SoftBank plans to invest $1b from Latin America fund in 2020

FILE PHOTO - SoftBank Corp. placard is prepared during a ceremony to mark the company's debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan, December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

SoftBank Group Corp. will continue to invest in Latin America this year, focusing on industries including e-commerce, health care and fintech.

As part of its $5 billion Latin America Fund launched in the first quarter of 2019, the Japanese giant plans to dole out $1 billion in 2020, adding to last year’s $1.6 billion. It’s poured $100 million to $150 million into each of 17 companies and two venture capital firms so far, though the playing field is bigger: SoftBank has its sights on roughly 650 firms in the region.

“We are focused on investing in companies that could achieve long-term profitability,” Andres Freire, a managing partner and head of SoftBank’s Southern Cone region, said during a roundtable with reporters in Buenos Aires. Countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico are in the spotlight, and Freire said there’s no preset amount by nation.

SoftBank’s investments include the Colombia-based delivery startup Rappi, Brazil fitness company Gympass and Argentine fintech Uala. The firm’s expansion in Latin America is also looking at startups that apply artificial-intelligence to food-related businesses, especially those focused on plant-based food.

It’s “paying special attention” to two companies from Brazil, one from Peru and one from Chile, Freire said.

In addition to the investments, SoftBank will launch an 11-week program with the Correlation One foundation to train and potentially hire future AI experts, he said. The firm will also continue to invest directly in venture capital firms, after taking a $130 million stake in Kaszek Ventures and making a $100 million investment in Valor Capital Group in 2019.

More than 50% of the startups the regional fund has invested in are from Brazil:

COMPANIES HOME COUNTRY
Rappi Colombia
Loggi Brazil
Quinto Andar Brazil
Volanty Brazil
Banco Inter Brazil
MadeiraMadeira Brazil
Ualá Argentina
Creditas Brazil
Konfio Mexico
VTEX Brazil
Kavak Mexico
Olist Brazil
Clip Mexico
Buser Brazil
Gympass Brazil
Loft Brazil
AlphaCredit Mexico
Kaszek Ventures Mexico
Valor Capital Group Brazil
Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.