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Startups in LATAM (Latin America) have had a huge boom in recent years, due to the need to innovate in the business world, to meet new needs in a changing world, to approach populations comprehensively and the ease with which offers technology for new entrepreneurs.

Index

Overview: startups in Latin America

LATAM is attracting special interest from private capital (VC) funds. According to Forbes between 2015 and 2019, venture capital investments in Latin America have grown by 673%, reaching a record level of 4.6 billion dollars. Even though 2020 felt like the end of the world for humanity so far, bringing an economic crisis in many sectors, it also generated countless opportunities for new projects that decided to cling to a silver lining: see opportunities in the midst of crises.

Latin America’s prosperity is in the hands of entrepreneurs, the adventurers who decide to pursue a vision, raise capital to do so and generate employment, opportunities and economic movement.

The boom in startups in Latam

Until the middle of 2021, the CB Insights global State of Venture report showed 9.3 billion dollars for startups in Latin America, more than double of what was contributed in 2020. Every year millions of new startups are created in the world. Never in the history of humanity have we had such a boom in entrepreneurship and innovation that has the ability to transform industries and paradigms so quickly.

For example, 2021 was historic for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Latin America. According to a CBInsights report, the region received $14.8 billion in 2021, an increase of 174% from 2020. In total, 660 deals were closed, 121 more than the previous year.

The flow of capital reached other sectors besides fintech (financial technology). Regional funds began to invest in countries where they had not been before. Others increased their capital to invest, in addition there was a record of new business unicorns in the region.

Most valued startups in Latam: country and valuation (2022)

  1. Kavak (MEX): $8.7 billion dollars. Online used car financing marketplace.
  2. Rappi (COL): $5.2 billion dollars. Famous marketplace app that connects users with drivers.
  3. QuintoAndar (BRA): $5.1 billion dollars. Marketplace for users to buy or sell properties.
  4. C6Bank (BRA): $5.05 billion dollars. full service digital bank for small and medium businesses.
  5. Creditas (BRA): $4.8 billion dollars. Digital lending platform that focuses on secured lending.
  6. Tiendanube/Nuvemshop (BRA): $3.1 billion dollars. eCommerce platform.
  7. Wildlife Studios (BRA): $3 billion dollars. Mobile game developer and publisher.
  8. Unico (BRA): $2.6 billion dollars. Digital identity protection solutions.
  9. Uala (ARG) : $2.45 billion dollars. Financial technology startup.
  10. Bitso (MEX): $2.2 billion dollars. Largest cryptocurrency exchange in Mexico.

LATAM business unicorns by country

Mexico started 2021 with zero unicorns, but at the end of December it already had seven companies with this title. Chile got one more and Brazil, which leads the list with 18 unicorns.

Although the proliferation of unicorns does not necessarily mean that the region has reached its best moment in terms of entrepreneurship, identifying these extremely well-funded and valued companies is key to being able to monitor the consolidation of the ecosystem.

These are a few of the main startups in LATAM by country:

Argentina

Ualá. Fintech that achieved unicorn status by receiving $350 million in a series D led by SoftBank. Ualá’s offers products and services like a Mastercard prepaid card, QR code payments, payments and top-ups, transfers, investments, credits, withdrawals and expenses analysis.

Brazil

C6Bank. Full service digital bank that offers a range of banking services to both individuals and small and medium-sized businesses.

Creditas. Fintech that focuses on home, auto and employee benefits consolidating itself as one of the most valuable startups in Latin America.

Gympass. Connects employees of partner organizations with a network of 30,000 fitness centers. Crunchbase reports that its app is being downloaded by more than 141,000 monthly in 15 different countries. In 2020, the startup raised $300 million from Softbank, with a valuation of more than $1 billion.

Quinto Andar. Brazilian proptech that became a unicorn in September 2019. Its online platform offers a marketplace for users to buy or sell properties allowing them to monitor listings, control financial transactions between renters and landlords, as well as create binding contracts.

Tiendanube/Nuvemshop. Platform that works with more than 90.000 brands to which it offers to enhance their online store, as well as payment and shipping methods with different sales channels.

Unico. It is dedicated to making digital identity protection solutions. It is one of the longest-standing companies in the sector, since it was created in 2007. The cybersecurity market is becoming very relevant, as more companies are going digital.

Wildlife Studios. Mobile video game development company created in 2011. Some of its most successful games, such as Zooba and Tennis Clash, have been downloaded thousands of millions of times.

Chile

Betterfly. Insurtech which has telemedicine, mindfulness, virtual fitness and even financial education services for company employees. It also offers free life insurance as a reward for having healthy habits. In February 2022, it raised $125 million dollars in a Series C, with which it became the first B company (social company) to be a unicorn in Latin America.

Colombia

Habi. Created to digitize the sale of homes in Colombia, where it was a slow and obsolete process. The company achieved unicorn status in May 2022, following a Series C where it raised more than $200 million.

LifeMiles. Largest and fastest-growing loyalty programs in Latin America, with more than 6 million members and leading market positions in Colombia, Peru and Central America. Avianca Holdings affiliated airlines as well as banks and retailers operate as commercial partners of the program.

Rappi. Famous marketplace app that connects users with drivers capable of delivering just about anything. Rappi achieved unicorn status during its $200 million Series D led by DST Global. Lately it has been extended to serve other services, including fintech.

Mexico

Bitso. The largest cryptocurrency exchange in Mexico. In 2021 it grew to a million users in just 5 months, became the technological provider of the Salvadoran government wallet, and became an official sponsor of the soccer club Tigres.

Clip. Payment aggregator that offers a mobile point of sale terminal and an application to accept payments with credit and debit cards from smartphones or tablets. It became a unicorn in 2021 following a final round from SoftBank and Viking Global Investors.

Kavak. Online used car financing marketplace; its business model came to serve a huge sector that was quite neglected, full of bad practices and haunted by a black market. Its rapid growth made it become the first Mexican unicorn with a valuation of $8.7 billion dollars.

Konfío. Fintech offers loans and financial solutions to small and medium-sized companies, which are the majority of the type of companies that exist in Mexico.

Merama. This eCommerce accelerator acquires shares in companies that invoice more than $2 million dollars per year in online sales, and is in charge of optimizing their costs and expanding them internationally.

Imagen: Depositphotos

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