2018 was an expansion year for Magma Partners. We started on a high note, closing our Fund II with backing from LPs in Chile, Colombia, Argentina, China and the US in January. We’re part of the movement that made 2018 the year people started to take Latin American tech seriously.
At the same time, we announced the launch of the Sino-Latin American Accelerator, a partnership with Chinese coworking company, Kr Space, that helps Chinese entrepreneurs and investors reach the Latin American market, and Latin Americans take advantage of Chinese market knowledge and venture capital and Jie Hao, our Beijing-based Partner, opened a full time office in Beijing.
We added amazing people to our team across Latin America, China and the US, bringing us to seven full time and 10 part time team members. We have people on the ground in San Francisco, NYC, Austin, Beijing, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Francisco supports Magma teams with Latin American connections, providing a link to top Latin American businesses that can make companies.
JT, Pedro, Sophia, Alejandra, Angel have been amazing additions to the full time team and are helping us build the support system for the entrepreneurs we’ve been lucky enough to be able to support. Pedro, Paolo, Eugenio, Codie, Neil and Pierre make up the amazing support team that allows us to have the reach we need. Our LPs in Latin America, China and the US are also a crucial support system, both in connections and advice, but also in follow on funding. Our LPs have invested and additional $5.5M into Magma portfolio companies this year, giving us the ability to help companies as they scale.
We’ve now made a total of 50 investments since we started in January 2014. In the past six months, we have made our first investments in Peru, Puerto Rico and Ecuador, and continued to invest in Mexico, Colombia and Chile. We’ve also continued to support the ecosystem, launching LatAm List, an English-language tech news website, posting more than 65 Crossing Borders Podcasts, our monthly tech deep dives on my blog and 20+ guest posts in TechCrunch, CrunchBase, Venture Beat, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc, 36Kr and more. We’ve also appeared in Bloomberg, Reuters, TechCrunch and many more, helping to raise the profile of Latin American entrepreneurs as much as we can.
Here’s a roundup of our busy year, especially what has happened in the past six months. But first, some trends:
Magma became much more international in 2018
While our roots are Chilean, we’re regional. We invested in 18 companies in 2018. 7 were in Chile, 5 Mexico, 4 Colombia, 3 Ecuador, 1 Argentina, 1 Peru and 1 Puerto Rico.
Magma’s top two investment sectors are marketplaces and fintech
Magma invests into fintech, insurance tech and blockchain companies that operate in Latin America, and the companies that service them. We also invest into US companies that have tech and sales teams in Latin America. Our biggest sectors are marketplaces and fintech.
Magma Portfolio companies have aggregate sales of $27.4M in 2018 and employ 550+ people
Magma Portfolio companies have raised an aggregate of $37.7M in follow on funding, the vast majority from the United States.
Since our last update, we have made 11 new investments, bringing the Magma II investment total to nineteen. Here are some of the new additions to the Magma portfolio:
Fanatiz – A Chilean startup based in Miami that helps soccer fans stream Latin American games from anywhere in the world. Fanatiz gained press attention in Chile when they provided the Pope with an account so he could watch his local team from Vatican City.
Kushki – The Stripe for Latin America, currently growing out of Ecuador and Colombia to become the go-to online payments processor in Latin America.
Albo – A Mexican neobank founded in 2016 that is fighting for financial inclusion using a fully mobile, branchless banking service that helps people manage their money. We coinvested alongside Greyhound Capital, ArkFund, and People Ventures in Albo’s Seed Round.
Chaty – Chaty is a Peruvian startup specialized in the development of Artificial Intelligence ChatBots with Natural Language Processing, which allows businesses to take orders and process payments from customers via messaging services such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp etc.
Rebus – A Colombian startup that allows event organizers to build their own apps in under three minutes to drive event revenue. CEO Juliana Villalba recently pitched at the WeXchange Summit in Lima, presenting among the top female founders in Latin America.
Bullish – A software for tracking your cryptocurrency portfolio, based in Chile.
Kriptos – Based in Ecuador, Kriptos is a sophisticated software that classifies and labels company information using Artificial Intelligence. The software automatically detects, classifies and labels company information into: general, restrictive and confidential information. The Kriptos team participated in the Techstars Barclay’s accelerator in Israel in mid-2018.
Bexi – A Mexican startup that offers an unlimited, smart & autonomous design platform created for marketing teams to help scale internal design efforts.
The Podcast App – The Netflix for Podcasts. The Podcast App recently participated in Y Combinator. We coinvested alongside YCombinator, FJ Labs and more.
Here are a few of the highlights from the second half of the year!
OmniBnk – In September, OmniBnk (which recently rebranded from Portal Finance) closed a US$200M lending deal with BTG Pactual, one of Latin America’s leading investment banks. The firm committed to providing US$200M in loans to small businesses through Omnibnk’s invoice-backed financing system.
Jooycar – In October, IoT connected car platform, Jooycar, received US$3M in follow-on funding in a round led by HCS Capital in Miami. With the addition of a new CEO, Rodrigo Labbe, Jooycar plans to expand into the US market in 2019.
Brainhi – Brainhi was the first Puerto Rican startup to go through YCombinator.
Magma in China
Since we launched the Kr-Magma Space in January, we’ve been holding monthly events in Latin American embassies in China or at Kr Spaces in Beijing and Shanghai. Some of the best events were Chile, Brazil and Mexico.
During the first week of December, we received a delegation from the China Youth Center for International Exchange and our partner, Francisco Saenz, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them to continue to support exchange between Chinese and Latin American entrepreneurs. This agreement is another step in the deepening ties between Magma Partners and China. We also publish a weekly column in 36Kr, China’s TechCrunch, to share Latin American tech news with the Chinese audience.
Deepening ties in Mexico
In November, I was invited to attend and speak on a venture capital panel at the Consejo Empresarial de America Latina (CEAL) conference that brings together business leaders, politicians, and entrepreneurs in Latin America. Several of our portfolio companies were invited to present, including OmniBnk, Workep, BrainHi, and Albo. We made more investments into Mexican companies and reviewed more than 500 Mexican startups that applied to Magma in 2018.
TechCrunch Startup Battlefield in Brazil
In November, I went to Sao Paulo to judge at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield, which was one of the best events in Latin America startups in 2018.
Parallel 18 Mentorship + Tech Talk
Nathan spent two weeks in Puerto Rico mentoring two different generations of Parallel 18 startups. You can watch one of his mentor talks on the Magma YouTube channel.
Magma News and Podcasts
Some of the top podcasts and news articles we’ve done in 2018
Diego Caicedo – The Omnibnk story
Andres Moreno – The Open English story
Daniel Undurraga – The inside story of how Daniel and team sold Cornershop for $225M
Emilia Diaz – Case study of Emilia’s business not working out how she’d hoped
Carlos Moyses – iFood’s CEO, Brazil’s food delivery monster, which raised $500M in 2018.
Komal Dadlani – The story behind Lab4U
How to Raise Money from Magma Partners – The step by step process to raising money from Magma.
Cristian van der Henst – The Platzi story