Argentine venture capital group Kaszek Ventures, one of the major financiers behind the fintech boom in Latin America, has raised US$600 million.
The new round of fundraising makes the venture capital firm the first early-stage Latin American fund to have raised more than US$1 billion in capital.
Founded by Hernan Kazah and Nicolas Szekasy, former executives of Argentine e-commerce site MercadoLibre, Kaszek Ventures is the early investor in the region’s many successful startups including Brazilian fintech Nubank and Loggi, Colombia’s logistic service provider with US$1 billion valuation.
The startup ecosystem in Latin America is looking robust in recent years, with the arrival of venture capital firms like Japan’s Softbank. Venture capital investment in regional startups has surged to in excess of US$2 billion.
A bulk of that growth has come from Kaszek’s portfolio companies like Gympass, the provider of corporate-sponsored gym memberships and Konfio, a Mexican small business lending platform.
The former executives of MercadoLibre launched Kaszek to see if they could replicate their success as entrepreneurs in the area of venture capital.
“We thought we could identify many more MercadoLibres and identify teams that were outstanding and would have a very ambitious vision in a very large market,” says Szekasy. “I thought I could have more impact if I moved and started working on the investing side.”
Across the region, Kaszek reportedly has invested in around 70 companies, most of which based in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.
The venture capital firm, reports say, is focusing on buying more stakes in the companies it has already invested instead of sinking money into new ventures.