In a flourishing year for the Latin American innovation ecosystem as 2021 was, with record venture capital investment in the region and an increasing appetite from global investors for local companies and solutions, the Latin American unicorn club has taken on new members. At the request of LABS, the Brazilian intelligence platform Sling Hub gathered which startups in the region reached a $1 billion valuation in 2021 and got their unicorn horn.
In all, Latin America welcomed 18 new unicorn startups, and a third of them reached the status in December, corroborating our thesis that the “Santa Claus of venture capital” was on fire during the final sprint of the year. Startups from a wide range of sectors have become unicorns: fintech, edtech, adtech, food tech, retail tech, deep tech e log tech.
Brazil was the country that most boosted its unicorn team, with the entry of nine startups. Mexico comes right behind, with five new unicorns; Argentina gained three and Chile got one. Three unicorns have “dual nationality”: Nuvemshop, which has both Argentinean and Brazilian DNA; Merama, which was born Brazilian and Mexican; and Daki, the Brazilian branch of U.S. company JOKR.
Here is the complete list of the Latin American startups which grabbed growth by the horn in 2021, provided by Sling Hub, as well as data about the round that led these startups to unicorn status. (Over the year, LABS talked to these companies about their solutions, investments, and plans for the future – to read the stories and interviews with CEOs, just click on each one’s name).
- Madeira Madeira (BRA / Construtech)
Séries E – $190 million – January
Investors: Dynamo Ventures, SoftBank, Brasil Capital, Lakewood Investment Management, VELT Partners, Monashees, Flybridge Capital.
- Hotmart (BRA / Edtech)
Séries C – $132 million – March
Investors: TCV, Alkeon Capital.
- Bitso (MEX / Fintech)
Séries C – $250 million – May
Investors: Coatue, Tiger Global Management, Valor Capital, QED Investors, Paradigm, Pantera Capital, Kaszek Ventures, Bond.
- Clip (MEX / Fintech)
Séries D – $250 million – June
Investors: Viking Global Investors, SoftBank.
- Mercado Bitcoin (BRA / Fintech)
Séries B – $200 million – June
Investors: SoftBank, Endeavor, Pipo Capital, Tribe Capital.
- Mural (ARG / Adtech)
Séries C – $50 million – July
Investors: Tiger Global Management, Insight Partners, Gradient Ventures.
- NotCo (CHI / Foodtech)
Séries D – $235 million – July
Investors: Tiger Global Management, Endeavor, Enlightened Hospitality Investments, Future Positive, Kaszek Ventures, L Catterton, SOSV, Zoma Capital, DFJ Growth, Bezos Expeditions.
- Ualá (ARG / Fintech)
Séries D – $350 million – August
Investors: Tencent, SoftBank, Goldman Sachs, Ribbit Capital, Monashees, D1 Capital Partners, Endeavor.
- Nuvemshop (ARG/BRA / Retailtech)
Séries E – $500 million – August
Investors: Tiger Global Management, Insight Partners, Accel, Sunley House Capital Management, Qualcomm Ventures, Kaszek Ventures, Alkeon Capital, VMG Partners, Owl Rock Capital, ThornTree, Capital Partners.
- Unico (BRA / Deeptech)
Séries C – $120 million – August
Investors: SoftBank, General Atlantic, BIG BETS.
- Konfío (MEX / Fintech)
Séries E-II – $110 million – September
Investors: QED Investors, Tarsadia Investments, Kaszek Ventures.
- CloudWalk (BRA / Fintech)
Séries C – $150 million – November
Investors: Coatue, DST Global, A-Star, The Hive Brazil, Plug and Play, Valor Capital.
- Olist (BRA / Retailtech)
Séries E – $178 million – December
Investors: Wellington Management, Globo Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Valor Capital, Corton Capital, SoftBank.
- Merama (BRA/MEX / Fintech)
Follow on – $60 million – December
Investors: Advent International, SoftBank.
- Incode (MEX / Security)
Séries B – $220 million – December
Investors: General Atlantic, SoftBank, J.P. Morgan, Capital One Ventures, Coinbase, SVCI (Silicon Valley CISO Investments).
- Clara (MEX / Fintech)
Séries B – $70 million – December
Investors: Coatue, Global Founders Capital, Alter Global, Avid Ventures, General Catalyst, Monashees, DST Global, Gaingels, Box Group CONIQ Growth.
- Daki (JOKR) (BRA/US / Logtech)
Séries B – $260 million – December
Investors: Activant Capital, Balderton, Greycroft, G-Squared, HV Capital, Kaszek, Mirae Asset, Monashees, Moving Capital, Tiger Global.
- Facily (BRA / Retailtech)
Séries D-II – $135 million – December
Investors: Goodwater and Prosus, Rise Capital, Emerging Variant, Tru Arrow.
Brazil reaches 18 unicorns
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 18 Brazilian unicorns are (in alphabetical order):
- C6 Bank
- Daki (JOKR)
- Bitcoin Marketplace
- Wildlife Studios
* 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.