Venture capital (VC) investment in Latin America surpassed US$1 billion mark for the first time in 2017, with 25 new global investors launching a search for prospective technology startups in the region.
Fundraising was up over 200% year over year, according to the data released by the Latin American Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (LAVCA), describing 2018 as a ‘breakout year’ in the LatAm technology market.
The deal count grew from 197 in 2016 to 249 in 2017, with the Brazilian ride-hailing app 99’s US$200 million fundraising figuring prominently in the list of large deals.
In addition, there was a slight increase in the number of unicorns, startups that achieve valuations of more than US$1 billion. Three startups gained unicorn status in the first quarter of 2018, including Nubank, 99, and PagSeguro.
The fastest growing sectors for startups include online marketplace, transportation technology, financial technology, and e-commerce.
Meanwhile, investment in edtech, healthtech, and agtech sectors more than doubled in 2017, both in capital and number of deals.
According to the report, WeWork, Netflix and Spotify are expanding across the region, with Mexico and Brazil leading the regional countries in attracting venture capital investors.