Changes in SoftBank‘s command in Latin America: Paulo Passoni and Shu Nyatta, the two managing partners of the Japanese group’ fund for Latin America, have announced their departure from the operation.
Taking over from Passoni and Nyatta are the Brazilian Alex Szapiro, former CEO of Amazon Brazil and SoftBank‘s operating partner for Latin America, and the Mexican Juan Franck, SoftBank’s head of investments in Mexico.
On his LinkedIn, Passoni confirmed his and Nyatta’s departure and said that the fund is in good hands under Szapiro and Franck. “I am extremely thankful to Masa and SoftBank Investment Advisers for the amazing opportunity to redraw the lines of Latin America venture and growth equity in the past 3 years. I received the biggest gift of them all: I learned in 3 years what would otherwise have taken me 10 in any other place in the world. Shu Nyatta and I now move towards achieving our own dreams. In our own way. With our own culture.”
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Passoni also said that SoftBank is about to announce an additional $2 billion to the $3 billion that makes up the second fund for the region announced last year. If the additional investment is confirmed, the second fund will reach the level of the first, bringing the resources geared to technology companies in Latin America to $10 billion.
SoftBank has not made any comment on the changes at the helm, nor on the additional investment, which is expected to be announced in the coming days.
Changes at the helm
The departure of Passoni and Nyatta comes in the wake of Marcelo Claure‘s departure from the presidency of SoftBank Latin America, at the end of January this year, due to disagreements with Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s founder, about his compensation – one of the reasons given for the departure of Passoni and Nyatta as well. Claure was the one who convinced Masayoshi Son to invest in Latin America.
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The new president of the Latin American fund will be the Frenchman Marcel Combs, who will combine the position with that of SoftBank International CEO. Combs will report to Vision Fund CEO Rajeev Misra.
Last week, SoftBank said it will no longer invest in early-stage startups in Latin America, a strategy announced last year, and launched a spin-off of the fund that was expected to invest $300 million.
As a result, Rodrigo Baer and Marco Camhaji, executives responsible for the early-stage fund, left SoftBank and took over Upload Ventures, a management company that now takes care of the 12 startups portfolio left by SoftBank’s early-stage fund. The Japanese group remains a shareholder in Upload Ventures.
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Despite all the recent changes and the incorporation of SoftBank Latin America Fund into Vision Fund, there are no signs that the Japanese group intends to slow down its investments in the region. The company has already invested in 81 companies in the region, including unicorns such as Nubank, Rappi, Merama, Gympass, QuintoAndar, Kavak, Mercado Bitcoin, Creditas, Loft, and unico.