IF – Inovação e Futuro, the innovation “engine” of Brazilian e-commerce behemoth Americanas S.A. launched a “corporate venture” arm this week. The press statement about the initiative came without the “capital” at the end of the description because the company’s main purpose is the development and acceleration of startups, not just investment.
The company, which a few months ago brought together all its operations, physical and online, under the same umbrella, is after at least 20 innovative businesses this year alone that can drive organic growth on the company’s different fronts through open innovation.
IF will inject an initial contribution (of undisclosed size; in practice, it will depend on each startup) into each of them. The idea is to see them grow at least tenfold thanks to connections with the Americanas ecosystem. “The partnership also guarantees a benefits package that includes mentoring carried out by the company’s board and access to a benefits club with more than 50 partners from Americanas SA – estimated at more than R$ 1 million in credits”, the company said in a statement.
Although it does not say how much it has reserved for the IF, Americanas revealed to business news outlet Neofeed that it intends to make pre-seed, seed, and Series A injections, which in practice means that the contributions can exceed BRL 1 million.
Startups interested in getting on Americanas’ radar need to fill out a form on the www.ifrocks.io portal. The selection process will occur throughout the year, including analysis of startups by the corporate venture team, conversation with the founders, pitch days with the company’s C-Level board, and due diligence to receive the investment and begin acceleration.
In addition to developing proprietary solutions, IF leads Americanas’ inorganic growth strategy through significant partnerships and acquisitions. It was within IF that Ame Digital, the company’s payments fintech, emerged.
The company made 29 acquisitions in the last 15 years, ten only between 2020 and 2021. Among the latest ones are two startups from the groceries segment — Supermercado Now and Hortifruti Natural da Terra — and the P2P lending fintech Nexoos, acquired by Ame Digital, to name a few.