Softbank Invests In Brazil Logistics Startup & Chinese Ride Sharing Giant's LATAM Expansion

This week, logistics startup Loggi became the newest Brazilian unicorn, Didi announced expansion plans for Colombia and Chile, and PayPal kicked off their new partnership with Konfio. 

Softbank Vision Fund Bets on Brazil  Logistics Startup Loggi

Last week, Loggi announced that it raised $150M USD in its latest funding round, led by Softbank’s Vision Fund. The company has now reached $1B valuation, adding Loggi to the extensive list of Brazilian unicorns.

Loggi’s “logistics-as-a-service” platform sends requests to nearby couriers who perform deliveries for clients. The app calculates the fee and route, providing a streamlined and simple process from start to finish.  

Co-founder Fabien Mendez stated,

"Brazil is lacking in good connectivity. The big issue is logistics. It can take an average of 10 days for an e-commerce delivery" (Bloomberg).

The São Paulo-based company previously raised $3.3M from Qualcomm Ventures and Dragoneer Investment Group, and is raising a total $111M in this latest round.

According to Bloomberg,

“SoftBank is no stranger to betting on delivery apps. Earlier this year it led a $535 million investment in DoorDash Inc., a food-delivery app based in San Francisco. It also bought a 15 percent stake in ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc., which transports people and food in Brazil and elsewhere”.

Akshay Naheta, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said in a statement:

“Brazilian logistics is fragmented, inefficient and under-invested, making it an attractive market for disruption. We believe Loggi is the market leader and is unlocking the growth of the on-demand economy.”

In addition to its technology platform, Loggi will invest in robotics and engineering. The company manages 12 mini-hubs throughout São Paulo, where incoming packages are sorted into “time-and-cost efficient routes” before being picked up by Loggi drivers.

Chinese Ride-hailing Company's Latin American Expansion

Didi, Chinese ride-hailing giant, announced expansion into Chile and Colombia that will double its presence in the region.

Last week, Didi entered Colombian capital Bogotá and Valparaiso, Chile’s third largest metropolis. Didi plans to expand far beyond those cities and continuously grow its presence throughout the region. In terms of services, representatives from Didi stated that the company will add dedicated licensed taxis in Colombia this year.

Didi currently has operations in Brazil, and recently acquired Brazilian ride-sharing firm 99 for $1 billion. Didi also operates in Mexico, but recent reports have hinted at plans for future expansion.

In February, Reuters reported that the company began hiring operational staff in Chile, Peru and Colombia. According to Tech Crunch, other reports have estimated the company’s total headcount in Latin America at over 1,000 employees; an indication that Didi looks to the region as a market with vast potential for growth.

Mi Yang, Didi’s Head of LatAm expansion, stated that Chile and Colombia are “two important centers of growth and innovation in the region”.

“Latin America is the world’s second-fastest-growing mobile market. In a region of approximately 640 million people, there are more than 200 million smartphone users and, by 2020, predictions say that 63% of Latin America’s population will have access to the mobile Internet” (Tech Crunch).

Paypal and Konfio Collaborate to Provide Small Business loans in Mexico

PayPal has partnered with Mexican online lending platform Konfio in efforts of extending lending services to local small businesses.

Using alternative data for rapid credit assessment, Konfio’s platform evaluates a business’ sales performance in a matter of minutes-- a process that typically takes about two months in Mexico.

This partnership will allow businesses to use their PayPal account to apply for credit. SMBs will benefit from Konfio’s improved rates, the ability to receive funding within 48 hours, and will be able to access information about their eligibility for a loan and credit limit automatically (Lat Am List).

In a statement, PayPal stated,  

“Partnering with companies that share our vision of providing easier access to growth capital is crucial to PayPal’s mission to democratize financial services. This is another great milestone emphasizing that through partnership, and by leveraging our business partners’ core assets, we can truly help make a difference in people’s lives”.
Paypal & Konfio - LATAM Expansion
Photo Courtesy of PayPal

PayPal and Konfio’s partnership is an extension of PayPal’s Working Capital and Business Loan program in which Paypal aims to democratize financial services worldwide.

According to PayPal, this program has had resounding success globally.

“Our small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) customers took notice – as of today (following expansion into select countries) we’ve been able to provide more than $6 billion in total financing to more than 170,000 businesses in the US, UK, Australia and Germany.''

Natura Cosmeticos Acquires Avon, Creating The First Latin American Beauty Multinational

Brazil’s Natura Cosmeticos SA has agreed to buy rival Avon Products Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at about $2 billion, creating the world’s fourth largest beauty company, and the first Latin American beauty powerhouse.

The new company’s shares will trade in São Paulo and New York. Avon shares surged as much as 14% to $3.98 in New York trading, while Natura fell as much as 6.2% to 57.67 reais in São Paulo: the biggest decline on Brazil’s benchmark stock index. (Bloomberg).

“The Natura business and brands have developed very much around the Brazilian and Latin American markets, although it has developed a retail presence in both the USA and Europe in recent years. So the company has continued to develop its global footprint through acquisitions, with the acquisition of Avon Products giving the business a footing in areas of the globe where it has previously been underrepresented.” (Cosmetic Design).

The combined businesses will have more than 6 million direct sellers, 3,200 stores and operations in 100 countries, according to the companies.

Founded in 1969, São Paulo-based Natura has become one of Avon’s biggest competitors, with 1 million direct sellers in Brazil alone. The company is quickly expanding into the rest of Latin America, as it begins rolling out digital accounts and card payment machines to its consultants to digitize and streamline the sales process. Natura will also introduce direct sales to the Body Shop, combining it with their website, stores and other points of sale points to give consumers a broader range of options.

Growing Cloud Software Adoption in Latin America

Despite an initial slow start, cloud adoption in Latin America is expected to accelerate in the upcoming years as software applications are simplified and streamlined and consumers become more aware of the business benefits of Cloud software implementation.

According to José Antonio Barragán, Senior Sales Cloud Executive for northern Latin America at Oracle Corporation,

“Oracle has been transforming its software to make it more accessible to encourage companies’ migration to the cloud. The software no longer requires large inputs of data, and is more accessible and graphical, akin to the operating systems of smartphones and tablets. The cloud is the future, as it increases efficiency and lowers costs” (Nearshore Americas).

Cloud services are expected to generate US$7.4 billion in revenues in Latin America by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate of 31.9%, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.

According to the report, this growth in cloud deployment in Latin America will be driven by on-premise deployment; a sector that is anticipated to dominate the market. Other growth drivers include a growing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) market, the Latin American fintech sector, and the proliferation of data centers in the region.

Mexico and Brazil are the leaders in cloud adoption in Latin America, followed by Colombia, Chile and Argentina.

Viacom to launch Pluto Latino for U.S. Hispanic Market

Viacom has acquired Pluto TV Latino for $340 million.

It was announced last Tuesday that Pluto TV Latino, an ad-supported streaming platform that features Spanish-language channels, will launch on July 1.

The streaming service will target the U.S. Hispanic market before launching in Latin American and other global markets next year.

As stated by Viacom CEO Bob Bakish,

“We will launch a U.S. Hispanic product on July 1 as Pluto Latino, and we will launch in all of Latin America at the beginning of calendar 2020, so it really is an international product” (Billboard).

Bakish reportedly told investors about a recent deal with Comcast that will include Pluto TV as part of its Xfinity Flex offer. In addition, Cox Communications will launch Pluto TV on its Cox Contour service.

Podcast: Fighting Fraud in Latin America

Daniel Bilboa discusses why he decided to go after the Latin American market instead of Silicon Valley, how he raised money from Y Combinator, Accel, and Kazsek Ventures, and why he wants to tackle the problem of fraud in Latin America. This episode also discusses why Daniel based his company in Cali and the lessons he learned building and working for three startups in Latin America and Silicon Valley.

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