AV Welcomes: VEF, a specialized fund in fintech startups from emerging countries
On April 25th, Angel Ventures (AV) welcomed VEF. At our most recent AV Welcomes event, we received the Swedish-origin fund specialized in fintech startups focused on emerging markets, including Mexico and Brazil.
“Those of us who have worked in Venture Capital for a while have a great respect for VEF. It’s an incredible fund. In fact, they do a lot of things in emerging markets, including some investments in Mexico and Latin America,” said Hernán Fernández, managing partner of Angel Ventures during the opening of AV Welcomes, held at the Centraal co-working space.
VEF invests in fintech sector companies in growth stages within emerging markets. The fund has a different structure than most Venture Capital funds, as it does not have limited (LP) or extended (EP) partners for financing, but is listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm market in Sweden.
“We started in 2015 and one of the assets in our portfolio was the Russian-origin company Tinkoff, a digital bank that has become a successful public business. From there, our investment thesis has been to continue investing in similar businesses in other emerging markets,” said Éire Smith, associate investor of VEF for Mexico.
According to the investor, VEF is here to stay in markets like Latin America, specifically Mexico and Brazil, as well as in other countries and regions, such as Pakistan, India, Turkey, and the Sub-Saharan African region. Smith stated that this allows the fund to have a broad vision of the fintech market, making it capable of comparing different regulatory ecosystems and market trends.
“Also, given our capital structure, that is, that we are a long-term capital fund, we do not have a financing cycle through which we have to return capital to our limited partners, which is quite beneficial for the markets in which we invest, where exit timelines are a bit longer than in Europe or the United States,” commented Érie Smith.
For his part, Evin McKay, associate investor of VEF for Brazil, explained that he sees many similarities between the Mexican and Brazilian markets, but also important differences, so an important factor of AV Welcomes is to know what the startups are developing to compare and contrast the fund’s options.
Among the startups in which VEF has invested in the Latam region are the Brazilian Creditas, which holds the largest position within the fund’s portfolio, and with which they have participated in five rounds of financing; as well as the Mexican Konfío, which holds the second stronges position among the startups in which they have invested.
VEF has also made investments in other Latin American fintech companies such as the Mexican minu, the Brazilian Solfácil, Gringo, and the African Jumo. Although it is an agnostic fund regarding the rounds in which it invests, financing aimed at Latin America has been characterized by corresponding to rounds around series B.
Localized, Tuio, Homie, Renova, Rocket, Cucuru, Crema, VentUp, Zenda.la, Cha’Pay, and Morgana were some of the startups that attended AV Welcomes to talk with VEF representatives.
“I think it’s great that they’re here, observing the ecosystem. It’s an incredible world-class fund that does many exciting things in Mexico and other emerging markets,” concluded Hernán Fernández, managing partner of Angel Ventures.
Founded in 2008, AV is one of the most active and influential Mexican venture capital firms in Latin America. The firm invests in companies that are in early or early growth stages, becoming a leading investor in Seed and Series A in new companies that drive innovative business models adapted to the Latin American market.