than three million inhabitants.

WiseConn

The Chilean company, specialized in irrigation georeferencing, has been improving the management of a key resource such as water for decades, all from the cloud and with an advanced local control system, technology that has allowed it to operate ot only in Chile but also in 10 US states, as well as in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Central America.

This week it closed a Series B round, the amount of which was not disclosed, led by Morningside Group, a private equity and venture capital firm based in Boston, Massachusetts that carries out private equity and venture capital investments.

PUBLICIDAD

The investment will enable Wiseconn’s global expansion to countries such as Australia, Europe, and Brazil during 2023. In addition, another objective is to consolidate the product offering with new nodes, incorporating new technologies.

Seedz

Seedz, a Brazilian startup for the agribusiness chain, received a Series A investment of$16.5 million ( approximately 100 million reais), led by Alexia Ventures, with participation from impact fund VOX Capital, Volpe Capital, The Yield Lab, Tridon, 10b (Tarpon), Endeavour Scale-Up, Partner Ventures and other individual investors.

In 2019, the company completed its first angel round. Now, with a Series A, the company aims to expand to other countries and grow through acquisitions, in addition to launching financial services.

In an interview with Bloomberg Linea, Matheus Ganem, co-founder and CEO of Seedz, said he comes from a family of small farmers and that, after graduating, he set up an agricultural area in an Italian company where he worked and learned about the sector from the perspective of someone outside the farm.

PUBLICIDAD

“It was quite interesting, I ended up seeing that there was a very big gap to bring solutions to farms that have income and sustainability problems,” he said.

PUBLICIDAD

Seedz is a platform for agribusinesses to buy raw materials, with a rebate and loyalty program for farmers.

“When we connect that with a farmer benefit program, it starts to draw the farmer into a more digital environment,” he said.

Seedz bought a farm management and planning software company and this year began testing farmer adherence to the business management tool. Ganem says the strategy worked.

PUBLICIDAD

Plenna

This Mexican startup offers comprehensive health services for women through a physical and digital platform, and raised a $4.4 million seed round, led by Urban Innovation Fund, with the participation from Canary VC, Collaborative, 1984 VC, 500 Global, Bridge Latam, Amador Holdings, Nido Ventures, Integra Groupe, Phoenix Club, among others.

The financial technology company specializing in women’s health, which is known as a femtech, will use the capital received to strengthen its remote-care platform and expand its face-to-face service offering to other areas of Mexico.

Plenna offers face-to-face gynecology services and virtual services in mental health, nutrition, gynecology and general medicine.

PUBLICIDAD

DrCash

DrCash, a Brazilian fintech that facilitates credit for the payment of medical, aesthetic or dental treatments, has just completed a Series A investment round led by the corporate venture capital arm of BV, one of the country’s largest banks.

With the deal, BV became a minority partner of the startup and the fintech’s valuation reached $33.4 million.