LatAm ICT investment, financing watch
Brazil’s ICT solutions distributor Agora plans to expand its business into Latin America in 2024, potentially investing in new distribution units in Chile, Colombia and Mexico, CEO Severino Sanches told BNamericas.
The company works with importers and is a prime partner of China’s Huawei in Brazil. One of Agora's core customer segments is internet service providers, particularly larger ones. According to Sanches, Agora helped boost Huawei’s equipment market share in the ISP segment to 50% from 5% when it started distributing its solutions.
Between 2022 and 2023, the firm plans to open five new branches in Brazil and focus on edge computing solutions. The company is also preparing to enter the solar market next year, initially by importing Huawei solar inverters.
Agora operates 10,000m2 in inventory space in Brazil, Sanches said. The firm’s revenues were US$100mn in 2021 and are forecast to grow by up to 60% in 2022.
Fintechs accounted for 43% of all the venture capital (VC) invested in Latin America in 1Q22, according to estimates by Latin American VC and private capital association Lavca.
This was up from 16% in the same quarter of last year.
Next came e-commerce platforms and marketplaces, snagging 21% of all regional VC resources for technology in January-March this year, said Lavca.
Meanwhile, startups in human resources, known as HRTechs, received nearly 16% of all VC money that flowed into regional tech companies in the quarter, outstripping logtechs, digital media & games, protechs, legaltechs and cleantechs.
Fintech Kushki, based in Quito, Ecuador, has received a second Series B funding round, now at US$100mn, and became the latest Latin American unicorn, with a market value of US$1.5bn.
The extra funding raised the total amount in Kushki's combined Series B to US$186mn.
Kushki, which enables enterprises to process payments globally and receive them in local currency, is also Ecuador’s first unicorn.
The round was comprised by new and existing investors, including Kaszek Ventures, Clocktower Ventures, SoftBank Latin America Fund and DILA Capital, among others.
Indicator Capital, manager of the largest fund specialized in IoT in Latin America, made a new investment through its Indicator 2 IoT Fund.
The US$3mn funding was made in IBBX, a Brazilian startup that developed an Energy Harvesting wireless solution, Indicator said.
Existing wireless communication solutions use technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which have a reach limitation – Wi-Fi does not exceed 30m and Bluetooth around 10m, while IBBX's solution Aurea has a range of 1,000m, according to Indicator Capital.
This was the fund's seventh investment.
Global management consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG) acquired Wingg, a Brazilian data science and software development startup, for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition is expected to beef up BCG Gamma, BCG’s unit focused on advanced data analysis and artificial intelligence, which will fully absorb the startup's operations in its ecosystem, BCG said.
“The acquisition allows us to complement our service offering, creating a seamlessly integrated customer experience with the Gamma smart sales assistant, BCG Gamma’s bionic sales force platform that has already been successfully used by several customers in Brazil,” Sylvain Duranton, global leader of BCG Gamma, said in a statement.
The Brazilian M&A, VC and private equity market recorded a total of 930 deals, worth a disclosed total of 131bn reais (US$26.3bn) year-to-May, according to the Transactional Track Record.
This was an 8% increase in the number of deals compared with the same period of 2021.
The Internet, Software & IT Services sector saw the largest number of deals, with 171 transactions between January and May, but that was 40% fewer than in January-May 2021.
In May, 144 mergers and acquisitions were recorded, including announced and concluded deals, for a total value of 22.5bn reais, said TTR.
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