Rounds of the Week: AI, Education and Fintech Sectors Land Investments In LatAm

Latin American startups Vendah, BrainLogic, Cumbuca, Coala Saúde, and Prestamype have bagged early-stage funding rounds

Startups Vendah, BrainLogic, Cumbuca, Coala Saúde, and Prestamype bagged early-stage funding rounds in recent days.
August 25, 2023 | 03:55 PM

Bloomberg Línea — The speed of capital allocation in Latin America has decreased after two record years. Data from the Latin American Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (LAVCA) indicates that $6.3 billion was invested in venture capital, private equity and private credit funding during the first half of 2023 in the region, through 452 transactions.

This value represents a 63.3% decrease compared to the first half of 2022 and a 44.7% decrease compared to the first half of 2021.

However, the second half of 2023 had a promising start with funding rounds in the region.

These are among the companies that recently secured funding:

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Vendah

Vendah, a Brazilian startup that provides a platform for direct sales through social networks without the need for initial investment, received 12 million reais ($2.4 million) in funding led by Y Combinator with participation from Goodwater, Domo Invest, and some angel investors from the United States, India, and China. Among them is Ian Faria, founder of the startup Mecanizou.

Founded in December 2019, the company offers corporate insurance solutions and achieved breakeven in 2020. Vendah aims to simplify access to and popularize corporate insurance products through an API marketplace, allowing integration with business systems. The investment will be directed towards developing new features, boosting generative artificial intelligence, and expanding the team. The company has clients like Mitsui Sumitomo, HDI Global, Galcorr, and Ceres.

Principia

Principia, a Brazilian startup focused on financial solutions for educational institutions, announced a 200-million-reais ($41 million) Series A funding round led by Valor Capital Group, along with ARC Capital, Spectra, Supera, FJ Labs, and others.

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Principia’s main solution, called “Receita Garantida” (guaranteed revenue), ensures payment of student fees to universities, optimizing operational efficiency and ensuring predictable cash flow for institutions. With the acquisition of Provi, a payment and credit services platform for vocational courses, Principia aims to become a hub of financial solutions in the Brazilian education sector.

BrainLogic AI

BrainLogic AI, a pioneering company founded by experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and e-commerce in Uruguay and Silicon Valley, raised $5 million to advance the development of Zapia, a personal AI assistant for Latin Americans. Zapia, available via WhatsApp, provides real-time responses to audio or text queries, offering personalized assistance to users.

The funding was led by Factory HQ, a Silicon Valley venture capital company specializing in AI. This technological initiative represents one of the largest pre-launch AI investment rounds in Latin America, positioning BrainLogic AI as a leader in innovation in the region.

Cumbuca

Cumbuca, a Brazilian financial sharing startup, raised 15 million reais (US$ 3 million) in a seed-investment round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Supera Capital. The funding aims to accelerate the development of solutions that facilitate bill splitting among Brazilians.

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The Cumbuca app allows balance and expense sharing with payments through Pix, boleto, and soon, cards. In addition to the investment, Cumbuca obtained authorization from the Central Bank of Brazil to operate as a Payment Institution (PI) under the Payment Transaction Initiator (PTI) category to offer its services directly to consumers.

Coala Saúde

Coala Saúde, a Brazilian school health platform, announced a 12.5-million-reais ($2.5 million) seed funding round led by Owl Ventures, which was joined by existing angel investors such as Mário Ghio (former CEO of SOMOS Educação), Bruno Elias (CEO of Salta Educação), Rafael Cunha (CLO of Descomplica), Anderson Morais (founder and CEO of Agenda Edu), and David Peixoto (founder and CEO of isaac and ex-CFO of Arco).

João Sartini, legal advisor to the founders and the company, also participated as an angel investor.

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Founded in 2022 by doctors and entrepreneurs Rafael Kader (CEO) and Mateus Mattos (COO), along with product leader Matheus Peressoni (CTO), the healthtech aims to provide medical care to students aged 0 to 18 - from nurseries to pre-college - in schools and preschools throughout the country. In addition to immediate medical care for children, Coala offers education, training, and specific health protocols for schools. With the funding, Coala plans to invest in its go-to-market strategy to accelerate its expansion in schools, as well as increase investments in products and engineering.

Prestamype

Peruvian fintech Prestamype announced the closure of a pre-Series A investment round worth $5 million, in exchange for a minority stake from various shareholders. The deal was led by Alive Ventures and Oikocredit Ecumenical Development Cooperative Society. Inca Ventures, Salkantay Ventures, and other undisclosed investors also participated in the round.

The funds will be used to continue consolidating the company as a leader in the MEI (Microentrepreneur Individual) segment in Peru and impact more entrepreneurs with their financing options (mortgage loans and factoring) and related services. This amount represents the highest reached by a fintech in Peru at this stage, despite the challenging conditions of the financial startup ecosystem in the region. As a developer of an online financing platform aimed at providing access to digital loans, online factoring, and digital currency exchange services, Prestamype offers loans with property collateral.

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-- Updated to correct Vendah’s investors on Monday 08/28