Category: Softbank

SoftBank commits $3B more to investing in Latin American tech companies



SoftBank Group Corp. is doubling down on its commitment to Latin America.

Today, the Japanese investment conglomerate is announcing the launch of the SoftBank Latin America Fund II, its second dedicated private investment fund focused on tech companies located in LatAm. SoftBank is launching the new fund with an initial $3 billion commitment.

“Fund II will explore options to raise additional capital,” SoftBank said in a statement.

The new fund builds upon SoftBank’s $5 billion Latin America Fund, which was first announced in March 2019 and was formerly called the Innovation Fund with an initial $2 billion in committed capital.

According to the firm, that fund has generated a net IRR of 85% — with SoftBank having invested $3.5 billion in 48 companies with a fair value of $6.9 billion as of June 30. SoftBank has invested in 15 unicorns out of that fund, including proptech startup QuintoAndar, Rappi, Mercado Bitcoin, Gympass and MadeiraMadeira. Recently, it co-led a $350 million Series D round in Argentine personal finance management app Ualá.

The firm also claims to have “created significant value uplift” for portfolio companies, including 4.4x each for Kavak and VTEX; 2.6x for QuintoAndar and 3.5x for Banco Inter (as of June 30).

It has backed companies across the region including in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador.

Marcelo Claure, Executive VP and COO of SoftBank Group, leads the SoftBank Latin America Funds. Managing Partners (Read more...)

Brazil’s Petlove raises $150M from Riverwood, SoftBank to sell pet products and services online



Petlove&Co, a São Paulo-based digital platform for products and services for the pet market, announced today that it has raised about $150 million (R$750 million) today in a funding round led by Riverwood Capital.

The round is nearly double that of what Petlove has raised in its history. The company started its life as PetSuperMarket when it was founded in 1999 in the early days of the internet. Today, the company continues to operate an online store offering a wide range of pet products and services.

Tarpon, SoftBank, L Catterton, Porto Seguro and Monashees also participated in the funding round, which brings the company’s total raised to a known $225.8 million over its lifetime, according to Crunchbase. Since January 2020 alone, Petlove has raised over $192 million. The company has declined to reveal at what valuation this last round was raised.

Petlove CEO Talita Lacerda said the company will use the new capital in part to further expand its logistics network with the goal of accelerating its delivery capabilities. In particular, it plans to expand its express delivery service, Petlove Já, which allows products to be delivered within 4 hours of placing their order, to other geographies. Currently it is only available in a few cities in Brazil, such as São Paulo and Belo Horizonte. 

The funding will also go toward growing Petlove’s subscription program, which Lacerda said is the first of its kind in the country, and one of the company’s flagship services.

“The Brazilian pet market is one (Read more...)

Picsart raises $130M from SoftBank, becomes unicorn on the back of its visual creator tools



Picsart announced this morning that it has raised a $130 million round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. The new capital infusion pushes the company’s valuation north of the $1 billion mark, though it declined to get more specific.

Per PitchBook data, the company’s preceding round of capital, in 2019, valued the company at around $600 million. We can infer from the two figures that Picsart’s valuation went up materially in its latest round.

It’s not incredibly hard to figure out why. TechCrunch chatted with the company earlier this year, noting that it was over the $50 million ARR mark, and that the company expected to crest the $100 million ARR threshold this year. The company said today it has surpassed that goal. Precisely how far? The company would not disclose.

Picsart COO Tammy Nam told TechCrunch in an interview this week that her company was now past a $100 million run rate, and that it was worth more than a flat $1.0 billion after the SoftBank round. That was the extent of our ability to mine her for details.

What we can say, then, is that the company is doing nine figures of revenue that start with one, and that it is worth ten figures that also start with a one. That gives Picsart a maximum revenue multiple of just under 20x, though we expect the correct figure is in the low tens.

What makes the Picsart news fun, apart from its constituent large numbers, is that (Read more...)

Why global investors are flocking to back Latin American startups



The Latin America startup ecosystem is having a great year, with mega-rounds being announced at breakneck speed and new unicorns minted almost monthly. This is mostly due to the clearly maturing startup scene in the region, with proven successes such as Nubank, Cornershop, Gympass and Loggi helping to bolster LatAm’s credibility.

Interestingly, many of the region’s rounds are led by or saw participation from investors based elsewhere. Firms such as SoftBank, Tiger Global Management, Tencent, Accel, Ribbit Capital and QED Investors are pouring money into LatAm. Some are even seeing more opportunity than in the U.S. — Latin America, they believe, has historically been ripe for disruption, especially in the fintech and proptech sectors, due to the significant underbanked and unbanked population in the region and the relatively unstructured real estate industry.

Last month, my colleagues Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm found that structural factors such as strong digital penetration and quick e-commerce growth are among the key reasons Latin America is breaking venture capital records this year. One Mexico-based VC even declared that the story was about “talent, not capital.”

Local VCs are raving about the human capital in the region, but for some global investors, the appeal of Latin America extends beyond the talent to the general populace. Shu Nyatta, a managing partner at SoftBank who co-leads its $5 billion Latin America Fund, pointed out a dynamic that might seem obvious but is rarely articulated: Technology in LatAm is often more about inclusion rather than disruption.

“The (Read more...)

Turkey’s first decacorn: Trendyol raises $1.5B at a $16.5B valuation



Trendyol, an e-commerce platform based in Turkey, has raised $1.5 billion in a massive funding round that values the company at $16.5 billion. General Atlantic, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Princeville Capital and sovereign wealth funds, ADQ (UAE) and Qatar Investment Authority co-led the round. 

The deal marks SoftBank’s first in the country.

The new financing also makes Trendyol Turkey’s first decacorn, and among the highest-valued private tech companies in Europe. It comes just months after strategic — and majority — backer Alibaba invested $350 million in the company at a $9.4 billion valuation.

Founded in 2010, Trendyol ranks as Turkey’s largest e-commerce company, serving more than 30 million shoppers and delivering more than 1 million packages per day. It claims to have evolved from marketplace to “superapp” by combining its marketplace platform (which is powered by Trendyol Express, its own last-mile delivery solution) with instant grocery and food delivery through its own courier network (Trendyol Go), its digital wallet (Trendyol Pay), consumer-to-consumer channel (Dolap) and other services.

Trendyol founder Demet Suzan Mutlu said the new capital will go toward expansion within Turkey and globally. Specifically, the company plans to continue investing in nationwide infrastructure, technology and logistics and toward accelerating digitalization of Turkish SMEs. She said the company was founded to create positive impact and that it intends to continue on that mission.

Evren Ucok, Trendyol’s chairman,  added that part of the company’s goal is to create new export channels for Turkish merchants and manufacturers.

Melis Kahya Akar, managing (Read more...)

Human Interest raises $200M at a $1B valuation, plans for an IPO



Less than six months after raising $55 million in a Series C round of funding, SMB 401(k) provider Human Interest today announced it has raised $200 million in a round that propels it to unicorn status.

The Rise Fund, TPG’s global impact investing platform, led the round and was joined by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The financing included participation from new investor Crosslink Capital and existing backers NewView Capital, Glynn Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, Wing Venture Capital, Uncork Capital, Slow Capital, Susa Ventures and others. 

Over the past year, the San Francisco-based company has raised $305 million. With the latest financing, it has now raised a total of $336.7 million since its 2015 inception.

The company admittedly has an IPO in its sights, as evidenced by the appointment of former Yodlee CFO Mike Armsby to the role of CFO at Human Interest.

Demand for 401(k)s by SMBs appears to be at an all-time high, with Human Interest reporting that its sales tripled over the last year. The company has also more than doubled its headcount over the last 12 months to 350 employees.

The startup said it is seeing strong adoption in verticals that have not previously had retirement benefits, including construction, retail, manufacturing, restaurants, nonprofits, and hospitality. For example, over the past three quarters, Human Interest has seen 4.5x customer growth in the restaurant sector. Since the start of the pandemic, Human Interest has experienced 2x higher enrollment growth among (Read more...)

Growth is not enough



Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

We were a smaller team this week, with Natasha and Alex together with Grace and Chris to sort through a week that brought together both this quarter’s earnings cycle, and the Q3 IPO rush. So, it was just a little busy!

Before we get to topics, however, a note that we are having a lot of fun recording these live on Twitter Spaces. We’ve found a hacky way to capture local audio and also share the chats live. So, hit us up on Twitter so you can hang out with us. It’s fun – and we may even bring you up on stage to play guest host.

Ok, now, to the Great List of Subjects:

  • Robinhood went public! Yep, at long last, it is done. The company priced at $38 per share, the low end of its range, and had a medium-weak day of trading once it started to float. In short, Robinhood seems to have deftly priced its IPO, leaving zero fat on the table. So, it is now richer than ever, and public. More here.
  • Earnings! We took a moment to chat about earnings reports from Alphabet, and Microsoft, and Shopify. Why? Because we care lots about the cloud and platform companies. So, we took a minute to chat about public cloud results, and what Shopify got up to.
  • Batteries! Tesla is moving towards (Read more...)

Colombian on-demand delivery startup Rappi raises ‘over’ $500M at a $5.25B valuation



Rappi, a Colombian on-demand delivery startup, has raised “over” $500 million at a $5.25 billion valuation in a Series G round led by T. Rowe Price, the company announced late Friday.

Baillie Gifford, Third Point, Octahedron, GIC SoftBank, DST Global, Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital and others also participated in the round.

The new financing brings Rappi’s total raised since its 2015 inception to over $2 billion, according to Crunchbase. Today, the country has operations in 9 countries and more than 250 cities across Latin America. Its last raise was a $300 million a Series F funding round in September of 2020.

According to the Latin American Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (LAVCA), Rappi focused on delivering beverages and first, and has since expanded into meals, groceries, tech goods and medicine. The company also offers a cash withdrawal feature, allowing users to pay with credit cards and then receive cash from one of Rappi’s delivery agents. Today, the company says its app allows consumers to “order nearly any good or service.”

In addition to traditional delivery, it says “users can get products delivered in less than 10 minutes, can access financial services, as well as ‘whims,” and “favors.’ Whims allow users to order anything available in their coverage area. Favors offer an array of custom services, such as running an errand, going to the hardware store or picking out and delivering a gift. The two products allow users to connect directly with a courier. 

Simón (Read more...)