March 26, 2023

DealBook: Redpoint e.Ventures Making Long-Term Bet on Brazil

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — At a time when the Brazilian economy is cooling, at least one Silicon Valley firm is doubling down.

Redpoint e.Ventures announced Monday that it had raised $130 million to invest in early-stage Internet start-ups in Brazil, South America’s largest economy.

The firm, less than a year old, is a joint effort between Redpoint Ventures of Menlo Park, Calif., and BV Capital of San Francisco, which has just renamed itself e.Ventures. Each firm had invested in Brazilian Internet companies separately, including the online travel site Viajanet and Grupo Xango, a tech holding company co-founded by a former Microsoft executive.

Jeff Brody, Redpoint’s founding partner, acknowledged Brazil’s challenges, including slower growth and sagging industrial production. On Friday, Brazil’s government lowered its 2012 gross domestic product forecast to 3 percent growth, from 4.5 percent.

“None of that is good news for us,” Mr. Brody said. “Europe and China slowing down will definitely impact Brazil.”

But he said that the firm was more focused on the long term, the next decade, and that recent economic concerns “were not mentioned at all” by investors in the new fund.

In fact, the firms raised more than their original $100 million target, said Mathias Schilling, a founder of Internet use is still growing, and so is the mobile Web, and Brazilians still face a large void in early-stage venture capital, presenting a major opportunity.

A few pioneering local firms have already tapped into the market, including Monashees Capital of São Paulo. In addition, Kaszek Ventures of Argentina holds just under $100 million, with two-thirds of its investments in Brazil.

Still, the Redpoint joint venture is the first such fund in Brazil originating from Silicon Valley, said Allen Taylor, director of global networks for Endeavor, an American nonprofit group that promotes entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

Redpoint “has really taken a leadership position from the beginning” in helping encourage Brazil’s start-up culture and seeking it out as a market, Mr. Taylor said.

The founding partners of Redpoint e.Ventures, based here in São Paulo, Anderson Thees and Yann de Vries, say they will typically make initial investments from a few hundred thousand dollars to $5 million.

For many, the benefits go beyond the cash.

Camila Souza introduced the fashion shopping site Sophie Juliete with her partner, Ronald Beigl, last week. It is backed by Redpoint e.Ventures and IG Expansion.

Thanks to the presence of the new fund, and what she hopes will be other funds to follow, she said “entrepreneurship will become a lot more professional now” and less dependent on wealthy families.

“It will influence people who before did not really believe it was possible,” she said.

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