Recently Latin America (LATAM) startups and governments (particularly in Colombia) have harnessed the supply chain disruption brought about by COVID to accelerate growth and international trade relations. Check out highlights below, and, subscribe to LATAM Weekly for full details and emails covering Latin American business news delivered to your inbox each week.
Colombia Logistics Developer Raises $4M to Improve Latin American Supply Chain For Essential Businesses
Tül, a Bogota-based supply chain logistics technology developer, raised $4 million in order to expand across Latin America. The company connects construction manufacturers to small businesses that are responsible for handling construction jobs in LATAM. It allows producers to talk to the stores and do promotions directly.
Eric Reiner, an investor with Vine Capital Management, which led the company’s seed round, describes how Tül opened up supply chains for hardware stores during COVID:
“Colombia was the most-locked-down country in the whole world. People were not allowed to leave their houses, but construction was deemed an essential business...Tül allowed hardware stores to ship products directly to the construction workers. With their logistics network they started a separate brand delivering sanitation equipment so that schools and laundromats could become sanitation stations."
Tül hit a $10 million revenue run rate and has signed up 3,000 stores in Colombia alone since its launch eight months ago. With its new funding, the company will soon open operations in Ecuador. The company also expects to ramp up hiring significantly.
Global Supply Chain Disruption Prompts Colombia To Tap Into U.S. Investment
Colombia leverages its geographical proximity to the U.S. to attract more foreign direct investor with COVID-19 disrupting international supply chains and highlighting dependence on China. The country plans to present at least seven projects that can be financed using part of a $5 billion credit line with a U.S. development bank. Francisco Santos, Colombia’s Ambassador to the U.S., discusses how the investment may help build trade relationships:
“The geopolitical and economic moment is favorable.. We’re in the most important stage of rebuilding the relationship the U.S. has with Latin America. A relationship not based on assistance, but on trade and investment."
Bloomberg reports that Colombia has been offering tax incentives and making it easier for foreign companies to invest, as part of a broader government plan to attract $11.5 billion per year in non-hydrocarbon-related foreign direct investment by 2022.
Brazil Startup Raises The Most For A LATAM Healthtech Company to Date
Sami, based in Brazil, raised $15.5 million, the largest Series A raised by a healthtech company in Latin America. It plans to use this capital to “pioneer in the management of the entire healthcare value chain.”
Sami provides technology-based health plan solutions for SME (small to medium enterprise) healthcare companies in Brazil and provides primary care and medical guidance 24 hours a day utilizing digital technology to improve customer experience.. The company aims to tackle the main issues faced by Brazil’s healthcare system; including cost, inefficiency, and low-quality care. Michael Nicklas, partner at Valor Capital Group, stated:
“It is through technology that the health market will be empowered, and Sami is applying this with digital transformation, bringing transparency and increasing user interaction. With that, there are efficiency gains for companies and for the ecosystem as a whole.”