Chilean fintech Xepelin secures $230M

Chilean fintech, Xepelin, recently secured $30 million in equity and $200 million in credit facilities. LatAm venture fund Kaszek Ventures led the equity portion of the financing, which also included participation from partners of DST Global and a slew of other firms and founders/angel investors. LatAm and U.S.-based asset managers and hedge funds — including Chilean pension funds — provided the credit facilities. In total over its lifetime, Xepelin has raised over $36 million in equity and $250 million in asset-backed facilities.

Nicolás de Camino and Sebastian Kreis founded Xepelin in mid-2019 with the mission of changing the fact that “only 5% of companies in all LatAm countries have access to recurring financial services.” “We want all SMEs in LatAm to have access to financial services and capital in a fair and efficient way,” the pair said.

Source: LAVCA Tech Report 2021

Xepelin is built on a SaaS model designed to give SMEs a way to organize their financial information in real time. Embedded in its software is a way for companies to apply for short-term working capital loans “with just three clicks, and receive the capital in a matter of hours,” the company claimed.

It has developed an AI-driven underwriting engine, which the execs said gives it the ability to make real-time loan approval decisions. The fintech currently has over 4,000 clients in Chile and Mexico, which currently has a growth rate “four times faster” than when Xepelin started in Chile. Over the past 22 months, it has loaned more than $400 million to SMBs in the two countries. It currently has a portfolio of active loans for $120 million and an asset-backed facility for more than $250 million.

Overall, the company has been seeing a growth rate of 30% per month, the founders said. It has 110 employees, up from 20 a year ago. (TechCrunch)

Brazilian IPO Market breaks $11 Billion

Forty-two listings from Brazilian companies have raised more than 57 billion reais ($11 billion) so far in 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That tally beats the previous full-year record of 53.6 billion reais in 2007, when 60 firms went public.

The latest offering from Raizen SA, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Brazil’s conglomerate Cosan SA on Tuesday pushed the year into the record books. It priced shares at 7.40 reais each, the bottom of the indicative range.

The number of Brazilian IPOs is up more than 400% this year through Aug. 4 from the same period in 2020, compared to an increase of about 110% for companies based in the U.S., Bloomberg data show. The numbers exclude blank-check vehicles.

More than 20 Brazilian firms are lined up to go public, with Oncoclinicas, a medical-care provider owned by Goldman, scheduled to price its IPO on Friday. Digital lender Nubank, which counts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as one of its holders, has voiced plans to list shares. (Bloomberg)

Source: Bloomberg

Venezuela enters pre-elections dialogue

Talks between Venezuela’s government and the opposition about the country’s political crisis are expected to begin on Aug. 13 in Mexico. The dialogue will be supported by international actors including Norway, which acted as a mediator in a previous dialogue proceeding in 2019 that collapsed before the two sides could hammer out a deal to ease the political standoff.

The names of the delegation members are still being determined, the sources said. It was not immediately evident in what city the talks would be held, one of the sources said.

President Nicolas Maduro has said he is willing to negotiate with opposition leader Juan Guaido. But Maduro has said the agenda will have to be focused on lifting U.S. sanctions, most of which were created by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019 in efforts to force Maduro from power.

Guaido has said the opposition wants to use the talks to push for guarantees of free and fair elections, following broad criticism that Venezuela’s elections have been stacked in favor of the ruling Socialist Party.

President Joe Biden’s administration says it is reviewing the sanctions policies it inherited, but has not relaxed sanctions on Venezuela’s oil and financial sectors.

Washington has maintained support for Guaido, who it recognizes as the South American country’s rightful leader following Maduro’s disputed 2018 election. (Reuters)

Edtech funding rounds on the rise

While fintech and ecommerce receive the bulk of venture funding in Latin America edtech is also attracting capital. In the past week, Coderhouse, a live cohort-based learning platform, and Crehana, an on-demand skills development service for the enterprise, both announced financing rounds.

Coderhouse, founded in 2014 by Christian Patiño, is a platform for LatAm professionals to take live, online cohort-based courses in topics such as data, coding, design and marketing.

Patiño explained how the original online education platforms, also known as MOOCs, are “super accessible,” with low completion rates. The response to this then became boot camps, which he deems are “way more effective” but inaccessible due to low acceptance rates and high costs. With both sides of the spectrum in mind, he wants Coderhouse to sit somewhere in the middle, combining the affordability of MOOCs (massive open online course providers) and the engagement of bootcamps.

At $100 per course, Coderhouse offers small-group classes led by instructors and teacher assistants, with curriculum designed through partnerships with top companies.

The company announced this week that it has raised a $13.5 million Series A round led by Monashees, along with Reach Capital, David Velez from Nubank and numerous other investors.

Crehana is a one-stop shop for employers to retrain their employees. Where it goes niche in clientele focus, it goes broad in services: It wants to do the “entire value chain” of learning, from assessing skill gaps to offering content to addressing weak spots to tracking progress. Right now, there are more than 400 instructors/mentors that teach over 700 courses across 100,000 techniques and competencies needed for jobs.

Crehana announced today that it has raised a $70 million Series B just months after a $13 million Series A extension round. Per CEO Diego Olcese, the round will lead to “aggressively scaling” an offering that now accounts for half of Crehana’s revenue: Crehana for Business. (TechCrunch)

Source: LAVCA Edtech Startups in Latin America 2021 Survey

Ecuador sovereigns return 28%

Last year Ecuador restructured $17.4 billion of debt which by rating companies was considered a default. Fast forward to August 2021 and the returns on the nation’s bonds have topped 28%, more than any other country, according to a Bloomberg Barclays index. It’s the result of a confluence of factors: a steady vaccination campaign, rising oil prices and optimism that the April election victory of President Guillermo Lasso, a former banker, will usher in a wave of market-friendly reforms.

Lasso defeated the left-wing protege of former President Rafael Correa, a self-declared socialist and ally of Venezuela who defaulted on $3.2 billion of debt in 2008. Lasso’s victory set off a rally that drove Ecuador bonds due in 2030 up 35 cents on the dollar to 87 cents. They may gain more after the interest rate reset to 5% from 0.5% at the end of July.

Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings deem the nation six notches below investment grade, while Moody’s has a Caa3 rating on Ecuador, nine levels into junk. Cueva wants to create the fundamentals for the nation to eventually win investment-grade status.

Source: Bloomberg

Ashmore Group, one of the biggest owners of Ecuador’s debt, is holding on to its bonds, encouraged by Lasso’s pledges to shore up the economy.

“We still find it attractive but it’s not cheap anymore,” said Gustavo Medeiros, deputy head of research at Ashmore. “It’s hard to be short or underweight in a bond with such high yields in a country that’s doing the right thing.” (Bloomberg)

Source: Bloomberg

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