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Record VC funding delivers buena onda to founders across Latin America


Photo by Raphael Silva

As recently as the 90s, some say, there was no settled Spanish word for “entrepreneur.”


Today emprendedores are sprouting across Latin America and feeling buena onda (good vibes) from record amounts of VC funding coming their way.


LatAm startups raised $9.3B in the first half of the year—nearly double the pace of 2020—with fintech and e-commerce leading the way. While Brazil remains the epicenter of VC activity, countries like Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico are all seeing record levels of early stage investment.


There’s no sign of slowing, either.


São Paulo-based VC firm Kaszek remains one of the most active VC firms in the region, having backed nine LatAm startups that went on to become unicornios. The firm plans to invest another $1B across the continent, as global behemoths like Andreessen Horowitz move in. New accelerator programs and early stage funds—like Newtopia VC’s $50M fund and Carao Ventures’ $35M fund—are popping up throughout the region, too.


The number of publicly listed LatAm tech companies quadrupled to 16 in recent years, and the continent is now home to at least two dozen unicorns.


These new unicorns raised recent rounds: Brazil-based e-commerce startup Nuvemshop ($500M); Mexico-based used car exchange Kavak ($485M); Argentine fintech Ualá ($350M); Brazil-based home rental marketplace QuitoAndar ($300M); and Colombian alternative protein producer NotCo ($235M).


Plenty is happening at the earlier stages, too, including a number of recent deals in Mexico:

  • Yaydoo raised $20M to automate purchasing and supply chain management for companies;
  • Wonder Brands raised $20M to build a portfolio of e-commerce brands that operate in the Mercado Libre and Amazon ecosystems;
  • Orchata raised $4M from Y Combinator and others to expand its grocery delivery platform in Mexico and, eventually, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Chile;
  • Zenda.la raised $2M in a round led by Angel Ventures for its health insurance platform; and
  • Plerk raised $1M from Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and others to develop a virtual card for employee benefits.

Other deals around the continent include:

  • Lemon, an Argentina-based crypto platform, raised $16M;
  • Coderhouse, a digital training platform with offices in San Francisco and Buenos Aires, raised a $13.5M; and
  • Yummy, a Venuzuelen food delivery app with 70k monthly orders, raised $4M.

With so much activity buzzing about, LatAm founders might be forgiven if they feel like they’re viviendo en nube de pedos.

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Funding and acquisitions


DocSpace, a Houston-based platform for managing healthcare practices, raised a $1.2M seed round led by Slauson & Co. The company is developing a one-click patient checkout experience.


TurnoverBnB, a Honolulu-based platform for short-term rental operators, raised a $4.5M Series A led by Ret Ventures with participation from Hawaiian accelerator Blue Startups. The company plans to expand to Europe and Australia.


Youreka Labs Inc., a Maryland-based mobile field service startup, raised an $8.5M Series A co-led by Boulder Ventures and Grotech Ventures to develop robotic assistants for frontline workers.


Klover, a Chicago-based fintech, raised a $60M Series A led by Mercato Partners Traverse Fund. By giving access to their “permissioned” data, users of the app gain access to free and low-cost financial services.