Rounds of the Week: Automotive Services Startups Gain Attention in Latin America

Latin America-based startups that operate vehicle-related services such as Autolab, Voltta, and Frota 162 have received venture investments in recent days

Latin America-based startups that operate vehicle-related services such as Autolab, Voltta, and Frota 162 have received venture investments in recent days.
September 01, 2023 | 12:10 PM

Bloomberg Línea — In the last five years, Latin America has been the seventh-largest market in terms of technology investments, according to data from innovation platform Distrito.

According to Distrito’s Tech Landscape in Latin America 2023 report, Latin America has 33,489 startups. The majority of them (62.9%) are in Brazil, while Mexico (with 11.7%), Argentina (7.1%), Colombia (6.2%), and Chile (5.1%) are also strong seedbeds for entrepreneurship.

Fintech is the most prominent segment in the region, followed by retailtech and martech (marketing technology companies).

The predominant business model in Latin America is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

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Today, Latin America has a total of 45 unicorns, according to Distrito, and 24 of them are in Brazil. Argentina and Mexico follow, both with seven companies each that have reached a valuation of $1 billion while still in the closed capital phase.

Distrito’s data shows that the 45 Latin American startups that reached unicorn status took, on average, 8.5 years to achieve this milestone. Since 2019, startups in the region have received over $37 billion in 5,464 funding rounds, with the most active year being 2021, when $16 billion was invested.

These are the companies that have received recent funding rounds:

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Autolab

Vertical Venture Partners and Haven Ventures led a $4.1 million round for Autolab, a Colombian startup. The investment included participation from Interplay and follow-on from Bullpen Capital, Proeza Ventures, and Polymath Ventures. The company develops a platform focused on car maintenance, providing real-time updates on repairs.

The funds will be used by the company to continue developing and expanding its solution in Mexico and Colombia, with the goal of serving 480 fleet customers by December 2024 and achieving 10 times greater growth compared to today, according to PitchBook data. Bullpen Capital had already led a $6.5 million Seed round for Autolab in March 2022.

Devolut

Devolut, a Mexican company that handles e-commerce returns in Latin America, received $600,000 in pre-seed funding. The round included participation from Seedstars International Ventures, FJ Labs, Far Out VC, Pareto 20, and Forum VC.

In a press release, Devolut said its solution helps e-commerce brands offer hassle-free product returns without the need for boxes or labels, along with software that automates the process. The startup promises to save up to 50% of return management costs for its corporate clients.

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With this new injection of capital, Devolut plans to further develop its AI-driven returns and exchanges algorithm. The company said it is using AI to generate product recommendations in the form of refunds.

Mitfokus

Mitfokus, a Brazilian platform for healthcare institutions’ fiscal and accounting needs, raised an undisclosed extension from BossaNova Investimentos. Mitfokus was incubated at Eretz.bio, the innovation arm of Albert Einstein Hospital.

Founded by Julia Lazaro in Campinas, Brazil, the company developed a financial platform intended to provide medical accounting with invoice issuance and tax planning according to medical specialty, creating monthly reports and bank reconciliation using artificial intelligence.

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Voltta

Eneva, a Brazilian integrated energy company engaged in natural gas exploration and production, invested approximately $900,000 (4.5 million reais) in Voltta, a Brazilian electric mobility startup.

Voltta is already part of Eneva’s portfolio and offers solutions such as electric vehicle fleet management platforms and charging infrastructure, with over 300MWh transacted. The startup manages chargers, offers data analysis, payment methods, supplies clean energy, and provides a mechanism for CO2 inventory.

Rextie

Citi invested an undisclosed amount in Rextie, a Peruvian currency exchange platform. Peruvian media conglomerate Grupo RPP had already invested $1.4 million in Rextie in 2022. With the investment, Citi’s currency exchange technology will be integrated into Rextie’s services.

According to Citi, by the end of 2024, the fintech expects to surpass $7 billion in transactions on the platform since the start of its operations in Peru in 2016. Rextie has more than 12,000 registered businesses and 170,000 individual users.

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Myio

Lotus ICT, a Brazilian business automation services company, invested approximately $250,000 (1.25 million reais) in Myio, a Brazilian B2B automation solutions startup. According to PitchBook, with this investment, Lotus ICT acquired 25% of the company, valuing Myio at 5 million reais.

Myio, founded in Rio de Janeiro, offers utility monitoring, asset management, predictive maintenance, and security services for its corporate clients.

Frota 162

Frota 162, a Brazilian automotive fleet management startup, raised 3 million reais in a round led by early-stage investor ACE Ventures, with participation from the Sovereign Fund of Espírito Santo (FUNSES1) and Venture Hub. The company said it would use the investment for hiring, optimizing its sales machine to grow tenfold, and improving the product. Frota 162 promises to reduce fine costs by about 40% and reduce the time fleet managers spend on fine management, drivers, vehicle restrictions, driver recommendations, fine and tax payments.

Founded in 2022 by CEO Marcelo Lemos, Frota 162 claimed to grow an average of 15% per month. Today, the company has more than 44,000 vehicles, monitors 10,000 drivers, and has over 100 clients, including Armac, Rodonaves, Framento, Lets Locadora, and Kothe.