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Dealflow.la #47 - Messi 🇦🇷-led Inter Miami 🇺🇸 beats Liga MX's Cruz Azul 🇲🇽, Foodology 🇨🇴 raises $17 Million, & 2,000 penguins dead in Uruguay 🇺🇾.
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Frota 162 🇧🇷 raised a $423,000 Pre-Seed round led by ACE Startups 🇧🇷 to build a comprehensive, user-friendly fleet management platform built for handling infractions, fines, and vehicle debts across Brazil. The system streamlines fleet management processes, offering real-time notifications of fines, driver's license status, and online vehicle debt queries. They allow companies to reduce traffic fines costs and save significant time, enhancing operational efficiency.
Erathos 🇧🇷 raised a $500,000 Pre-Seed round led by ACE Startups 🇧🇷 to propel businesses toward data-driven operations through an ecosystem of innovative solutions. Their standout offering, Alexandria, simplifies data ops, while their Data Squad as a Service brings data expertise at your fingertips.
Tera 🇧🇷 raised a $2,100,000 Venture round led by X8 Investimentos 🇧🇷 to build a digital training platform designed to help people learn new skills and connect their education with the job market. The company's platform provides courses in various fields including data science, machine learning, experience design, digital product management, and digital marketing.
Tivos^ 🇲🇽 raised $4.5 Million in Debt Financing from Addem Capital 🇲🇽 to support Mexican SMEs with tailor-made financial solutions. The company offers fast processing and tax-deductible leases across a diverse array of industries from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and agroindustry and allows them to acquire necessary assets without capital loss.
Torqi 🇧🇷 raised a $12.7 Million Venture round led by Galapagos Capital 🇧🇷 to assist the financial life of Brazilian transport companies and help the sector to be more efficient through greater access to credit.
Foodology 🇨🇴 raised a $17 Million Venture round with funding from Andreessen Horowitz 🇺🇸, Daedalus Ventures 🇨🇱, Chimera Investment 🇦🇪, and 30N Ventures 🇨🇱 to continue operating their digital restaurant brands intended to optimize the food processing experience within the kitchen. The company's portfolio of virtual brands is operated through cloud kitchens and promotes their growth with technology and infrastructure, enabling brands to shorten their iteration cycles and increase their concept offering without incurring significant setup costs.
Mattilda 🇲🇽 raised a $19 Million Series A led by GSV Ventures 🇺🇸 with funding from FinTech Collective 🇺🇸 and DILA Capital 🇲🇽 to build a digital platform designed to streamline finances for parents and private schools. The company's platform allows for advancing tuition fees, guaranteeing schools a predictable cash flow without delays and without setbacks, enabling parents to make payments with flexible methods and manage finances more effectively.
InvGate 🇦🇷 raised a $35 Million Private Equity round led by Riverwood Capital 🇺🇸 with funding from Endeavor Catalyst 🇺🇸 to continue building their web-based enterprise software designed for the management of IT and the delivery of internal business services. The company's software includes features like ticketing, analytics, time tracking, SLA and gamification, and a framework for incentives to staff on task completion, enabling companies to create workflows in an intuitive interface, mapping out tasks, decision points, loops, inputs, and outputs.
The Argentine government plans to implement tax and currency measures to devalue the peso as part of a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This comes amid a review of Argentina's $44 billion loan with the IMF. The government will announce a preferential exchange rate for agricultural exports and implement import levies. A new temporary rate to boost exports will be set at 340 pesos per US dollar, a 27% devaluation from the current rate of 268 pesos per dollar. Taxes on imported goods and services will also be introduced. Argentina hopes to modify its economic goals and expedite some IMF disbursements scheduled for this year as it grapples with a severe financial crisis. Argentina is expected to receive $4 billion in July, over $3.3 billion in September, and another $3.3 billion in December, which will be used mainly to repay a failed 2018 bailout. The IMF states the agreement aims to consolidate "fiscal order and strengthen reserves" amidst high inflation and significant fiscal deficit. (Reuters)
Bolivia's confirmed lithium resources have been revised up by 2 million tons to 23 million tons, solidifying its position as the country with the world's largest known lithium reserves. President Luis Arce announced this from the Coipasa salt flat and emphasized the importance of managing and exploiting this resource intelligently. With growing global demand for lithium for batteries, especially due to the rise of electric vehicles, Bolivia has intensified its search for international partners to develop these reserves. Following further geological studies, the government has signed agreements with China’s Citic Guoan, Russia’s Uranium One Group, and China's Contemporary Amperex Technology, promising significant investments for lithium production and export from 2025. Despite having the largest reserves, Bolivia lags behind in production, with Australia, Chile, and China being the leading lithium producers. (AP)
Brazil's President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has signed a decree to curb civilian access to firearms, reversing the pro-gun policies of his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. The new decree limits civilians to owning a maximum of two guns, down from four, and caps ammunition at 50 rounds per gun, down from 200. Civilians are now also required to provide documentation demonstrating the need for the weapons and are prohibited from owning 9mm pistols. This comes as a response to the tripling of guns in civilian hands to 2.9 million during Bolsonaro's presidency, who believed in the right of "good citizens" to protect their families and assets. Despite the increase, Brazil's homicide rate remained stable during Bolsonaro's term. (AP)
Brazilian aerospace company Embraer plans to construct a new factory near Sao Paulo to produce electric flying taxis, through its subsidiary Eve. The electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which are anticipated to be operational from 2026, will function like small helicopters capable of carrying up to six passengers. The company already has orders for nearly 3,000 of these air taxis, which will cost $50-$100 per person per ride. The eVTOLs are 100% electric, which will eliminate emissions from these flights. While initial flights will be piloted, Embraer has plans for a later rollout of self-piloted vehicles. This innovation could help reduce traffic congestion in crowded cities and offer an alternative means of transporting cargo. (BBC)
Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD is planning a $600m investment in Brazil's northeastern state, Bahia, intending to establish an industrial complex for the production of electric and hybrid vehicles. This move is part of Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva's strategy to reindustrialize Brazil with China's assistance. The initiative, which will repurpose an abandoned Ford factory and create over 5,000 jobs, comes with significant incentives from Brazil, including major tax breaks and improved port access for importing and exporting. This investment also underscores China's prominent role as Brazil’s top trading partner. (Al Jazeera)
Brazil has reported its lowest rate of violent deaths in over a decade despite a recent surge in firearm circulation, according to a 2023 report by the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety. Approximately 47,500 people were killed in Brazil in 2022, a 2.4% decrease from 2021. This decline comes despite an almost 50% increase in firearms registered with the Federal Police between 2019 and 2022, an effect of former President Jair Bolsonaro's lax gun laws. Current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has aimed to reverse these pro-gun policies since taking office in January. The decrease in homicides is attributed to factors such as a truce among gangs, more effective public security measures, and an aging population. (AP)
Maricá, a city near Rio de Janeiro, has become Brazil's largest recipient of hydrocarbon production royalties due to its proximity to deepwater oil developments. The significant income has enabled the city to fund an innovative basic income program for a quarter of its residents and establish a wealth fund, which has grown from 285 million reais at the start of 2020 to 1.53 billion reais ($320 million). The fund, expected to keep growing, is being used as an intergenerational savings tool and a catalyst for regional development. This has led to a more than fivefold increase in per capita GDP between 2016 and 2020 and a 55% population growth since 2010. Other areas in Brazil have started similar initiatives, saving commodity profits for the future and investing in local development. These subnational funds, backed by local laws and governance rules, are hoped to generate support for enduring financial stability and future growth. (Washington Post)
Chilean authorities are investigating a theft at the Social Development Ministry, adding further complications to President Gabriel Boric's administration. The heist involved robbers impersonating Minister Giorgio Jackson over the phone and instructing security guards that his "nephews" would be coming to pick up computers and a safe. The guards grew suspicious when the impersonator added that the premises would also be fumigated. The ministry is currently entangled in a corruption probe, sparking national interest and speculations of political motivations behind the crime. (Bloomberg)
In an escalating crisis, Venezuelan refugees are mysteriously disappearing in Colombia, with over 1,500 cases reported since 2015. The case of Nestor Pena, a construction worker who vanished after leaving his job to meet friends, is emblematic of the crisis. His case, like many others, remains unresolved, leaving families in distress and facing obstacles in their search for justice. The alarming trend underscores the challenges and dangers faced by Venezuelans fleeing their country's socioeconomic and political crisis. (Al Jazeera)
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Costa Rica, a country typically recognized for its stability, is facing increasing violence due to the influence of Mexican drug gangs and a surge in cocaine production in Colombia. The country recorded a record 656 murders in 2022, with 2023 figures already showing a 42% increase for the first half of the year. The trend has been described as a "Mexicanization of crime," with increasing public gang clashes, torture, gang killings, and assassinations by trained hitmen. These developments have sparked concern for public safety and potential impacts on tourism, a vital sector of the Costa Rican economy. The government has recently implemented new security measures and technologies to combat this rise in crime, but authorities note that better-trained hitmen are making it more difficult to solve homicide cases. (Reuters)
Agustín Intriago, the mayor of Manta, Ecuador's third-largest city, was killed in a shooting that also left another person dead and four injured, including two suspected attackers. The motive for the attack, which took place during a neighborhood visit, remains undisclosed. President Guillermo Lasso has instructed the country's highest police authority to track down the responsible individuals. Manta, located on a section of Pacific coast often used by gangs for drug trafficking, is seeing a surge in violence attributed to organized crime disputes, including armed attacks, kidnappings, robberies, and extortion. Authorities also reported a violent conflict in a Guayaquil prison between rival gangs, resulting in five inmates killed and 11 injured. (AP)
Authorities in Ecuador have confirmed an oil spill of approximately 1,200 barrels from a tank in the marine terminal in the port of Esmeraldas, contaminating approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) of Las Palmas Beach. Half of the spilled oil spread beyond Petroecuador's facilities, which are state-owned. While the cause of the spill is currently under investigation, the possibilities of negligence, mechanical damage, or sabotage have not been ruled out. Initial cleanup efforts have reportedly managed to control 90% of the spill's impact on land and 60% at sea. Environmental Minister Jose Davalos has warned of potential effects on wildlife and anticipates the cleanup to take about a week. The extent of penalties will be determined following an assessment from Petroecuador. (Al Jazeera)
🇸🇻 El Salvador
Salvadoran authorities have arrested over one hundred Colombian nationals for their alleged involvement in a microfinancing scheme suspected of laundering money sourced from drug trafficking and gang activities. The criminal group reportedly provided loans with illegally obtained funds to individuals and small businesses, charging an interest rate of 20%. Victims who failed to repay the loans were intimidated into giving up their bank account information, facilitating money transfers abroad. According to Attorney General Rodolfo Delgado, around $20 million connected to drug trafficking gangs has been sent to Colombia since 2021 through this scheme. The operation also led to the arrests of three Salvadorans, one Guatemalan, and one Argentine. (Reuters)
The U.S. State Department has imposed sanctions on two former Salvadoran presidents, Mauricio Funes and Salvador Sánchez Cerén, and numerous other officials and judges in Central America for alleged corruption and undermining democratic processes. Funes has recently been sentenced to prison for negotiating with gangs and tax evasion, while Cerén was sanctioned for money laundering. Despite concerns over the actions of current Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, he was not included in the sanctions. (AP)
In a controversial move, Guatemalan police raided the offices of the progressive Seed Movement (Movimiento Semilla), whose presidential candidate, Bernardo Arevalo, unexpectedly advanced to the second round of the country's elections. Arevalo has accused the attorney general’s office of “political persecution”. The raid adds to concerns over the election, where observers fear that democratic norms are being threatened. Additionally, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Guatemala's highest electoral authority, has appealed to the Constitutional Court for an injunction against authorities, including the attorney general, to ensure election integrity. (Al Jazeera)
Honduras plans to build a unique island prison colony for gang members on the Islas del Cisne archipelago, located 250km off the coast. This move is part of a crackdown following a gang-related massacre of 46 women in one prison. Island prisons were common in Latin America but the last one was closed in Mexico in 2019. Authorities hope that the isolation of the new prison will help curb violence, however, critics argue it doesn't address the root causes of the endemic violence. Despite concerns over the potential environmental impact on the biodiverse island, Honduras’s secretary of natural resources and the environment asserts that the maximum security penitentiary will be built "in harmony with nature". (Al Jazeera)
Honduras' government is lifting a curfew imposed in two major industrial cities, Choloma and San Pedro Sula, following a 74% drop in homicides in the region, announced Security Minister Gustavo Sanchez. The curfew was initiated last month in response to a single day's violence that left 24 dead in the Sula Valley. Although the emergency measure reduced the daily average of 10 deaths related to crime groups, it also prompted protests from hospitality and nightlife businesses, fearing bankruptcy due to the restrictions. (Reuters/US News)
Mexican authorities have arrested a man suspected of intentionally setting a bar ablaze after he was ejected, leading to the deaths of 11 people, including a 17-year-old and a female American citizen, in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, near the Arizona border. The suspect, said to be highly intoxicated, reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail at the bar's doors after being expelled for disrespecting women. The main suspect is currently being interrogated, as authorities continue to confirm the dual citizenship of the American woman who died in the fire. (CNN)
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's continuous criticism of opposition contender Xóchitl Gálvez in Mexico's 2024 presidential race has drawn rebuke from the federal election authority. However, the campaign appears to be boosting the opposition coalition. Gálvez, representing the Frente Amplio por México, is edging closer to the frontrunners from López Obrador's party in the polls, even amid the president's daily attacks. Despite facing scrutiny from the National Electoral Institute for potential violations of impartiality, neutrality, and equity in his comments, López Obrador's popularity remains high. However, his tactics against Gálvez have garnered criticism, with some arguing that they risk undermining the foundations of Mexican democracy. (CNN)
Argentinian football superstar Lionel Messi made an impressive debut for Inter Miami, scoring a last-minute winning goal with a free-kick against Mexican team Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup opener. Despite being benched initially due to limited training sessions with the team, Messi's entry changed the game's dynamics, lifting Miami to a 2-1 victory. Messi, a World Cup winner and seven-time Ballon d'Or recipient, had a few opportunities to score during the match. The decisive moment came when he secured a foul seven yards beyond the penalty area and executed a stellar left-footed free-kick that surpassed the defensive wall and goalkeeper Andres Gudino, securing the top left corner of the net. (Al Jazeera)
Large-scale protests have been held across Peru with tens of thousands of citizens demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte. The demonstrations, led by left-wing groups and unions, were mainly peaceful, though some escalated into conflicts with the police, resulting in injuries and arrests. Many demonstrators accuse Boluarte of illegitimately ousting her leftist predecessor, Pedro Castillo, and jailing him. This political controversy has sparked several months of intermittent, sometimes violent, protests. Deep-rooted social issues, including persistent poverty and inequality, are also driving factors behind the unrest. Despite Peru's prosperity as a significant copper producer, many Peruvians feel excluded from the wealth, fuelling frustration and resentment against the current administration. (Reuters)
Around 2,000 Magellanic penguins have washed up dead on the eastern coast of Uruguay, causing concern among authorities. Most of the dead penguins are young and appear to have died at sea due to starvation and a lack of fat reserves. Preliminary tests have ruled out avian influenza as a cause. Every winter, these penguins migrate north from southern Argentina in search of food and warmer waters. However, the number of deaths this year is unusually high, and similar incidents have occurred previously, including a major die-off in Brazil last year. Some environmentalists blame overfishing for reducing the penguins' food sources. Additionally, a recent subtropical cyclone in southeastern Brazil may have contributed to the deaths, especially among weaker animals. (France 24)
Hugo Carvajal, former intelligence chief of Venezuela, has pleaded not guilty to drug trafficking charges in a U.S. court. Carvajal served as President Hugo Chavez's chief of military intelligence from 2004 to 2011. U.S. prosecutors allege that during his tenure, Carvajal facilitated the shipment of thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico, which was subsequently transported to the U.S. The charges against him include participation in a narco-terrorism conspiracy, conspiring to import cocaine into the U.S., and use of weapons in connection with drug trafficking. (Al Jazeera)
Venezuela's Oil Minister, Pedro Tellechea, has announced that the country expects to sign licenses by year-end for developing its vast natural gas reserves. This comes despite U.S. sanctions and a history of underinvestment. State oil company PDVSA is currently in negotiations with several companies, including Italy's Eni, Spain's Repsol, and France's Maurel & Prom. Tellechea also revealed Venezuela's aspirations to become a gas exporter. The country is currently producing 831,000 barrels of crude per day and aims to increase this to 1 million barrels per day by the end of the year. (Reuters)
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