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Rappi represents a new era for Latin American technology startups.
Based in Bogotá, Colombia, the on-demand delivery startup has taken the region by storm, attracting a record amount of venture capital funding in mere months. Today marks the beginning of a new round of explosive growth as SoftBank, the Japanese telecom giant and prolific Silicon Valley tech investor, has confirmed a $1 billion investment in the business.
The king-sized financing comes two months after SoftBank announced its Innovation Fund, a new pool of capital committed to spending billions on the growing tech ecosystem in Central and South America.
VC funding in Latin America catapulted to new heights in 2018. Startups located across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and more have secured nearly $2.5 billion since the beginning of 2018, according to PitchBook, up from less than $1 billion invested in 2017.
SoftBank plans to transfer the Rappi investment to the Innovation Fund “upon the fund’s establishment,” according to a press release. For now, the SoftBank Group and affiliated Vision Fund will each invest $500 million in the company. Jeffrey Housenbold, a managing director at SoftBank responsible for investments in Brandless, Opendoor and DoorDash, will join Rappi’s board of directors.
“SoftBank’s vision of accelerating the technology revolution deeply resonated with our mission of improving how people live through digital payments and a super-app for everything consumers need,” Rappi co-founder Sebastian Mejia said in a statement. “We will continue to focus on building innovations for couriers, restaurants, retailers and start-ups that translate into new sources of growth.”
The latest round, the largest ever for a Latin American tech startup, brings Rappi’s total raised to date to a whopping $1.2 billion. The company was valued at more than $1 billion last year with a $200 million financing.
Rappi didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Source: Tech Crunch Startups | SoftBank makes a huge bet on Latin America
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Spot.IM announced today that it has raised $25 million in Series D funding.
We’ve written about the company’s commenting platform before, but CEO Nadav Shoval said it’s now building a broader “community platform.”
That means going beyond commenting and moderation to also include community pages and other ways to highlight and monetize user-generated content. The company’s customers include Hearst, Refinery29, Fox News and our corporate siblings at Engadget and AOL.com.
Shoval argued that these tools are particularly important as digital media business models are struggling — regardless of whether those publishers are focused on advertising, subscriptions or other models, the key is to focus on loyal readers and viewers rather than “random users that come in and disappear.”
Spot.IM can make a big difference in this area by keeping users engaged, and by providing data to help publishers understand their behavior and value. In fact, Shoval said that for some publishers, a Spot.IM user will provide five times as much lifetime revenue as a non-Spot.IM user.
“We do believe it’s about better understanding: Who are our users, what do they want and how can we provide them with more value?” he added.
The company has now raised a total of $63 million, according to Crunchbase. The new funding was led by previous investor Insight Venture Partners with participation from Norma Investments (representing businessman Roman Abramovich), AltaIR Capital, Cerca and WGI Group (founded by Noah Goodhart, Jonah Goodhart and Mike Walrath).
Spot.IM is also announcing that it has appointed tech and media executive Itzik Ben-Bassat as president and as a member of its board of directors.
Source: Tech Crunch Startups | Spot.IM raises M to help publishers engage with readers
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