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LatAm ICT financing, investment watch

Bnamericas Published: Friday, April 22, 2022
LatAm ICT financing, investment watch

E-commerce solutions company Zubale has raised some US$40mn in a series A round led by QED Investors. It plans to use the proceeds to enhance its platforms and further expand in Latin America, the company reported.

Also participating in the investment round were GFC, Felicis Ventures, Hans Tung (GGV Capital) as well as existing investors, including NFX, Kevin Efrusy (Accel), Wollef and Maya Capital.

Founded in 2018, the company provides, among other things, an app that shows delivery agents exactly where products are in a store, as well as the best route for delivery, in addition to overseeing the process end-to-end in an integrated way, it says.

The investment will support the company's operations in current markets and expand into new markets in Latin America. 

Zubale launched operations three years ago in Mexico and has since expanded to Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru. 

Recently, it started its operations in Brazil and Chile, where it already reports having partnerships with large retailers.

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Cybersec solutions startup Strike plans to grow in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil following a US$10mn seed round in which it received funds from Greyhound Capital and co-investors FJ Labs, Canary, NXTP, VentureFriends, Magma Partners, Latitud and OrokVentures.

According to the company, the money will be used to expand its global “Strikers” (a kind of "goodwill" hacker) network and reinforce its presence in key countries in Latin America this year. In a second stage, the company plans to expand to the US and Europe. 

Strike offers a plug-and-play solution for continuous penetration testingwhich reportedly allows companies to identify vulnerabilities in real time.

The startup said its platforms are used by a range of firms, from startups with more than US$10mn invested to "the largest and best-known fintechs in the region."

The round also saw the participation of angel investors such as Pieter-Jan Vandepitte, CEO of DeliveryHero; Sergej Epp, chief information security officer of Palo Alto Networks; Sergio Fogel, co-founder of dLocal; Matias Woloski, co-founder of Auth0; Patricio Jutard, co-founder of Mural; Miguel Ángel Peña, director of Banco Galicia and NaranjaX; Miguel Burger-Calderon, co-founder of Ethyca; and Nicolás Acosta, former director of product at Twilio, among others.

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Brazilian e-commerce platform Floki has closed a seed round for 50mn reais (US$10.4mn) led by NFX and Valor Capital Group funds, with the participation of Latitud and angel investors such as Ralf Wenzel (founder of JOKR) and Andres Bilbao (founder of Rappi).

Asset manager Iporanga Ventures, which led the investment of 3.6mn reais in 2020, entered the new round with a follow-on offer.

Founded in 2020, Floki's platform uses artificial intelligence to automate shopping for small bars and restaurants. The company's model is based on a monthly subscription. The platform reports having more than 8,000 products and hundreds of active customers.

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Cemex Ventures, the VC arm of Mexican cement giant Cemex, invested an undisclosed sum in Carbon Upcycling Technologies, a Canadian startup that develops carbon management technologies for the cement industry.

According to Cemex, the startup's solution enables the reduction of carbon emissions in cement and concrete production by up to 30% through clinker substitutes.

It does that by infusing carbon into a grinding process for industrial residues, such as fly ashes and slag, to produce a more reactive supplementary cementitious material. These materials can then be used to replace clinker in cement production, said Cemex.

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Flash Ventures investment fund plans to invest in at least 10 startups in Latin America, six of them in Brazil, in 2022, according to media reports.

The fund focuses on pre-seed companies, with initial investments starting at US$500,000 per business. With the new forecast for investments in startups, the fund expects to double the size of its portfolio.

Flash Ventures has roughly 30 companies in its portfolio on all continents.

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Bradesco Seguros, the insurance arm of Brazilian bank Bradesco, intends to expand its investments in technology and innovation through partnerships with insurtechs and big techs, the company said in a statement, without providing details of the amounts.

The insurer has carried out new tests of technologies aimed at the segments of auto, residential, life, health, pensions, among others, with more than 80 partners, including startups and major tech firms.

Internally, its innovation team is investing in API platform, artificial intelligence, chatbots, big data, biometrics, IoT, telemetry and telemedicine, the company said.

Bradesco Seguros' sales grew by 89% in 2021, which the company attributed partly to new digital formats. 

It said that approximately eight out of 10 auto insurance claims inspections were completed through digital processes last year and that 90% of private pension sales were signed digitally, streamlining the process.

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