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Dealflow.la #36 - Google 🇺🇸 attacks Brazil's Speech Law 🇧🇷, Biden 🇺🇸 to send 1,500 troops to border 🇲🇽, and Clara 🇧🇷 raises $60 Million Series B.
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Speedio 🇧🇷 raised a $715,000 Venture Round led by TM3 Capital 🇧🇷 and ACE Startups 🇧🇷, with funding from Venture Hub 🇧🇷 to develop a big data platform designed for B2B lead generation. The company's platform helps businesses to generate B2B sales with the help of big data, provides assertive data, validated phones and emails, and assists in commercial strategy, enabling businesses to enhance their B2B sales.
Infleet 🇧🇷 raised a $1 Million Series A round with funding from DOMO Invest 🇧🇷, Citrino Ventures 🇧🇷, and Bossanova Investimentos 🇧🇷 to develop a fleet management platform designed to simplify and centralize your fleet management information. The company's platform centralizes and organizes all routing, supply, maintenance, and telemetry data in a custom control tower and makes operational control agile and simplified, enabling clients to save money and manage their fleet easily.
Instaleap 🇺🇸 raised a $5 Million Series A led by Redwood Ventures 🇺🇸 and Grupo Pegasus 🇦🇷 to build a logistics platform intended to offer real-time data and delivery status. The company offers to build out of the real-world operational experience of running a leading on-demand delivery operation across countries with many deliveries and provides last-mile delivery services through proprietary AI-based algorithms and applications that manage the clients' last-mile ecosystem, enabling users to track the delivery in real-time and chat with pickers and drivers.
Fairplay 🇲🇽 raised an $8.5 Million Venture round with funding from DILA Capital 🇲🇽, Nazca Ventures 🇨🇱, Kayyak Ventures 🇨🇱, Elevar Equity 🇺🇸, and Speedinvest to develop a financial platform designed to finance a client's growth by investing in performance marketing campaigns. The company's platform uses advanced data analytics to invest in the client's digital marketing campaigns, enabling users to have a sales advancement in exchange for a steady share of the revenues or earnings until capital is repaid plus a fixed cost per service.
Cilia 🇧🇷 raised a $22 Million Venture round with funding from Mercado Libre Fund 🇦🇷 and Cloud9 Capital 🇧🇷 to develop a budgeting workshop management and claims management software headquartered in Goiania, Brazil. The company's platform offers an installation waiver, offers a special solution for unlimited access, provides faster inspection by agile budgeting, and provides a database for daily updates of code, name, price, and images of regions and parts.
Clara 🇧🇷 raised a $60 Million Series B led by GGV Capital 🇺🇸 with funding from Picus Capital 🇩🇪, Monashees 🇧🇷, General Catalyst 🇺🇸, Ethos VC 🇺🇸, Endeavor Catalyst 🇺🇸, DST Global 🇬🇧, Commerce Ventures 🇺🇸, Coatue 🇺🇸, Citi Ventures 🇺🇸, Alter Global 🇺🇸, and Acrew Capital 🇺🇸 to continue expanding their spend management platform intended for companies in Latin America. The company's end-to-end solution includes locally-issued corporate cards, bill pay, financing solutions, and our highly-rated software platform, enabling employees with digital cards without any annuity or account management fees.
The Argentine peso weakened on the official exchange on Tuesday but strengthened in two of the country's main parallel markets as authorities tightened capital controls over some trades in dollars to stem a decline in foreign currency reserves. Authorities imposed new regulations on Tuesday that reduce trading of peso bonds with settlement in dollars, an oft-used round-about route to access dollars though at a higher price than the tightly-controlled official rate. (Nasdaq)
Argentina is battling a record outbreak of dengue fever, which has killed more than 40 people and infected more than 60,000, mainly in the north-west. The infection is spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and the last big outbreak to hit Argentina was in 2020. (BBC)
Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad said on Tuesday that the country is working on a solution to ensure that Brazilian exporters are paid for sales to Argentina, which is currently facing a severe economic crisis and a shortage of U.S. dollars. Haddad emphasized that Brazil does not want to lose its export market share to Argentina, where over 200 Brazilian companies are not exporting or not receiving payments due to the lack of foreign currency, he told journalists. Argentina is Brazil's third largest trading partner after China and the United States. "We are trying to find a mediated solution," he said, adding that it "necessarily" involves the granting of collaterals by Argentina, which are being currently studied. (Reuters/US News)
Argentina is moving closer to a breaking point as the government’s desperate measures fail to halt a plunge in the peso, raising the risk of a currency devaluation that President Alberto Fernandez pledged would never happen. The government is said to be stepping up pressure on brokerages, demanding reports on trading in the parallel exchange market, and launching an investigation into a firm that said a devaluation was imminent. The peso tumbled 13% last week in that alternative market used to skirt currency controls, while data showed consumer prices surging 104% in March, the fastest in three decades. (Bloomberg)
On Wednesday, Bolivian Financial System Supervisory Authority (ASFI) took control of the Fassil Bank, over this institution's breach of obligations with its customers. For over a month, Fassil customers could not withdraw money from their accounts or use their credit and debit cards even though the bank had deposits of US$2.7 billion. (TeleSUR)
The Brazilian government objected on Tuesday to Google LLC campaigning against an internet regulation bill to crack down on fake news and ordered the U.S. company to change a link on its search engine in Brazil.
The proposed law to penalize firms for not reporting fake news was due to be voted on in the lower house of Congress later on Tuesday but its fate is uncertain due to resistance from conservative and Evangelical lawmakers who have sided with big tech firms against the government and its allies. Justice Minister Flavio Dino said Google had two hours after being notified to change a link on its search engine that connects to material that argues against the regulation bill and urges readers to call their representatives to vote against it. Google removed the link minutes after Dino warned the company would be fined one million reais ($198,000) per hour if it did not comply. "What is this? An editorial? This is not a media or an advertising company," the minister said. "What we are avoiding is private, clandestine, disguised, unacknowledged censorship," he added in a news conference, saying Google was trying to curtail debate in Congress. Google did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Bill 2630, also known as the Fake News Law, puts the onus on the internet companies, search engines and social messaging services to find and report illegal material, instead of leaving it to the courts, charging hefty fines for failures to do so. Big tech firms such as Google and Facebook say the bill is a recipe for disaster, was too hastily created and will have the opposite result of rewarding those who post disinformation since platforms have to pay people for content posted. They also say it will endanger free posting services for users while allowing censorship as practiced in authoritarian societies. (Reuters)
For another perspective: Google draws backlash from Brazil with lobbying against ‘fake news’ bill. (FT)
For another perspective: Brazil’s Justice Ministry has ordered Google to stop conducting what it calls a propaganda campaign against Brazilian legislation aimed at curbing misinformation, or face about $200,000 per hour in fines. (ABC)
Telegram's CEO said Thursday that the social media company will appeal a Brazilian judge's decision to block access to its platform in Brazil for failing to hand over data on neo-Nazi activity. He claimed compliance was “technologically impossible.” In a statement posted to his Telegram account, Pavel Durov said that when local laws or unfeasible requirements counter his company's mission — “to preserve privacy and freedom of speech around the world” — it sometimes has to quit markets. (ABC)
A senior US envoy was heading to Brazil Monday in hopes of restoring a budding relationship with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who drew a rebuke by appearing to blame Washington in part over the Ukraine war. (France24)
Former right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro stole the show on Monday at Brazil's largest agribusiness fair where he was acclaimed by supporters from the country's strong farm sector. It was Bolsonaro's first encounter with supporters since he returned from the United States one month ago, and he was mobbed by an excited crowd that applauded him wildly when he climbed on top of a combine harvester. Organizers of the annual Agrishow withdrew an invitation for the current agriculture minister in leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's government, which complained they had turned the fair into a campaign event. "We are a great nation and we have everything to be a great power," Bolsonaro, a populist nationalist told the crowd, touting Brazil's position as a top global producer of food. (Reuters/US News)
Ex-Brazil President Bolsonaro appears before police in riot probe. Authorities are investigating Bolsonaro’s alleged role in his supporters’ January 8 attack on government institutions. (Al Jazeera)
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met with Spain's prime minister Wednesday for talks aimed at making progress on an intercontinental trade deal, but his differences with the European Union on the war in Ukraine remained evident. (ABC)
Chile’s economy contracted less than forecast in March from the month earlier as service industries remained resilient, backing up the central bank’s insistence on keeping interest rates at an over 20-year high. The Imacec index, a proxy for gross domestic product, fell 0.1% in the month, less than the -0.4% median estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey. From a year prior, activity declined 2.1%, more than the forecast of a 1.7% drop, the central bank reported on Tuesday. (Bloomberg)
Driven by the global green energy transition, last year the price of the light, salt-like metal used for batteries in electric vehicles and mobile phones jumped from $14,000 a tonne to over $80,000 in November. And while prices have come down to less stratospheric levels, some estimates predict a 40-fold increase in demand for lithium by 2040. That is why Chile’s President Gabriel Boric sent shock waves through the new energy metals sector when, in a nationally televised prime-time address on April 20, he announced his keenly anticipated National Lithium Programme. It calls for the creation of a state-run lithium company that will promote, expand and control the country’s industry. (Chile is already the world’s second-largest producer after Australia.) (Al Jazeera)
While Chile's plan to take control of its lithium industry has caused global shockwaves, state-led production of the metal used to make electric vehicle batteries is seen by analysts as likely years away given technical and political challenges. President Gabriel Boric last week said he would move to gradually nationalize the country's lithium industry, which holds the world's largest reserves of the metal, in a bid to boost Chile's economy. The plan relies on negotiations with lithium producers, public-private partnerships with technology companies, tense negotiations with political rivals, and the creation of a national lithium company, all of which could take years to accomplish, analysts said. Chile's divided Congress, for example, has already stonewalled much of Boric's progressive agenda, and the government would need support from opposition parties. (Reuters)
Chile's president Gabriel Boric criticized violence in stadiums after the derby between Universidad de Chile and Universidad Catolica was suspended on Sunday due to disorder, fireworks, and noise bombs in the stands of the stadium. The National Professional Football Association (ANFP) said they will reschedule the match without spectators, as they will also request a meeting with the President to work against violence. "We will not let a small group of delinquents take over the stadiums at the expense of the great majority who come to watch a show in peace and joy," Boric, who is a Universidad Catolica supporter, said on Twitter. "We join the words of the President of the Republic, so that those responsible for these events receive the full weight of the law, requesting his support to combat these acts of violence, which escape the normal regulations... and require the work of all sectors," the ANFP said in a statement on Sunday. (Reuters/US News)
Colombia’s government and the left-wing National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group have begun their latest round of peace talks, with both sides saying they hope to reach a ceasefire agreement. Tuesday’s talks in Havana, Cuba, mark the start of the third round of negotiations and the most recent attempt to end decades of violence in Colombia. (Al Jazeera)
The US has announced plans to open new migrant processing centers in Colombia and Guatemala as part of efforts to reduce undocumented immigration. The regional facilities will process thousands of claims a month, with pathways for legal migration expanded. The number of deportations for those ineligible to be in the US will also be doubled or tripled. The US is bracing for a spike in undocumented immigration when Covid-era processing rules end in May. The processing centers will allow successful applicants to enter the US legally and improve their access to assistance such as refugee resettlement processing and family reunification. (BBC)
Colombian President Gustavo Petro has hosted world leaders in Bogotá for a one-day conference to discuss the political situation in Venezuela, where critics accuse the administration of Nicolás Maduro of stifling opposition. In it, he called on the international community to lift sanctions against Venezuela, but he also pressed for Maduro to schedule democratic elections in the country. “The history of Latin America is in our hands,” Petro, Colombia’s first left-wing president, told the diplomats. He depicted Latin America at a crossroads: Either the attendees could “mark a path that leads toward war and the deconstruction of democracy, or we can rebuild the path of peace and democracy”. (Al Jazeera)
At least 10 people have been killed in an armed attack overnight in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s main port city and economic hub that is under a state of emergency due to rising drug violence, the public prosecutor’s office and police have reported. Three people were wounded, including a five-year-old girl, police said on Sunday. (Al Jazeera)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Apple Pay is now available in Guatemala and El Salvador in partnership with local banks. Banco Promerica and BAC Credomatic customers can add any VISA and Mastercard credit and debit cards to Apple Pay. (9to5mac)
The president of a Guatemalan investigative newspaper went on trial Tuesday on money laundering charges in a case media observers have criticized as politically motivated. José Rubén Zamora, 66, arriving at the court in handcuffs, told reporters he was a “political prisoner” and expected to be convicted because he had no confidence in the court. Zamora, leader of El Periodico newspaper, is an award winner whose work has been recognized internationally. Zamora has been held in jail since his arrest last year. Prosecutors accuse him of money laundering related to a deposit of about $30,000 he asked someone else to make for him. The money was a donation to keep the newspaper running, but the donor wanted to remain anonymous, Zamora has said. (ABC)
Businessman and political newcomer Carlos Pineda was the top choice of voters ahead of Guatemala's June 25 presidential election in a poll released on Tuesday, with former first lady Sandra Torres second and veteran diplomat Edmond Mulet third. Voters will be choosing a successor to President Alejandro Giammattei, whose term ends in January 2024. Giammattei is a conservative who has been widely criticized for his administration's repression of judges, prosecutors, journalists and activists - many of whom are now in exile. Pineda is making his first run at the presidency, while Torres has run several times previously and Mulet once before. (Reuters/US News)
President Joe Biden's administration will temporarily send 1,500 additional troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, in preparation for a possible rise in illegal immigration when COVID-19 border restrictions lift later this month. The 90-day deployment of active-duty troops will supplement the work of the U.S. Border Patrol but not carry out law enforcement duties, Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a statement. They will conduct ground-based monitoring, data entry, and warehouse support to free up border agents and "fill critical capability gaps," Ryder said. (Reuters)
The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions Thursday against members or associates of the Jalisco New Generation drug cartel who apparently went into a side business of timeshare fraud that allegedly targeted elderly Americans. Ryan Donner, a real estate broker in the Pacific coast resort city of Puerto Vallarta, said the fraud was infrequent but very sophisticated. The Jalisco cartel is better known for producing millions of doses of deadly fentanyl and smuggling them into the United States disguised to look like Xanax, Percocet or oxycodone. Such pills cause about 70,000 overdose deaths per year in the United States. But cartel members and associates apparently decided to branch out into scamming millions of dollars from people looking to sell their timeshares in Mexico. The scam focused on Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco state, an area dominated by the cartel, known by its initials as the CJNG. (CBS)
Mexico’s Senate has approved a wide-ranging reform of laws governing the mining industry, including a requirement that companies pay 5% of profits to local communities. The mining bill was among 18 pieces of legislation, some controversial, that were passed in a frenzied rush late Friday and early Saturday. The bills were approved with little or no debate, based on votes by only senators from Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party and its allies. The opposition occupied the Senate’s normal headquarters to protest a lack of debate, so the Morena senators and allies met in an alternative chamber. The new mining law reduces the maximum length of concessions from 50 to 30 years, and punishes speculation by allowing authorities to cancel concessions if no work is done on them within two years. The mining industry, much of it foreign and in a considerable amount Canadian, has drawn complaints because of ecological damage, speculation and the fact that communities around the mines remain among the poorest in Mexico. (ABC)
New Flordia statewide bills restrict citizens of China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, and Syria from buying farmland and any property in Florida within 20 miles of a military installation or critical infrastructure, including an airport, seaport, and wastewater treatment and electric power plants. Only those from China would be restricted from buying any real estate statewide. Renting would be allowed. (MiamiHerald)
The long-governing Colorado Party remained the dominant force of Paraguayan politics as the vote count from Sunday's election gave an overwhelming lead to its presidential candidate, Santiago Peña, with nearly all votes counted. With almost 99% of voting places reporting, Peña had 43% of the vote, compared to 27% for the closest challenger, Efraín Alegre, the candidate of the Pact for a New Paraguay, a broad-based opposition coalition that had hoped to end Colorado's reign. Voters also gave support to Colorado in congressional elections, with the conservative party winning majorities of 45 seats in the Senate and 80n seats in the lower house. The opposition had sought to capitalize on widespread discontent over high levels of corruption and deficiencies in the health and education systems that worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Paraguay has a relatively stable economy, but with high levels of poverty. (NPR)
For another perspective: Santiago Pena, a former central banker, has won Paraguay’s presidential election, seeing off a strong challenge from center-left leader Efrain Alegre. The former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist, who was hand-picked by the powerful head of the country’s dominant political force, the conservative Colorado Party, scored a strong victory in presidential elections on Sunday. (Al Jazeera)
Peru’s police and military have violently suppressed recent anti-government protests, resulting in deaths that likely amount to “extrajudicial or arbitrary killings” under international law, according to a new 107-page report from the nonprofit Human Rights Watch (HRW). “We have found conclusive evidence that police and military in Peru used disproportionate, indiscriminate and brutal force against protesters and bystanders,” César Muñoz, the Americas associate director at HRW, told Al Jazeera. “We can say that with certainty.” (Al Jazeera)
The Peruvian government is sending approximately 700 soldiers and police officers to its border with Chile, authorities have said, as hundreds of undocumented migrants seeking to enter Peru are stuck on the frontier. The announcement on Friday comes as hundreds of people – many of whom have said they are seeking to enter Peru to continue on towards their home country of Venezuela – remain in camps on the Chilean side of the border. (Al Jazeera)
The Biden administration indicated it would no longer protect Venezuela's state-owned oil refiner Citgo Petroleum from seizure, backing a forced sale of the company to satisfy the South American government’s foreign creditors.
The U.S. government intends to approve the sale of Venezuela’s ownership stake in Citgo once a winning bidder emerges in a court-supervised auction process, according to filings by a special master appointed in Delaware federal court to oversee the potential transaction. (Wall Street Journal)
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó on Tuesday said he is not seeking political asylum in the United States and has not ruled out the possibility of running in a presidential primary in his homeland planned for October.
Guaidó spoke to The Associated Press by phone from Miami, where he arrived on a commercial flight that departed Colombia’s capital Monday night, hours after he crossed the border between that country and Venezuela with the intent of meeting with diplomats and other participants of an international conference focused on Venezuela’s political crisis. “I will have work meetings and obviously also time to assess the security situation among other things,” he said. “I am not requesting political asylum at this time.” His remarks came after Colombian authorities said he was subject to an administrative process for having crossed the border without getting his passport stamped upon entry. Colombian President Gustavo Petro insisted Guaidó was not deported and traveled to the United States with permission from that country. (AP)
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