Venture capital firms Seaya Ventures and Cathay Innovation have created a mutual fund targeting startups across Latin America that are redefining their industries and society.
The two companies — Seaya based in Spain, and Cathay in France — formally met in April and have since opened an office in Mexico City, where they will manage the $125 million Seaya Cathay Latam Fund that will focus on Series A and B investments, with reserves for follow-up rounds.
The relationship between Spain and Latin America remains strong — she started her company in 2013 and her second investment in Mexico was in Sin Delantal, which Just Eat acquired a year later, said Beatriz Gonzalez, founder and managing partner of Seaya Ventures.
“At that time, Spanish companies in industries like banking and utilities were expanding into Latin America,” she said in an interview. “There weren’t a lot of funds when we started in 2013, and today, the market is so competitive. You can’t just bring funding to the table, you have to have funding, network and support. This combination is powerful because the ecosystem needs it now.”
The fund is led locally by Federico Gomez Romero, who previously led LATAM activities for seed fintech fund Accion Venture Lab. It targets consumer businesses and companies developing technologies in areas such as fintech, proptech, mobility, health technology, food, agriculture and cybersecurity. The fund also houses Cathay’s corporate ecosystem as investors and strategic partners.
The team’s first investment was made in September when it entered the Chilean fintech Xepelin round of $230 million. As individual companies, they have been active in the region with other investments in Kueski and Lana in Mexico, Brazil’s Facily and alt.bank, RobinFood in Colombia and Chile’s Fracttal.
Jackie Abiteboul, managing partner at Cathay Innovation, said the Seaya Cathay Latam Fund will invest in 12 to 15 companies and will write checks in sizes between $5 million and $10 million. Having already worked together on other investments, he said it made sense for his company and Sia to come together.
“Our intention is to be a global player, and we saw opportunities to be part of the local ecosystem,” he said. “We share a lot of values and the same mindset, so we decided to partner with Big Tickets and run a platform we built with an initial investment to support the founders.”