Softbank has hired former Argentinean minister and serial entrepreneur Andy Freire, as the Japanese conglomerate intensifies its hunt to identify promising business ventures in Latin America.
The appointment has given rise to speculations that the company will soon open its regional headquarters in Buenos Aires, where Freire is based.
Reports suggest that Freire has been tasked with identifying prospective business ventures in countries, including Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Colombia, in addition to Argentina.
“We are looking for a startup that would one day become another Globant or Despegar,” Freire told Spanish news portal, La Nacion. “We need entrepreneurs with a mental chip to think big,” he added.
Freire will report to Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian native and the chief operating officer (COO) for the Japanese venture capital fund.
The news comes barely a week after Softbank led a US$231 million funding round for Brazil’s financial technology startup Creditas.
Considering previous comments from Softbank executives, the fund is looking to invest money in software developers, online retailers, logistic service providers, and fintech firms.
Softbank has set aside as much as US$5 billion for investment in Latin America. Its money has already helped a few startups to increase their valuations and expand internationally. Delivery apps Loggi and Rappi have both obtained unicorn status.