Discover more from Dealflow.la
Dealflow.la #35 - Match-fixing in Brazil's top soccer league 🇧🇷, Chile 🇨🇱 nationalizing its lithium industry, and Habi 🇨🇴 raises $100 Million in debt financing.
Latin America is rising. Subscribe to Dealflow.la to keep up.
BrandLovrs 🇧🇷 led a $2 Million Seed round led by Canary 🇧🇷 with funding from Scale-Up Ventures 🇧🇷, TheVentureCity 🇺🇸, and 4equity Media Ventures 🇧🇷 to gamify influencer marketing campaigns. The Company’s platform is designed to offer fan engagement solutions. The company offers to scale collaboration with creators from discovery to automated payment and reward creators for producing authentic content to boost your brand, enabling users to increase your e-commerce sales through automatic management of thousands of influencers.
Eyecare Health 🇧🇷 raised a $2.5 Million Seed round led by Vox Capital 🇧🇷 to develop digital eye healthcare technology intended to change the way ophthalmology is done. The company offers products for the entire ophthalmology ecosystem, encompassing management, and data, and also provides access to essential care with its product intended for companies, enabling ophthalmologists to make eye health accessible and easy.
ZiYou 🇧🇷 raised a $3.9 Million Seed round led by Bertha Capital 🇧🇷 to build a subscription-based platform intended for fitness equipment. The company's platform offers online fitness classes, online sales, and rental of sports equipment, such as treadmills, spinning bikes, ellipticals, paddles, and weight training stations, among others, providing fitness enthusiasts to access equipment and workout classes on one platform.
Justos 🇧🇷 raised a $6.4 Million Venture round led by MSR Capital 🇺🇸 to develop an automotive insurance application designed to use information about how users drive to set the insurance price. The company's application uses artificial intelligence to analyze and process requests for new insurance, reduce the time to resolve claims, and define risk and pricing models based on the driver's driving quality, enabling insurers to measure acceleration, braking, and speeding and charge an individualized value for each driver.
Galactic Holdings 🇲🇽 raised a $10 million Seed round led by BAI Capital 🇨🇳 with funding from Animoca Brands 🇭🇰, Y2Z Ventures 🇨🇳, Longling Capital 🇨🇳, Head & Shoulders Financial Group 🇭🇰, TKX Capital 🇭🇰, Perseverance Capital 🇺🇸, and Palm Drive Capital 🇺🇸 to create a digital finance platform intended to empower people in LATAM with comprehensive crypto services. The company's platform offers an all-in-one ecosystem for cryptocurrency transactions, which includes a crypto wallet, a crypto exchange, and Mexican Pesos pegged stablecoin, enabling users to access and use cryptocurrencies, whether for trading, remittance, or payment purposes in an easy way.
Habi 🇨🇴 raised $100 Million in Debt Financing from Victory Park Capital 🇺🇸 to continue building their technology-driven real estate platform intended to simplify the process of buying and selling residential properties for middle-class consumers. The company's platform reduces sales time, mitigates the risks facing sellers in traditional transactions, and eliminates the need for intermediaries by combining advanced analytical tools with human insight, enabling clients to buy, sell and improve homes quickly and also giving them access to the necessary information.
Argentina's lithium pipeline promises 'white gold' boom as Chile tightens control. In Argentina's mountainous north, a strong pipeline of lithium projects close to coming online looks set to unlock a wave of production that could see its output of the key electric vehicle battery metal as much as triple within the next two years. The world’s fourth largest producer of the silvery-white metal sits within the so-called "lithium triangle" and has been luring investment from Canadian to Chinese mining firms with a regional and market-led model, even as a wave of resource nationalism has spread in the region. (Reuters)
Pope Francis said he hopes to travel to his native Argentina in 2024, which would mark the first time he would step foot in his homeland since becoming pontiff a decade ago. “I want to go to the country next year,” the pope said in an interview with a columnist for Argentine newspaper La Nación that was published Sunday. The 86-year-old pope did not provide further details about the potential trip, which has been the subject of much speculation in his homeland. (AP)
Argentina brokerage apologizes after spreading devaluation rumor. Argentine brokerage Max Capital Valores said it “deeply regretted” spreading misinformation over a currency devaluation of the nation’s official exchange rate. “We deeply regret having inadvertently participated in the dissemination of an unfounded rumor that does not represent the institutional opinion of the Max Capital Group,” the firm said Saturday in a statement posted to its LinkedIn page. “Its disclosure to local and foreign clients was the result of an involuntary error on the part of a company employee, who acted on their own account based on false rumors.” Economy Minister Massa has denied plans to devalue the peso. (Bloomberg)
Argentina’s Economy Minister Sergio Massa vowed to staunch a collapse in the nation’s parallel exchange rates as the peso’s worth slumps to record lows. The nation will use “all the tools of the state to stabilize this situation,” Massa wrote on Twitter, invoking plans to address currency troubles as officials renegotiate a $44 billion lending program with the International Monetary Fund. (Bloomberg)
Argentina’s president has said he will not seek re-election when the South American nation goes to the polls later this year, throwing open a race to lead the ruling Peronist coalition at the ballot amid a deepening economic crisis. In a video message on Friday, Alberto Fernandez said he would “hand over the presidential sash to whomever has been legitimately elected at the polls by the popular vote” in October and not seek a second term in office. (Al Jazeera)
At least six games in Brazil’s top-flight soccer league last year are under investigation for match-fixing, prosecutors said Tuesday as part of their widening probe. Authorities raided the homes of businessmen and players in six Brazilian states and 16 cities. Nine players were being questioned, though prosecutors did not reveal their identities. The investigation began in November focusing on three matches and has widened to 11 games, though some were in lower leagues, Goiás state prosecutor Fernando Cesconetto said in a press conference. Investigators said players received offers between $10,000 and $20,000 to perform specific actions during matches, like receiving yellow cards and giving out corner kicks. Alleged criminals would profit on betting sites. (AP)
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has denounced the “violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” after facing criticism for remarks he made over the weekend about Russia’s invasion of the country. The left-wing leader, however, did double down on his call for mediation in the conflict, which began in February 2022. (Al Jazeera)
The top national security adviser to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has resigned after video emerged showing the aide inside the presidential palace in Brasilia during rioting on 8 January. Gen Marcos Gonçalves Dias stepped down after CNN Brasil broadcast CCTV footage of him talking to members of a mob. The general denied accusations that he had facilitated the rioters' entry. (BBC)
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrived in Spain on Tuesday on the second stop of a European tour aimed at resetting relations and making progress on a long-delayed trade deal between the European Union and the South American bloc Mercosur. Following five days spent in Portugal, Lula attended a business forum in Madrid before meetings with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe VI on Wednesday. The pending EU-Mercosur trade deal will be high on the agenda. The 27-member EU completed negotiations with Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, in 2019. But ratification has stalled. (ABC)
Chile’s plan for state control in lithium dismays business. The Chilean government’s newly announced plan to have the state take a majority stake in the lithium industry disconcerted business leaders, though analysts cautioned that the proposal appears to try to strike a middle ground between competing interests. President Gabriel Boric announced in a national broadcast Thursday night that private companies will have to partner with the government in exploiting Chile’s lithium, a metal used to make rechargeable batteries. Boric said the state would take a controlling interest in each partnership, leading some to call it a nationalization of the industry, while others disagreed. (CNBC)
Chile is one of Latin America’s safest countries, but its residents are becoming more worried after an uptick in violent crime and a spate of police killings. This month, the government passed a series of laws and allotted an additional $1.5bn to its police force. One of those laws, called the “quick trigger” law, allows police to use force when they feel their lives are under threat. Many Chileans are still haunted by riot police actions during 2019 protests, and human rights advocates say the new law could lead to impunity for police abuses. (Al Jazeera)
Chile’s new Lithium plan to scare off investors. The Chilean government’s plan to demand a controlling stake in all future lithium projects will deter investment and risks stalling the clean energy transition, according to Canadian mining billionaire Robert Friedland. The announcement, which sent share prices of Chilean lithium companies tumbling on Friday, would be “quite challenging for international capital, and it makes it harder to invest in Chile,” the chairman of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. said in an interview. (Bloomberg)
Chile presents the fastest trains in South America. “Providing Chile with an extensive train network is a core and historical desire of our country that the Government of President Gabriel Boric assumed a commitment and in which we are advancing. With an investment of 70 million dollars, these trains come to renew the fleet of the Santiago-Chillán service, allowing our country to position itself one step higher in terms of rail technology at the Latin American level,” highlighted Minister Juan Carlos Muñoz. (BNAmericas)
Colombia hosts a conference on Venezuela's political crisis. Diplomats from 20 countries have gathered in Colombia for a conference in on the political crisis in Venezuela, where Nicolas Maduro’s socialist administration has strengthened its autocratic rule despite international efforts to expand political freedom. (ABC)
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó said he was expelled from Colombia hours after he crossed the border from Venezuela to try to meet with some participants at an international conference Tuesday to discuss his country’s political crisis. In a video posted on Twitter, Guaidó said he entered Colombia trying to escape Venezuelan government persecution, but that now he also felt he was being persecuted by President Nicolás Maduro in Colombia. (NBC)
Demand among Colombian citizens for offshore trust services has surged since the ascension of leftist President Gustavo Petro, who raised taxes on the wealthy as part of his drive to overhaul the economy. (Bloomberg)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
El Salvador news outlet relocates to Costa Rica to avoid Bukele’s crackdown. El Faro moves its headquarters to avoid ‘fabricated accusations’ after 25 years of reporting on drug wars, crime, and corruption. “We’ve been harassed. We’ve received death threats from drug cartels, requiring us to contract armed security guards. And we’ve had the police coming to our houses after we revealed their corruption scandals,” said Óscar Martínez, editor of the online investigative outlet. “Some of our journalists have been exiled, but we have managed to continue reporting from San Salvador.” (The Guardian)
Ecuador’s criminal gangs bring death and mayhem amid political gridlock
Gunmen in speedboats, carnage in prisons … ‘We do not deny that we are in the worst moment of violence in the country,’ says defense minister as the embattled president clings to office. “We do not deny that we are in the worst moment of violence in the country,” said Ecuador’s defence minister, Juan Zapata, after the string of attacks exemplified just how routine gang violence has become in the small Andean nation. “A process of urban terrorism has been unleashed,” Col Mario Pazmiño, a former director of military intelligence, told the Guardian. “The government has lost control of this crisis.” (The Guardian)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Police in Mexico City arrested one of the most wanted leaders of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang accused of multiple crimes in the United States, officials said on Tuesday, in a fresh blow to one of Central America's most violent criminal groups. Jose Wilfredo Ayala, 55, was arrested after a tip from a neighbor, according to the Mexican capital's security ministry. The ministry said it had discovered Ayala - believed to be second-in-command of the gang commonly known as MS-13 - was using a false identity and hiding in Mexico City and in two areas a short drive north in Hidalgo state. Ayala is "under investigation for homicide charges and is tied to other crimes like aggravated robbery, using false documents, possessing weapons of war, public disorder, and others committed in the United States," the ministry said in a statement. (Reuters/US News)
The president of Guatemala appealed to other governments to respect Taiwan’s sovereignty during an official visit Tuesday at a time when China’s ruling Communist Party is stepping up efforts to isolate the self-ruled island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory. (AP)
People living in Honduras are facing "war-like levels of violence", the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has warned. During a visit to the Central American country, the organization's head Jan Egeland spoke to "people whose suffering was on the level with what you would find in any armed conflict". Entire communities were being forcibly displaced by gangs, he said.
He urged governments around the world not to neglect the crisis. (BBC)
Mexico’s immigration agency head arraigned after deadly fire. The head of Mexico’s immigration agency was arraigned on charges Tuesday that he failed in his responsibility to protect those in his custody when 40 migrants died in a fire at a border detention center last month. (ABC)
Mexico finally sells Boeing 787 presidential jet to Tajikistan. After almost 4 1/2 years of trying, Mexico’s president said Thursday he has finally sold the unwanted presidential jet — to the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government of Tajikistan paid the equivalent of about $92 million for the Boeing 787 jet. López Obrador refused to use the jet after taking office on Dec. 1, 2018, saying it was too luxurious. The austerity-loving president usually takes commercial flights. López Obrador had tried to lure corporations and business executives to buy the jet, but found no takers. He even symbolically “raffled off” the plane, which would be expensive to convert back into a normal airliner.
The plane was purchased for $200 million and was used by the previous president, Enrique Peña Nieto. It has been difficult to sell because it is configured to carry only 80 people and has a full presidential suite with a private bath. Experts said it would be costly to reconfigure into a typical passenger jet that would carry up to 300 passengers. Though the plane has relatively few miles on it, Mexico was eager to unload it because maintence costs make it expensive to keep parked.
Yes, the president of Mexico flys commercial. (CNN)
Mexico’s top court has limited the army’s participation in public security tasks, blocking a contentious move by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to put a civilian force under military control. The National Guard plan, approved by the governing party-controlled Congress last September, alarmed Lopez Obrador’s opponents and human rights campaigners who said it handed too much power to the armed forces. (Al Jazeera)
The United States has announced sanctions against three Nicaraguan judges for their role in stripping hundreds of activists and political dissidents of their citizenship, as the Nicaraguan government faces allegations of stifling opposition. In a press release on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the judges had helped facilitate “government repression” and the removal of the citizenship of more than 300 Nicaraguans. (Al Jazeera)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Wednesday with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and the two commiserated about U.S. sanctions.
The United States announced new sanctions Wednesday against three Nicaraguan judges who stripped 222 exiled opponents of their nationality.
Ortega told Lavrov that his government isn't concerned. “We already have hundreds of officials under sanctions ... this doesn’t cause them any concern or fear anymore,” Ortega said. Lavrov responded that “sanctioned people in Russia take it as a recognition of their effectiveness” in defending Russian interests. Lavrov’s remarks were translated from Russian to Spanish by a government-provided translator. (ABC)
Paraguay’s leading opposition presidential candidate Efrain Alegre said Monday that his country’s long-standing alliance with Taiwan is costing it opportunities and will be reviewed if he’s elected in general elections on April 30. Taiwan isn’t making the same sacrifices as Paraguay, said Alegre, adding no decision has been made about the future of the relationship. (Bloomberg)
Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo has returned to Peru from the United States to face charges of money laundering and corruption during his mandate. The 77-year-old, who served as Peru’s president from 2001 to 2006, is wanted by Peruvian prosecutors investigating a sprawling scandal involving Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht. He is accused of having received millions of dollars from Odebrecht in return for public works contracts. (Al Jazeera)
If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it, make sure to subscribe at Dealflow.la :)