In recent years, the tech and venture scene in Latin America has been growing at an accelerated pace. More global investors are backing startups in the region and certain sectors in particular, such as fintech, are exploding.
Global investors are not only pouring money into companies. They’re also investing in funds.
Today, Volpe Capital announced the $80 million first close of its fund targeting high growth technology investments in Latin America. Notably, Japanese investment conglomerate SoftBank, BTG and Banco Inter affiliates are anchor investors in the new fund, which is targeting aggregate commitments of $100 million with a hard cap of $150 million. Volpe also received a "large anchor investment" from its management team.
Andre Maciel, Gregory Reider and Milena Oliveira are the fund’s founding partners, and are based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Notably, Maciel is the former managing partner at SoftBank’s $5 billion Latin America-focused innovation fund. He launched Volpe in 2019 primarily with SoftBank’s backing. Reider formerly invested at Warburg Pincus.
Maciel said the fund's raise was "significantly oversubscribed with firm commitments" and believed to be "among the best capital raises for a first-time fund in its asset class in Latin America."
Volpe Capital plans to invest in about 15 companies over a two and half year time span, according to Maciel, who expects its average check size to be around $5 billion.
So far, it’s backed Uol Edtech, a subsidiary of Grupo Uol that aims to redefine the digital learning experience in Brazil.
“We are in no rush,” Maciel told TechCrunch. “We are happy with our first deal and will take capital preservation in consideration. We believe markets are hot now and plan on taking advantage of the cycle by being patient.”
The fund’s strategy is to go after the companies that are not actively raising capital.
“We want to invest in companies that are not necessarily raising capital when we approach them,” Maciel said.
The fund views itself as agnostic regarding stage and primary versus secondary.
It is seeking to back early-stage companies with less than $50 million in valuation as well as some later stage, high growth companies. The fund’s first investment -- Uol Edtech -- falls in the latter category with EBITDA margins above 30%, according to Maciel.
Volpe plans to avoid capital intensive industries, even if related to tech.
“Those are more suitable to investors with deeper pockets than Volpe,” Maciel said.
Instead it’s eyeing edtech, healthtech, software and fintech investments (that are not credit-related).
“We like sectors that are prone for disruption in Latin America and that require local customization,” Maciel said. “Given the stage of the vc/growth industry in Latin America, we believe it is better to be a generalist.”
SoftBank International CEO Marcelo Claure describes Maciel as one of his “amazing founding partners for SoftBank in Latin America.”
“We are very happy to be one of Volpe’s anchor investors and look forward to continuing our relationship with them,” he added in a written statement.
Another anchor investor has a SoftBank tie. João Vitor Menin, CEO of Inter, a publicly traded fintech platform in Brazil with a market cap of over $7 billion, points out that Maciel led an investment in Inter’s platform through SoftBank. He also “made valuable contributions” as a board member, according to Menin.