Softbank has made Latin America’s serial entrepreneur Ralf Wenzel in charge of its Tech Hub, designed to help the startups it has funded to collaborate and expand operations in the region.
The Tech Hub intends to create 50 joint ventures between Softbank-backed companies over the next five years.
“The Tech Hub is hitting the ground running and working with a variety of SoftBank-backed companies to reach more people across Latin America,” said Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian native and CEO of SoftBank Group International.
Ralf founded Foodpanda, one of the world’s most successful food delivery businesses with operations in 40 countries, and ran it for several years until it was merged with Delivery Hero.
He also built Skrill, the first e-wallet company in Europe and now part of publicly-traded Paysafe Group.
Ralf knows how to accelerate startups, because he is the co-founder of Tocororo Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm. He also helped build and scale mobile content service Jamba into a global company, which was sold to News Corp.
“Ralf has a proven record of success in building companies from scratch, taking them into new countries, and developing products used by millions of people around the world,” Claure added.
Two months ago, Softbank similarly hired former Argentinean minister and serial entrepreneur Andy Freire for identifying promising business ventures in the region.
The Japanese fund 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.