Brazilian entrepreneur Celso Athayde launches venture capital fund to invest in favelas

Favelas Fundos brings BRL 50 million to invest in startups founded in Brazilian slums

Gerando Falcões Complexo do Alemão
Complexo do Alemão in Brazil. Photo: Shutterstock
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A venture capital fund to speed up and empower entrepreneurs and startups in Brazilian favelas. This is the new venture of Celso Athayde, CEO of Favela Holding and founder of the United Center of Favelas (CUFA in Portuguese). Called Favelas Fundos, the new VC fund brings BRL 50 million for investment in startups founded in the slums, focusing on different segments, such as logistics, food, health, and marketing.

“I always say that favela has power! People need to know the value, capacity, and resilience of the favela entrepreneur. This is the fund’s biggest goal, to raise the potential of entrepreneurs who every day have to deal with adversities quite different from the businessman from the city,” said Athayde.

READ ALSO: TrazFavela and G10 Bank want to multiply the potential of Brazilian favelas, generating income to and from the peripheries

Together with Athayde, the entrepreneur and investor Evanildo Barros Júnior will take over the new fund’s management. Starting out, Favelas Fundos already has BRL 20 million to make the first investments, and another BRL 30 million to be raised as soon as the first investments are closed.

So far, Favelas Fundos has raised funds with several companies from the Favela Holding group and its partners, such as Digital Favela, with Gui Pierri; Data Favela, with Renato Meirelles; Favela Filmes, with John Oliveira; Comunidade Door, with Leo Ribeiro; InFavela, with Thales Athayde; Cab Motors, with Antônio Souza; Favela Vai Voando, with Marilza Pereira, and Alô Social, with Evandro Bei, among others.

READ ALSO: In Brazil, a favela startup delivers parcels where others fear to tread

This is the second venture capital project pursued by Athayde. In 2017, he sold his stake in the financial business company Avante and invested the money in new social businesses – which are now part of Favela Holding. With Favelas Fundos, Athayde wants to expand this social entrepreneurship methodology.  

“Although the group’s companies have been successful, the second phase of this fund will be the professionalizing of this winning project. That’s why Evanildo’s arrival will be essential for the management. We will join the favela intelligence and the business strategy ‘of the city’ to scale up these projects”, he said. 

The choice of projects to receive funding from the Favelas Fundos will be made by the CEOs of the companies from the Favela Holding group, which has more than 20 companies focused on the entrepreneurial development of the slums and their residents.

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