Loft raises $ 175 million, SoftBank invests in Alphacredit in Mexico, Rappi falls – TechCrunch
Brazil’s particularly delicate real estate market has long drawn international investors to the region in search of technological solutions. This time, Brazilian startup Loft brought a $ 175 million C series a newbie investor in the region, Vulcan Capital (Paul Allen’s investment arm), alongside Andreessen Horowitz. Loft is also a16z’s first and only Brazilian investment.
Co-founded by serial entrepreneurs and investors Mate Pencz and Florian Hagenbuch in 2018, Loft uses a proprietary algorithm to process transaction data and provide more transparent pricing for buyers and sellers. The startup uses two models to help clients sell properties; either Loft will value the apartment for listing on the site, or it will offer to buy the property from the buyer immediately. Many real estate platforms in the United States are moving to a similar model of iBuyer; however, this system may be even more suited to the Latin American market, where real estate sales are notoriously lacking in transparency, bureaucracy and time consuming.
Loft will use the capital to expand to Rio de Janeiro in the first quarter of 2020 and Mexico City in the second quarter, attracting at least 100 new employees. It also plans to expand its financial products to include mortgages and insurance by the end of the year.
AlphaCredit raises $ 125 million from SoftBank
Mexican start-up of consumer loans AlphaCredit has become SoftBank’s new bet in Mexico this month, with a $ 125 million Round B series. AlphaCredit uses a programmed deduction system to provide fast online loans to individuals and small businesses in Mexico. To date, the startup has provided more than $ 1 billion in loans to small business clients in Mexico and Colombia, many of which have never had access to financing before.
AlphaCredit’s programmed deduction system allows startups to reduce default rates, which in turn lowers interest rates. For over eight years, AlphaCredit has promoted financial inclusion in Mexico and Colombia through technology; this investment cycle will allow the platform to consolidate its position among the main lending platforms in the region. The investment is still subject to the approval of the Mexican competition authority, COFECE, which previously blocked start-up agreements such as the Corner shop acquisition in 2019.
SoftBank’s biggest bets retreat in Latin America
While SoftBank is still rapidly deploying its Latin America-focused innovation fund, some of its larger companies are putting the brakes on. In particular, SoftBank’s largest investment in Latin America, Rappi, recently announced that he will be laying off until 6% of its workforce in order to reduce costs and focus on their technology. The Colombian unicorn has grown at a breakneck pace throughout the region using a blitzscaling technique that has helped it reach nine countries, with 5,000 employees in just two years, including Ecuador in November 2019.
Rappi said he will focus on tech and UX in 2020, explaining that the job cuts do not reflect his long-term growth strategy. However, Rappi also faces legal action for alleged theft of intellectual property. Mauricio Paba, José Mendoza and Jorge Uribe are suing Rappi CEO Simon Borrero and the company for stealing the idea for the Rappi platform while providing advice to the three founders through his company Imaginamos. The case is currently being processed in Colombia and the United States.
One of SoftBank’s biggest bets in Asia, Oyo Rooms, faces similar challenges. Just months after announcing its expansion in Mexico, Oyo laid off thousands of employees in China and India. Oyo plans to be the the biggest chain of hotels in Mexico by the end of 2020, according to a local spokesperson.
Argentina Agrofy breaks regional records in agricultural technologies
With a $ 23 million Series B of SP Ventures, Fall Line Capital and Acre Venture Partners, the Argentinian agricultural supply market Agrofy has raised the the biggest round for an agtech startup to date. The platform provides transparency and ease for the agricultural industry, where users can buy everything from tractors to seeds. In four years, Agrofy has established itself as the market leader in agricultural e-commerce; it was also Fall Line Capital’s first investment outside the United States
Agrofy is active in nine countries and receives more than five million visits per month, 60% of which come from Brazil. However, the startup faces the challenge of poor connectivity in rural areas, where most of its customers live. The investment will go to improving the platform, as well as integrating new payment types directly into the site to help customers process their transactions more easily.
News and Notes: Fanatiz, Pachama, Moons, Didi and IDB
Miami-based sports streaming platform Fanatiz raised $ 10 million in a Series A of 777 partners in January 2020 after seeing a 125% user growth since July 2019. Founded by Chilean Matias Rivera, Fanatiz provides legal international streaming of football and other sports through a platform personalized so that fans can follow their teams from anywhere in the world. The startup has provided the Pope with an update so he can follow his beloved team, San Lorenzo, from the Vatican. Fanatiz has already received an investment of Magma Partners and participated in the Miami Scale program of 500 startups.
Conservation tech start-up Pachama is high $ 4.1 million investors from Silicon Valley to continue to develop a carbon offset market using drone and lidar data. Pachama was founded by Argentinian entrepreneur Diego Saez-Gil in 2019 after noticing the effects of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. After participating in Y Combinator in 2019, Pachama now has 23 sites in the United States and Latin America where scientists work alongside the startup’s technology to certify forests for carbon sequestration projects.
Mexico’s Moons, an orthodontic startup that provides low-cost invisible aligners, raised $ 5 million investors such as Jaguar Ventures, Tuesday Capital and Foundation Capital and was recently accepted into Y Combinator, bringing the startup to the US Moons provides a free consultation and 3D scan to patients in Mexico to determine if they are a good fit for the program, then provides them with a one-year invisible suspenders diet for around $ 1,200. With 18 locations in Mexico and two in Colombia, Moons is growing rapidly in the region, with the ambition to provide low-cost healthcare across multiple verticals in Latin America.
Chinese start-up Didi Chuxing recently launched a sustainable fleet of more than 700 electric and hybrid cars for its operations in Mexico City. After two years of activity in Mexico, Didi announced that it would establish its headquarters in the capital to manage its new low-emission fleet. The company will provide funding to help its drivers acquire and use the vehicles, in an effort to reduce Didi’s environmental impact.
The IDB lab released a report on women entrepreneurs in Latin America, finding that 54% of founders have raised capital and 80% plan to expand internationally in the next five years. The study, entitled “wX Insights 2020: the rise of women entrepreneurs in STEM», Notes that female entrepreneurship is on the rise in Latin America, in particular in the fields of fintech, edtech, health and biotechnology. Nevertheless, 59% of the 1,148 women surveyed still consider access to capital as the most important limitation for their business. However, while women occupy a central place in Latin American venture capital, like Antonia Rojas Eing join ALLVP as a partner, we can see the funding tilting towards women-founded businesses.
This month has put 2020 on track to continue the strong growth we have seen in the Latin American ecosystem in 2019. It is always exciting to see international investors making their first bets in the region, and we anticipate to continue to see new VCs entering the region. over the coming year.