SoftBank's First Move Marks a Great Debut for Latin America

It seems that the first chapter of Softbank and Latin America recent story is on. After announcing the launch of a $5 billion innovation fund for the region a couple of months ago, the Japanese tech investor now has confirmed a $1 billion raise aiming at one of Latin America’s most thriving tech startups: the Colombian based Rappi.

As stated by Marcelo Claure, SoftBank Group’s COO, “Rappi’s founders have a bold vision to create the premiere multi-service ‘super-app’ for Latin America, improving the lives of millions in the region. In less than four years Rappi has become one of the fastest growing start-ups in Latin America. This rapid growth demonstrates the immense opportunity in the Latin American region. We are excited to be investing in this passionate team of entrepreneurs and believe Rappi will benefit from being a part of the greater SoftBank ecosystem.”

According to a release from SoftBank, this first investment is a collaboration between SoftBank Group and the Vision Fund, each one investing up to $500 million in the on-demand delivery app. Such striking numbers also mark the largest technology financing, until now, in a Latin American company, as reported by Rappi.

“This is the result of very hard work by all members of our team which is absolutely committed to transforming the quality of life of Latin Americans. We will continue to invest in Market-Creating innovations to provide opportunities for millions in the region. It is time for a technology-driven Latin America, and SoftBank’s support is essential to lead this transformation,” said Rappi co-founder and CEO Simon Borrero.

Impressive signs for the region? Yes… at least at a first glance. In fact, Latin America has been seeing a growing interest from global investors and venture funding. In its last report, LAVCA – Latin America Private Equity and Venture Capital Association – found that VC funding into the region almost doubled in 2018, reaching $1.98 billion – in comparison to $1.14 billion in 2017.

If these figures show a promising path for Latin America that both investors and startups are already following? Well… To quote one of our columnists, Elizabeth Gonzalez: Clearly, the region is ready for you, SoftBank.

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