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Dealflow.la #44 - Qatar 🇶🇦 stuns Mexico 🇲🇽 0-1, dueling at-home spa services Glitzi 🇲🇽 & Scape 🇲🇽 raise rounds, & Argentina 🇦🇷 paid IMF debt in Chinese Yuan 🇨🇳.
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Zuru LatAm 🇵🇪 raised a $680,000 Pre-Seed led by CARABELA 🇲🇽 to build an insurtech platform designed to specialize in cargo transport insurance for SMEs. The company's platform allows users to quote and contract the insurance of their goods online with an insurer, enabling clients to cover the risks aimed at MSMEs.
Tarvos 🇧🇷 raised a $1 Million Seed round led by Fundepar 🇧🇷, with funding from GVAngels 🇧🇷, Bossanova Investimentos 🇧🇷, and ACE Startups 🇧🇷 to develop a pest monitoring platform intended to receive real-time insights on a crop to get quick and accurate decision-making. The company's platform determines pest pressure in the field, assessing the damage and damage that may be occurring, and defines the optimal timing of insecticide application, enabling clients to monitor their crops and increase their yields.
Scape 🇲🇽 raised a $1.3 Million Seed round with funding from Seed9 🇺🇸, Daedalus Ventures 🇨🇱, and Amplifica Capital 🇲🇽 to build an online platform designed to provide book-at-home massage services. The company's platform offers scheduled at-home massage across various categories such as individual massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, parental massage, and more, providing customers with a moment of comfort through relaxation, recovery, and rest at a single message with security and trust.
Glitzi 🇲🇽 raised a $2.8 Million Venture round with funding from Y Combinator 🇺🇸, Spice Capital 🇺🇸, Harvard Management Company 🇺🇸, Goodwater Capital 🇺🇸, Gaingels 🇺🇸, Act One Ventures 🇺🇸, and various angels (Sung Ho Choi, Prasanna Srikhanta, Nina Khosla, Lolita Taub, Leonid Gluzman, Helena Polyblank) to build a wellness and health platform intended to provide beauty and spa services delivered at doorsteps. The company's platform offers makeup, hairstyle, massage, spa, nails, and other related beauty services at the doorstep, enabling women to connect with top beauty professionals in the comfort of their homes.
Motrix Techknowledge 🇧🇷 raised a $2.9 Million Seed round led by Ágathos Group 🇧🇷 to build a school curriculum content platform intended to create an agnostic curricular framework. The company's platform offers a tool for curriculum design, which turns into software, facilitating the integration of pedagogical solutions including pedagogical interoperability as a service, enabling users to get evidence-based hybrid & social learning solutions for schools.
Moova 🇦🇷 raised a $5 Million Venture round with funding from Xesgalicia 🇪🇸, Wayra 🇪🇸, Toyota Tsusho 🇯🇵, Kalei Ventures 🇦🇷, FJ Labs 🇺🇸, and Alaya Capital 🇦🇷 to facilitate urban last-mile logistic applications. The company's platform offers an application programming interface that can be integrated with the online store or marketplace to offer multiple delivery options to end consumers coupled with functionalities such as real-time tracking and electronic proof of delivery, enabling clients to optimize their sales and improve customer satisfaction.
VIPe 🇧🇷 raised a $23 Million Series A led by Airborne Ventures 🇧🇷 to offer credit loans to users across Brazil, enabling a segment of customers who have limited access to credit products.
The International Monetary Fund said on Friday that Argentina is current in its payment obligations, after the government said it made a $2.7 billion payment to the fund using its existing stock of the IMF's reserve assets, and Chinese currency. A spokesperson for Argentina's economy ministry said the June payments were made "without using dollars" but instead with the country's holdings of the fund's special-drawing rights (SDRs) and Chinese yuan. The operation is expected to have depleted Argentina's $1.65 billion in SDRs, according to a central bank source, "with yuan making up the difference." The use of yuan underscores how desperate the country's dollar position has become. The central bank source said it was "yet another demonstration of the central bank's liquidity in various currencies." As a result of the payment, Argentina's foreign currency reserves saw a sharp decrease to around $27.933 billion for end-June, the same source told Reuters, bringing foreign reserves to their lowest since March 2016. (Reuters)
For another perspective: Argentina uses the Chinese Yuan for first time to settle part of its IMF debt. (El País)
The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will provide Argentina with funds totaling over $1 billion, the South American nation's economy ministry said on Wednesday, adding these should go toward development and energy projects. The move comes as cash-strapped Argentina battles to rework its debts and comply with financing programs with other international financial bodies, such as a $44 billion loan program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). (Reuters)
Bolivia taps China, Russia's Rosatom in bid to unlock huge lithium riches. Bolivia has signed lithium agreements with Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom and China's Citic Guoan Group, the South American country's government said on Thursday, as it looks to develop its huge but largely untapped resources of the battery metal. The deals, which envisage total investment of $1.4 billion, follow a similar agreement in January with giant Chinese battery maker CATL, another potential win for Beijing in its efforts to lock in supply of the metal used in electric vehicles. (Reuters)
Google has hired Brazilian former President Michel Temer to lobby lawmakers considering a proposal to regulate the internet, his adviser said on Friday. The legislative proposal, also known as the Fake News bill, would put the onus on internet companies, search engines, and social messaging services to find and report illegal material, and charge hefty fines for failures to do so. The bill has raised concerns from tech companies, with some launching campaigns on their platforms to defeat it. Nearly two months ago, the South American country's top court ordered an investigation into executives at social messaging service Telegram and Google who led a campaign criticizing the proposed regulation. Local outlet Folha de Sao Paulo had first reported that Temer confirmed he has been working as a "mediator" between the company and lawmakers for about three weeks. Temer's adviser said the former president was hired by the company to mediate proposals and talks with Brazil's parliament. Temer denied to Folha holding conversations with justices at the top court, but the paper reported he has met with lawmaker Orlando Silva, who is managing the internet legislation, to discuss parts of the bill. (Reuters)
Private economists in Brazil anticipate deeper monetary easing this year and improved inflation prospects until 2026 following the government's decision to maintain the country's inflation goal at 3%, a weekly central bank poll showed on Monday. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has consistently blasted the country's central bank for keeping interest rates at a cycle-high of 13.75% even as inflation slows. During the first months of his administration, he also criticized inflation targets as too low, arguing that they led to an overly restrictive monetary policy. Such remarks contributed to the deviation of long-term inflation expectations from official targets, viewed as concerning by the central bank, which described the development as a rationale for maintaining interest rates at their highest in six years. (Reuters/US News)
Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro barred from running for office for 8 years. Brazil’s highest electoral court has barred former President Jair Bolsonaro from running for political office until 2030, after finding him guilty of abusing his power and misusing public media during last year’s election campaign.
Five out of seven judges found the former president guilty, effectively ending any hope of a political comeback in the forthcoming 2026 election. Two of the judges voted against the decision, which prevents Bolsonaro from running for public office for eight years. The case stems from a meeting Bolsonaro held with foreign ambassadors in July 2022, in which he spread false information about Brazil’s electoral system and brought its credibility into question ahead of last year’s fractious election. The meeting was livestreamed by official television channels and on YouTube. (CNN)
An electrical accident at Codelco's El Teniente mine in central Chile, the company's largest copper mine, left one dead, the state-owned mining giant said in a statement on Thursday. Codelco said the accident happened at the mine's Andes Norte expansion project at about 3 p.m. when Osvaldo Bustamante Frias, a 29-year-old electrical technician, suffered an electric discharge during the installation of a generator. (Reuters)
Colombia central bank keeps interest rate unchanged, ending cycle of rises. Colombia's central bank board on Friday unanimously held the benchmark interest rate steady for the first time in nearly two years, with the market anxiously awaiting signs of when policymakers may begin to cut rates as inflation cools. All 22 analysts polled in a Reuters survey last week said the seven-member board would hold borrowing costs at 13.25%. The board raised the rate by 1,150 points during the increase cycle, which began in September 2021. (Reuters)
Colombia tires of ‘government of change’ in just one year: 61% disapprove of Petro. The president, who began his mandate in August 2022 with 56% support, is trying to regain the initiative after several crises that have damaged his popularity. After two months of bad news and crises, the week had started off well for Colombian President Gustavo Petro. Despite this, he has not been able to bounce back, both figuratively and at times literally. Sometimes a change of scenery is needed to change the narrative, and that is exactly what Petro hoped to achieve by moving his so-called “government of change” to La Guajira this week, a marginalized region where children often die from malnutrition. In La Guaijra, where indigenous communities drink brown-colored water, Petro suffered food poisoning and was forced to change his schedule. There were concerns about his health, but the president himself confirmed that he was better after a few hours. (El País)
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic
UN expert condemns 'mass deportations' of Haitians fleeing conflict. An independent expert to the United Nations condemned mass deportations of Haitians who had fled the country amid a humanitarian crisis driven by worsening violence from heavily armed gangs who control large swathes of the country. In a statement following a visit to the Caribbean nation, William O'Neill said some methods used to repatriate about 176,777 migrants last year do not comply with human rights standards and violate bilateral migration pacts. "I urge the authorities of the Dominican Republic to respect their commitments in this regard," he said, singling out Haiti's neighbor but calling on all countries in the region to end mass deportations, particularly for unaccompanied minors. O'Neill said he was particularly concerned by reports of organ and sex trafficking of migrant women and children. (Reuters/Yahoo News)
Ecuador's government is seeking to activate credit lines with international lenders in an effort to mitigate expected El Nino weather disruptions, the country's finance ministry announced on Thursday. The funding plan is part of outgoing President Guillermo Lasso's efforts to organize preventative measures to deal with the likely hit from the cyclical weather pattern. The conservative leader has said an initial funding of $266 million will be covered by the general government budget as well as a local debt issuance. Officials have said the figure could rise depending on needs. (Reuters)
Rafael Correa, the convicted former leftist president of Ecuador, is attempting to regain power through an ally in early elections to be held this summer as the country grapples with an escalating crime wave.
Eight candidates are gearing up to compete for the presidency in the August vote triggered by the dissolution of Congress. Correa’s chosen candidate, Luisa González, became the early frontrunner thanks to his endorsement.
His Citizens’ Revolution party is Ecuador’s strongest political force and won important victories in local elections in February, including the mayoralties of the country’s two largest cities. A victory for González would end a two-year swing to the right under outgoing President Guillermo Lasso. (FT)
Guatemala’s highest court has suspended the release of official election results, granting a temporary injunction to 10 parties that challenged the results of the June 25 vote. The Constitutional Court late Saturday called for a new hearing to review the contested tallies in no more than five days. Sandra Torres and Bernardo Arévalo had emerged from a field of nearly two dozen presidential hopefuls in the first round of voting. Since neither came close the 50% threshold, they were expected to compete in an Aug. 20 runoff to determine Guatemala’s next president. (AP)
Progressive party stages surprise upset in Guatemala elections. First round of Guatemala’s presidential election indicates support for anti-corruption efforts and voter discontent. (Al Jazeera)
Honduras starts El Salvador-style crackdown on gangs after massacres. Police investigating the possibility that the pool hall shooting which killed 11 could be revenge for the massacre of 46 female inmates last week. The Honduran government has vowed to crack down on gang violence and put curfews in place. On Monday, the military police – who have taken charge of the nation’s prisons – posted photos of male inmates forced to sit in rows, spread-legged and touching, during a raid to seize contraband in one prison. Such tactics – with inmates clad only in shorts, their heads bowed on to the backs of the men in front of them – were made famous last year by the Salvadorian president, Nayib Bukele, during his crackdown on gangs. Bukele’s harsh tactics have succeeded in weakening organized crime, but at a high cost to human rights. (The Guardian)
Qatar stun Mexico to reach quarter-finals of Gold Cup football. The Maroons beat the El Tri 1-0 to book their place in the last eight of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Al Jazeera)
Sen. JD Vance endorses the U.S. military’s going after drug cartels in Mexico. The Republican from Ohio said fentanyl’s increasing popularity and Mexico’s apparent inability to quash the illicit narcotics trade necessitates his proposal. (NBC)
The drug cartel violence that citizen self-defense leader Hipolito Mora gave his life fighting flared anew on Sunday, just one day after he was buried, as shootings and road blockades hit the city of Apatzingan, a regional hub in Mexico’s hot lands. Roads in and out of Apatzingan were blocked Sunday morning by trucks and buses pulled across the road by cartel gunmen, as the vehicles’ owners stood by helplessly. “They told me to park my truck across the road. They said if I moved it, they would burn it,” said one truck driver, who asked his name not be used for fear of reprisals. (AP)
Drug Enforcement Administration administrator Anne Milgram has called for further cooperation from China and Mexico in the fight against the US’s fentanyl crisis. In an interview with Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, on Sunday, Milgram said that despite the DEA standing “ready to work with anyone who will work with us”, the US has “not had the cooperation that we want to have” from China, adding that the Mexican government also “needs to do more”. (The Guardian)
Inter Miami names Messi collaborator Gerardo Martino as coach. Martino previously worked with Argentinian star Messi at FC Barcelona and on Argentina’s national team. (Al Jazeera)
Inter Miami CF owner Jorge Mas said it took him three years of negotiations to bring Lionel Messi to the Major League Soccer club. "In 2019 [when Messi was still at Barcelona], we started thinking about how we could bring him," he said, "I spent three years on it, a year-and-a-half [working] very intensely. There were many conversations with [Messi's father and agent] Jorge. [Inter Miami co-owner] David [Beckham] talked to Leo, only about football issues, because he was a player." Messi, 36, had initially considered a return to Barca, the club he had left in 2021 due to its financial crisis, while he also rejected a lucrative deal from Saudi Arabia's PIF fund to join Al-Hilal. (ABC)
Panama expects international financial-crime watchdog FATF to remove it this October from a watch list for nations deemed to be doing too little to fight money laundering, the country's deputy finance minister said, adding that other intergovernmental groups might follow suit. The Central American nation urgently needs to exit the watch lists so it can reclaim its place as a financial hub, Deputy Financial Minister Jorge Almengor said in an interview late on Wednesday. He added that due to Panama's presence on international watch lists, some foreign countries have been demanding stronger due diligence by their own companies in order to do business in Panama. (Reuters)
The Panama Canal will likely keep restrictions on shipping companies in place this year as a drought lowers water levels at its main lake to a four-year low, leading to bottlenecks of cargo carriers lining up to transit the waterway. The canal authority said it will aim to keep draft restrictions, which limit how deep a vessel can sit in the water, at no lower than 44 feet (13.4 meters) for large, Neopanamax ships throughout this year’s drought, Ricaurte Vasquez, authority administrator, said in an interview from Panama City. (Bloomberg)
Paraguay’s incoming finance minister, Carlos Fernandez, wants to reduce the government’s dependence on dollar funding by making it easier for foreign investors to buy local currency bonds on the domestic debt market.
Paraguay is a regular issuer of global bonds, selling more than $6.5 billion since 2013, and domestic bonds denominated in the country’s currency, the guarani. Morgan Stanley’s Eaton Vance unit, through Brazil’s Itau Unibanco Holding SA, became the first foreign investor to purchase guarani bonds under new rules at a government debt auction in June. “We need to issue more in guarani and we are going to implement the necessary measures to make the domestic bond market more attractive,” Fernandez said in an interview. “That could change the mix of how much we issue abroad and locally.” The administration of President-elect Santiago Peña also plans to issue at least $500 million of global bonds early next year to fund the budget, refinance debt and pay suppliers, he said. Fernandez, who led the central bank from 2013 to 2018, will take the reins of the $43 billion South American economy when Peña starts his term August 15. After five years of lackluster growth averaging about 1.2%, Peña inherits an economy that is forecast to expand about 4.5% this year and 4% in 2024. (Bloomberg)
Inflation in Peru’s capital slowed sharply in June as its economy cooled more than initially expected due to political instability. Consumer prices in Lima in June rose 6.46% from a year earlier, compared to the 6.92% median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. In May, annual inflation had reached 7.9%. (Bloomberg)
Land devoted to the cultivation of coca leaves in Peru increased by 18 percent between 2021 and 2022, with some 95,000 hectares (367 square miles) now being used to grow the raw ingredient for cocaine, the government’s anti-drug authorities have said. Though the cultivation of coca is legal for traditional purposes such as being chewed for energy or administered as an antidote for altitude sickness in the Andean nation, analysts and government officials estimate that some 90 percent of Peru’s crop is now used in the illicit drug trade. (Al Jazeera)
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico
Hundreds of people including religious leaders, economists, teachers, and retirees on Wednesday protested a proposed increase to already high electric bills that a growing number of people in the U.S. territory are struggling to pay. The crowd marched toward the governor’s mansion, where they hoisted Puerto Rican flags up high and held up signs warning that an increase in power bills would lead to an unsustainable rise in the island’s already expensive cost of living. The proposed increase is part of a debt restructuring plan to pull Puerto Rico’s power company out of bankruptcy, an effort that has failed multiple times as bondholders threaten to sue to recuperate their investments. If approved, the current residential rate of 25 cents per kilowatt hour would nearly double over the span of 30 years. (NBC)
Federal board approves $12.7 billion budget for Puerto Rico as island shakes off bankruptcy. A federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances has approved a $12.7 billion general fund budget that contains increases for teachers, judicial employees, and the U.S. territory’s public university. (ABC)
Uruguay’s president thought he’d found the solution at last for the Nazi eagle. The question of just what to do with the artifact — a more than six-foot-tall, 770-pound bronze eagle grasping a large swastika medallion in its talons — has vexed the South American nation since treasure hunters fished it out of the Río de la Plata in 2006. It once sat atop the Admiral Graf Spee, a German heavy cruiser that was scuttled in Montevideo Bay in 1939 after sustaining damage in the first naval battle of World War II. Now it’s in storage, the property of a country that doesn’t want it but can’t seem to get rid of it. (Washington Post)
Maria Corina Machado, one of the favorites to win the Venezuelan opposition's nomination for president in an October primary, has been barred from holding public office for 15 years, the country's controller general said in a letter. Machado, a 55-year-old industrial engineer, and former lawmaker, is leading polling for the 13-candidate primary, convened to select a unity candidate to face socialist President Nicolas Maduro in a 2024 election. A previous ban placed on her has been expanded because Machado supported sanctions by the United States on the Maduro government and backed former opposition leader Juan Guaido, the letter said. The opposition has said for years that bans are used by the ruling party to prevent political change. Machado, who has proposed privatizing state oil company PDVSA and restructuring Venezuela's debt, told supporters on Thursday, "A ban by the regime is garbage, it means zero," adding that it showed the Maduro government "is being defeated." (Reuters)
The Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) board controlled by the government of President Nicolas Maduro on Friday lost its latest appeal over $1.95 billion of the country's gold reserves held in the Bank of England's underground vaults.
The BCV was challenging a previous ruling that certain decisions of Venezuela's top court should not be recognized by English courts in the gold case. Lawyers representing the Venezuelan central bank in the challenge said it will now be returned to London's High Court to determine what happens next, now former Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido is no longer recognized by Britain's government as the country's leader. (Reuters)
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