There has never been a year like 2021… Well, at least not for the Brazilian startup and venture capital ecosystem. 2021 was a historical year and, despite the impacts of the pandemic and the economic and political crises, it produced some really outstanding figures: the number of funding rounds increased, the volume of investments grew, the checks got bigger and fatter, and companies and startups did a few dozen merger and acquisition. LABS got some of the major highlights about 2021 from the Brazilian intelligence platform Sling Hub, take a look.
In all, there were 760 funding rounds in 2021 in Brazil and $10 billion in investments – a 194% increase compared to 2020 when $3.4 billion was infused. The average round size also rose, jumping from $5.5 million in 2020 to $13.7 million in 2021, a rise of 150%.
READ ALSO: Marcos Toledo, from Brazilian Canary, the ‘cool hunter’ among VC firms: “When there is no business yet, you invest in people”
The Brazilian innovation ecosystem is still young, and this becomes more evident when looking at the stage of investments: out of the total of 760 rounds, 217 were Seed rounds, raising $157 million (or 2% of the total volume of the year). Then came the Series A rounds, with 83 rounds and $894 million secured.
With only 25 rounds, Series C funding made up 20% of the total volume raised by Brazilian startups in 2021, $2 billion. However, the vast majority of the rounds (270), did not disclose their investment stage; together, they raised $1 billion.
By investment stage, the largest investment rounds in 2021 were:
- Pre-Seed: BHub – $4.5 million
- Seed: TruePay – $8.5 million
- Series A: Daki (JOKR) – $170 million
- Series B: Mercado Bitcoin – $200 million
- Series C: EBANX – $430 million
- Series D: Loft – $425 million
- Series E: Nuvemshop – $500 million
- Series G: Nubank – $750 million (the biggest investment round of the year)
READ ALSO: Top 10 biggest startups funding rounds in Latin America in 2021
It was in this year of bonanza that Brazil saw its unicorn club add nine new members: MadeiraMadeira, Hotmart, Mercado Bitcoin, Nuvemshop, unico, CloudWalk, Olist, Facily, and Daki (the Brazilian branch of U.S. company JOKR).
With this, Brazil ends 2021 with 18 unicorn startups. Data from Sling Hub show that, although fintechs have been the year’s big stars when it comes to funding, in the unicorn club there is a balanced distribution by market: fintech (5), retail tech (3), log tech (2), real estate (2), and edtech, food tech, healthtech, construtech, games and deep tech with one each.
The methodology used by Sling Hub does not consider as unicorn those startups that have gone public through an IPO, such as Nubank, Vtex and Stone. Nor does it consider as part of the unicorn family the holding companies such as Movile (owner of iFood) or Frete.com (owner of CargoX and FreteBras). Merama, a startup with Brazilian and Mexican DNA that became a unicorn in 2021, is not included in the list of Brazilian unicorns made by Sling Hub.
READ ALSO: Lots of jobs, but few candidates: workforce shortage puts the expansion of startups in Brazil at risk
And who invested the most?
The largest investor in Brazilian startups, in terms of number of rounds and not volume invested, is a Brazilian venture capital firm: BossaNova participated in 30 rounds, 21 of which were Seed or Pre-Seed.
Among foreign investors, SoftBank was the most active, leading or following 27 rounds; the Japanese group also bet in 14 post-Series B rounds, with an average size of over $40 million.
2021 was also – guess what – the year of IPOs for Brazilian startups: there were six in total, two of which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE, and four on B3, the Brazilian stock exchange.
The first was VTEX, an e-commerce platform that offers solutions to simplify sales, in July. VTEX had already been a unicorn startup since September 2020 and was valued at $4.7 billion in its NYSE listing. In December Nubank made its double debut at NYSE and B3. The digital bank was valued at more than $50 billion on its first day as a listed company.
Four other startups went public on the Brazilian stock exchange: GetNinjas, GetNet, Infracommerce, and Dotz.
READ ALSO: This startup is changing door-to-door sales for female entrepreneurs in Colombia and Mexico
Investments by region
When we look at the development of the innovation ecosystem by region in Brazil, although the Southeast continues to lead the investment boom (with US$ 8.7 billion – 87% of the total for the country), other regions stood out in 2021: startups from the South, for example, raised 351% more investments than the previous year; moreover, Paraná ended the year with three new unicorns (MadeiraMadeira, unico, and Olist).
The startups in the Northeast, on the other hand, achieved the highest growth percentage. The region went from less than $18 million in 2020 to $ 87 million raised in 2021, a 386% jump.
The data above is from a report issued by the Brazilian intelligence platform Sling Hub, obtained by LABS first hand.