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Dealflow.la #15 - Carbon Monoxide deaths in CDMX 🇲🇽 Airbnb 🇺🇸, Web3 Lemon Cash 🇦🇷's $27.8 M Series A after 38% layoffs with funding from FTX 💀, & US 🇺🇸 eases Venezuelan 🇻🇪 oil sanctions.
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Proffer 🇧🇷 raised a $190,000 Seed round with funding from WOW Aceleradora 🇧🇷 and FAPERJ 🇧🇷 to build their price management platform intended to promote an increase in profit margins and a better price perception for the consumer. The company uses artificial intelligence algorithms to generate individualized price recommendations for each product, promising an increase in profit without compromising the end customer's perception of values, enabling customers to have a revenue management tool.
123Projetei 🇧🇷 raised a $760,000 Angel round led by Investidores.vc 🇧🇷 with funding from GVAngels 🇧🇷 and Hangar8 Capital 🇧🇷 to build their online architecture and engineering platform intended to carry out construction projects within technical standards or residential, commercial and building works. The company's platform offers complete planning and project strategies, to make customers' dreams come true with assertive and economic choices and also helps to end chronic construction problems, such as schedule delays, material waste, rework, and regrets, enabling clients to have a platform that reduces costs, ensures comfort and safety in their constructions.
Vörr 🇧🇷 raised a $950,000 Seed round with funding from Mad Fish Digital 🇺🇸, Hugo Daibert 🇧🇷, and Maisa Feital 🇧🇷 to design and produce clothing products intended to sell a variety of quality and fashionable garments online. The company's products include T-shirts, accessories, underwear, shoes, and pet accessories, enabling customers to choose from a wide variety of apparel.
Perfekto 🇲🇽 raised a $1.1M Pre-Seed round with funding from Goodwater Capital 🇺🇸, and Asymmetry Ventures 🇺🇸 to expand its subscription box of imperfect produce programs across Mexico. Their platform aims to avoid food waste, where buyers receive “imperfect” fruits and vegetables – but seasonal and fresh – from a subscription box. The startup works with over 70 producers to “rescue” food and deliver it to consumers. The pre-seed funding will be used in three areas: improve operations and technology, expand its catalog of products to offer customers more variety, and growth in the B2B space.
Netzun 🇵🇪 raised a $1.4 Million Seed round led by Grupo RPP 🇵🇪 with funding from other undisclosed investors to build their online education platform designed to connect companies to university students looking for internships and first jobs. The company's platform provides full access to the catalog of courses and specializations created by recognized and experienced professionals, helping users develop the key skills that companies are looking for today and helping them develop their careers.
Destácame 🇨🇱 raised a $10 Million Series B round led by Banco Santander-Chile 🇨🇱with funding from Kayyak Ventures 🇨🇱 and Fen Ventures 🇨🇱 to build the first behavior-based credit score in Latin America. Their goal is to help people understand their finances in a simple way, make better financial decisions, and access financial products according to their reality. Destácame is part of the global trend of startups that, using technology, propose an alternative to traditional credit scoring systems, which tend to reward only those who are financially well off.
Lemon Cash 🇦🇷 raised $27.8 Million Series A round with funding from Cadenza Ventures 🇺🇸, Valor Capital Group 🇺🇸, Goodwater Capital 🇺🇸, FTX Ventures 🇧🇸 (Now Bankrupt), DST Global 🇬🇧, CMT Digital Ventures 🇺🇸 to continue building their end to end digital ecosystem for Latin America including their digital wallet with FIAT and crypto capabilities. The day before this funding round was announced, Lemon cut 38% of its workforce – about 100 employees – on Thursday, citing the challenging industry environment and the lack of a clear recovery horizon in the venture capital market.
Argentina advanced despite Messi’s saved penalty and Poland squeak through. (The Guardian)
Interior Minister Eduardo ‘Wado’ de Pedro accuses opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition of having corrupt ties with the Judiciary, comparing them to prostitution. (BA Times)
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner brands court 'firing squad' as graft trial nears end. (BA Times)
Argentina's economy contracted in September after currency policy. Economic growth has shown resilience this year despite expectations of a recession following political turmoil in July that resulted in the ouster of three economy ministers in four weeks. (BA Times)
A landslide on a motorway in southern Brazil has killed at least two people and left dozens missing. A torrent of mud fell onto the BR-376 highway in the state of Paraná, hitting more than 21 vehicles, authorities said. Rescue workers at the scene said bad weather and the remote location were complicating the search effort. Firefighters are using a thermal camera to locate possible survivors. Up to 30 people are thought to still be missing. (BBC)
Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's incoming administration aims to create a new Federal Police unit focused on environmental crimes, the transition team's public security chief told Reuters. (CNA)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Saturday attended his first public event since losing reelection almost four weeks ago, making a speechless appearance at a military graduation ceremony. The outgoing president attended the ceremony in Resende, about 1,000 kilometers southeast of his residence in Brazil's capital, where he has been holed up since losing the Oct. 30 runoff to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Apart from a terse statement to the press saying he would respect the constitution, Bolsonaro has not explicitly conceded defeat or congratulated Lula, who is to be sworn in Jan 1st. (VOA)
Brazilian judge rejects attempt to overturn Lula election victory. The ruling comes with a $4.3m penalty for the pro-Bolsonaro coalition that cast doubt on the 2022 election results. (Al Jazeera)
Reuters poll predicts Brazil stocks are set to rally 13% by End-2023 despite uncertainty about new government policies as President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva seeks to balance social priorities and budget constraints. (Reuters/US News)
NYC imports road salt from Chile, but a new bill would have the city buy locally. The bulk of the rock salt that helps clear New York City’s streets of snow and ice during the winter is purchased from mines in Chile — but a new state bill aims to push more of that business upstate. The goal of the bill is to boost local companies like American Rock Salt, which calls its mine near Rochester the country’s largest operating salt mine. (Gothamist)
Chile volcano spews gas, authorities raise an alert. Drone footage captured by a local showed the smouldering giant spewing gas from its snow-covered peak and a small pool of lava in its inside. Authorities raised a yellow alert on neighboring regions and declared a 500-meter area around the crater as a risk zone, although there is no imminent risk of eruption. The volcano, located near the popular tourist resort of Pucon, is one of South America's most active. (Reuters/Yahoo)
Agriculture counts losses due to truckers’ strike in Chile. The truckers' strike in Chile could cost the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex) losses of nearly 500 million dollars. The indefinite strike called by the Confederation of the Northern Truckers Force began last Monday, November 21, to demand mainly a reduction in fuel prices and greater security on the roads. Asoex President, Iván Marambio, said the strike has had a negative impact on the sector, with cherries, blueberries and stone fruits being the most affected products. "(...) we are at a complete standstill, "said Marambio who added that if the strike continues they will have losses close to 500 million dollars. (TeleSur)
Colombia wants the Biden administration to grant temporary legal status to its citizens now living in the United States, noting its own efforts to address regional migration by hosting 2 million Venezuelans who fled their homes. Gustavo Petro, who was elected Colombia’s first leftist president in June, is committed to the “incredibly generous policies” of his predecessor, which includes temporary status for 1.8 million people who fled neighboring Venezuela, said Luis Alberto Murillo Urrutia, Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S. But the diplomat asked the United States for help, saying that in addition to Venezuelans who stay and work, more than 80,000 migrants pass through Colombia each year on their way to other countries. (AP)
Colombia could be open to buying Venezuelan fertilizer maker Monomeros, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo said on Wednesday, at a time when higher fertilizer prices have contributed to inflationary pressure. Though Monomeros is based in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, it is owned by Pequiven, which is a unit of Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA. The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regained control of Monomeros' board of directors in mid-September, following a couple of years when it was controlled by opposition leader Juan Guaido. "On the issue of fertilizers, I have said that we are willing to do anything, even here among us, to buy Monomeros and expand it significantly," Ocampo said at an event with coffee growers in Colombia's capital Bogota. (Reuters/Yahoo)
Harry Styles is currently continuing Love on Tour with dates in South America, and a recent concert in Colombia almost got dangerous for some fans. But thanks to direction and care from Styles, a potential crowd surge was prevented. On Nov. 27, Styles performed at the Coliseo Live event venue in Bogotá, Colombia. The venue was reportedly very hot, and people at the front near the stage allegedly started having trouble breathing. Addressing the problem, Styles paused the show and called for the house lights to be turned on, before instructing everyone on the floor to slowly back up and make space. (Parade)
Colombia’s former FARC leaders face prison time over kidnappings. More than 21,000 victims of kidnapping have been connected to the former rebel group, which demobilized in 2017. (Al Jazeera)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica approves a $730 Million infrastructure budget. With the funds, the ministry must increase the capacity of Juan Santamaría airport and build one or two airport terminals on the Caribbean and/or Pacific coasts. It will also monitor ports to gauge trade demands, while the government wants to revive plans for an intermodal transport system with freight centers integrating ground and rail routes. Other objectives include increasing public transport and micro-mobility investments, and maintaining investments in priority infrastructure to meet needs according to technical planning. (BNA)
Ecuador gangs: Gunmen storm hospital in attempt to kill teen. Gang members took nurses hostage and exchanged fire with police before they were detained. All hostages were freed and no one was injured, officials said. The 17-year-old target of the attack, known as "Dirty Face", is thought to be a rival gang member who is in intensive care recovering from bullet wounds. (BBC)
Ecuador's President plans a referendum on security, politics, and the environment. Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso on Tuesday signed a decree calling for a referendum which he hopes will clear the way for the extradition of Ecuadorans linked to organized crime, as well as to reduce the size of Congress. "Ecuadorans will be able to decide on eight questions that will bring more security, better representation and will allow care for the environment," Lasso wrote on Twitter. (Barron’s)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Journalists from an investigative news outlet in El Salvador sued NSO Group in United States federal court Wednesday after the Israeli firm’s powerful Pegasus spyware was detected on their iPhones. In January, the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, an internet watchdog, reported that dozens of journalists and human rights defenders in El Salvador had their cellphones repeatedly hacked with the spyware. Among them were journalists at the El Faro news site. “These spyware attacks were an attempt to silence our sources and deter us from doing journalism,” Carlos Dada, El Faro’s co-founder and director, said in a statement released by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the El Faro journalists. “We are filing this lawsuit to defend our right to investigate and report, and to protect journalists around the world in their pursuit of the truth,” Dada said. NSO, which was blacklisted by the U.S. government last year, says it sells its spyware only to legitimate government law enforcement and intelligence agencies vetted by Israel’s Defense Ministry for use against terrorists and criminals. Apple and WhatsApp have pending lawsuits against NSO Group in the same U.S. court in the Northern District of California. (AP)
El Salvador launches purchase offer for remaining 2023-2025 external debt. (Nasdaq)
Another perspective: The government set the maximum for the repurchase at $74 million. The 2023 and 2025 bond offerings were $800 million each.
In September, the government bought back $565 million of those bonds. (ABC)
The prominent Guatemalan investigative newspaper “El Periodico” announced Wednesday that it is stopping its print edition, after the government arrested the paper’s president. José Rubén Zamora was arrested in July and charged with money laundering and extortion. Zamora has overseen dozens of investigations into corruption during his leadership at El Periodico since the paper was founded in 1996. All of the paper’s reporters have been let go, and it is not clear how it can continue with digital editions only. The government has withdrawn advertising and has allegedly pressured businesses to do the same. (AP)
Belize police say they are investigating a report in which a member of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) was shot following an incident at the Valentin Conservation Post along the Belize-Guatemala border. At this time investigators are trying to ascertain who fired the shot and from which direction it was fired. Based on what the BDF solider reported the shot may have been fired from Guatemala. We are still trying to ascertain if that is so. (CNW)
Legal proceedings against a former Guatemalan judge and a former prosecutor constitute an attack on the rule of law and a reprisal against their human rights and anti-corruption work, a UN expert said today. The UN has urged Guatemalan authorities to take immediate action to ensure the safety of former prosecutors and to protect the independence of the country’s judges and prosecutors. (RelifWeb)
Honduras beefs up borders in crackdown on gangs. Honduras on Sunday sent more than 600 military police officers to its borders with El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua as part of a state of emergency declared against criminal gangs in the Central American nation, police told AFP. The small country has long been plagued by poverty, gangs, and violence linked to drug trafficking. Gangs have recently been extorting ordinary citizens as they go about their business, and President Xiomara Castro declared the emergency on Thursday. The reinforcements aim to "prevent the entry" into the country of "members of criminal structures" from neighboring countries, and in particular from El Salvador, military police spokesman Mario Rivera said. (VOA)
Police presence ramps up in Honduras under state of emergency. President Xiomara Castro says emergency measures aim to curb gang extortion and recover areas held by organized crime. “To strengthen efforts to recover lawless areas in the neighborhoods, in villages, in departments, I declare a national state of emergency,” Castro said as she announced the measures during a live television broadcast. (Al Jazeera)
Honduras will soon complete negotiations with the United Nations that aim to create an international mission to fight corruption in the country, President Xiomara Castro said on Monday. The government has been negotiating with U.N. officials since May on creating the mission, with experts saying widespread graft in Honduras has aggravated poverty, violence, and increased migration to other countries. (Reuters)
Mexico beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 but neither are celebrating. With two rapid-fire goals scored in the early minutes of the second half, Mexico managed to defeat Saudi Arabia 2-1 but failed to advance to the last 16 because group-rival Poland secured the same number of points but had let in one less goal. Coming into the match, Saudi Arabia needed a win to advance to the next round, whereas Mexico’s fate would be determined by the size of their victory and the result of the Poland-Argentina match that was taking place at the same time. Mexican fans, who had one eye on the result of the Poland-Argentina match, were excited as it appeared their side was going to advance on yellow cards – but their dreams were crushed when Saudi Arabia’s Salem Aldawsri scored in the 95th minute. The late Saudi goal was not enough to change their fate but it did prevent Mexico from moving ahead, leaving Poland to advance to the next round by a single goal differential. (Al Jazeera)
Drug lord ‘La Barbie’ is not currently in federal custody, the United States Bureau of Prisons says. Mexico presses for answers. Valdez Villarreal’s name appears as “not in BOP custody” on the agency’s website, CNN confirmed Tuesday. When asked why, bureau spokesperson Benjamin O’Cone declined to give more details and explained there are “several reasons” why this can happen. “Inmates who were previously in BOP custody and who have not completed their sentence may be outside BOP custody for a period of time for court hearings, medical treatment or for other reasons,” O’Cone said in an email Tuesday. He added that they do not provide specific information on the status of inmates who are not in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for “safety, security, or privacy reasons.” “If he is not in prison, you have to see the agreement they made with him because his sentence was for several years. Here in Mexico, there are also complaints filed against him,” Mexican President López Obrador said. “Do not get ahead of ourselves. We are going to wait to see what is happening.”(CNN)
A row between the US and Mexico over a plan by the latter to ban imports of genetically modified corn by 2024 deepened on Monday. US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned Mexico's president that the US would be forced to take legal action if no "acceptable resolution" was found. Mexico argues that genetically modified seeds are a threat to its own ancient native corn varieties. But on Tuesday, Mexico's president said he would seek a deal with the US. A ban would have "significant impact" on US-Mexico trade, Mr Vilsack had earlier warned. Mexico is the second-largest importer of corn in the world after China, and much of the corn it buys comes from the United States. But this ban could result in Mexico halving its US imports of yellow corn, a Mexican minister told news agency Reuters last month. (BBC)
Four years after his inauguration, why is Mexico’s leader still campaigning?Barred from reelection, as Mexican presidents are restricted to one one-term, Lopez Obrador is accused of bussing in supporters to drum up support for his successor. This week, he provided a stunning show of political force for that movement, drawing hundreds of thousands of supporters out into the streets of Mexico City on Sunday in a march that culminated in a speech in the capital’s central Zócalo plaza. (The Guardian)
Families of Americans who died of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in Mexico City to sue Airbnb. In an exclusive interview, the heartbroken mothers of Jordan Marshall, Kandace Florence, and Courtez Hall said Airbnb must require working carbon monoxide detectors at all of its rental units. The heartbroken mothers of three Americans who died this month from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at an Airbnb in Mexico City said their deaths were easily preventable and announced a coming lawsuit against the rental giant. (NBC)
Mexican officials say some tourists lost their documents in a large fire that hit an area of hotels and guest houses on the island of Holbox, at the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Tourists and local people escaped unharmed from a large fire that raged in an area of hotels and guest houses on the island of Holbox, at the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Mexican officials said Tuesday, Authorities said some tourists lost their documents to the blaze. It was not clear how many structures burned in the fire, which broke out late Monday and was brought under control by the Mexican navy, National Guard and other agencies early Tuesday. Consular officials were helping tourists with emergency travel documents. (ABC)
Japan Airlines courted to start Miami-Tokyo flights. A direct Japan-to-Miami air route would be a “game changer” to Miami’s Japanese business community, says Kazuhiro Nakai, consul general of Japan in Miami. (Miami Today News)
Miami International Airport soars 15% above pre-covid air traffic. (Miami Today News)
The Inter-American Human Rights Court has declared the government of Nicaragua in contempt of court for ignoring rulings on political prisoners. (ABC)
United will resume flights to Nicaragua after almost 3 years with its service between Houston (IAH) and Managua (MGA) starting January 4, 2023. The company’s last operation on this route was on March 31, 2020. (Avacionline)
On Monday, President Pedro Castillo arrived in Santiago City to participate in the 4th Binational Presidential and Ministerial Meeting between Peru and Chile to address regional integration issues over the next two days. (TeleSur)
Peru opposition lawmakers launch third impeachment attempt against Castillo. Peru opposition legislators on Tuesday presented another impeachment motion against President Pedro Castillo, the third formal attempt to oust the leftist leader since he took office last year, calling him morally unfit for office. The impeachment attempt comes amid escalating tensions between the two government branches. Castillo has said the legislature is attempting a coup d'etat against him while opposition lawmakers say he is trying to illegally shut down Congress. (Reuters)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico extends controversial power contract with Luma Energy amid outages, and objections. A heavily criticized private company that operates the transmission and distribution of power in Puerto Rico has secured a last-minute extension on its contract despite widespread objections. (ABC)
Spy claims raised in Uruguay probe of ex-presidential guard. Two months into an investigation of alleged passport forgery involving the former head of security for Uruguay’s president, questions are expanding after a newspaper’s reports that prosecutors have also found evidence of political spying and blackmail against opposition politicians. (Washington Post)
Longtime Caracas bakeries enjoy the sweet benefits of dollarization. After years of struggle, veteran bakeries in Venezuela's capital Caracas are cooking up a variety of delectables, in the latest sign that the country's slight economic boost is reviving some family-owned small businesses. Numerous old-style bakeries and dessert shops in Venezuela's main cities that struggled two years ago to produce a variety of products due to a scarcity of ingredients are now offering ever-more baked goods. Since 2019, when President Nicolas Maduro decided to relax foreign currency controls as sanctions impacted oil earnings, Venezuela's economy has benefited from much-needed oxygen brought by de facto dollarization. Dollarization meant freedom from the troughs and peaks of Venezuela's local currency, extra dough for spending in some sectors, and greater ease for importing certain ingredients, like wheat flour. While bakeries are not yet as prosperous as they were 10 years ago, Andres Kerese and his family - owners of one of Caracas' oldest bakery chains - are seizing the opportunity now afforded by increased use of the dollar. (Reuters)
The ports of the US Gulf of Mexico coast will soon resume shipments that have been absent for more than three years: tankers full of Venezuela’s heavy crude oil. The first tanker carrying about 1 Million barrels could set sail as soon as this month after the US loosened restrictions on Chevron’s operations in the Latin American country, according to a person familiar with the supermajor’s operations in Venezuela. The impending restart of deliveries to American oil refineries reflects a shift in Washington’s policy towards Caracas and a changing political landscape inside the US, analysts said. Whether it will relieve tight global energy markets is less clear. (FT)
Another Perspective: US eases Venezuela oil sanctions after gov’t, opposition ink deal. The easing of sanctions comes after the Venezuelan government and the opposition signed an accord to set up a UN-mandated fund. (Al Jazeera)
Venezuela’s Maduro says free elections only possible if all international sanctions are lifted. The Chavista president clearly stated his demands for making progress at ongoing talks with the opposition in Mexico. (EP)
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