Japanese multinational SoftBank will likely invest at least US$1 billion in prospective Latin American startups this year.
Softbank adds money every year to its US$5 billion funds set up in 2019. Last year, it had added US$1.6 billion, and this year the sum would be US$1 billion.
Considering a comment from Andres Freire, the company’s Managing Partner and the head of the Southern Cone region, the countries under its spotlight are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.
Over the past year, Softbank has plowed money into around 17 startups across the region, with Brazil claiming a lion share of this investment. Some of these startups include Colombian delivery app Rappi and Mexico’s second-hand car broker Kavak.
Freire said that Softbank is keenly watching the operations of four startups in the region, with the hope of investing in them in the future. He did not disclose the names of the enterprises, though.
Some of the industries that this venture fund wants to place its bets are digital commerce and healthcare.
Not only did it invest in prospective business startups, but Softbank is also helping the region bolster its digital talent pool. The Japanese fund will soon launch an 11-week program to train Latin American technology professionals in artificial intelligence.