“This will, without a doubt, be the biggest vehicle for developing technology companies not only in Colombia but in the entire Andean market,” declared Alfonso De León of Axon Partners Group during the launch of Amerigo Ventures Colombia.
This statement demonstrates the high expectations of Axon, which promotes and manages the fund, as well as investors like Telefónica, AECID, Bancoldex and Brightstar. Together, they will form the first private fund focused on investing in innovative companies in the digital economy space that are in the early stages of development or expanding into Latin America.
The objective of Amerigo Ventures Colombia is to back Colombian companies that help to digitalize the economy and need to consolidate their growth. It will provide strategic and financial support.
Francisco Velásquez de Cuellar, President of Axon Partners Group, remarked, “This is a disruptive project in that it sets out to accelerate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Colombia. We think that this is doubly great news because a large portion of the funds for this have come from abroad. With this project, we will demonstrate that it is possible for technological innovation to be profitable and, moreover, have added value and a significant social impact on Colombian society.”
Alfonso Gómez Palacio, Executive President of Telefónica Colombia, and Nicolás Martín Cinto, Spanish Ambassador to Chile, also attended the Amerigo launch event. Cinto discussed the private component of the fund, “The mechanism is original, and we believe that the efficiency of its private management, with the confidence we have in Telefónica, will allow it to accomplish something that has never been done in Colombia’s digital network. We have bet on something innovative that I believe is a new form of cooperation.”
Gómez Palacio spoke of how Amerigo expects to develop this model of innovation, which facilitates growth and leverages the force of all of the companies looking to enter into the digital economy so that “it is no longer necessary to go to other countries, other markets, other commercial environments and cultures to develop initiatives that are born in Colombia.”
Amerigo will be a catalyst in the acceleration of the ecosystem of new companies poised to lead Colombia’s digital economy. Investments may be anywhere from US$300,000 for early-stage companies to US$5 million for consolidated companies looking to conquer other markets in Latin America or around the globe. “We have examined over 200 different business opportunities, so we are very pleased, from our standpoint, with the originative capacity of the Colombian market for investment opportunities. In fact, we have already closed the first two investment deals,” said De León.
Amerigo Ventures Colombia plans to complete 19 operations over the next three years. It has US$65 million as well as an expert team based in Bogotá that is dedicated to identifying top talents and projects.
“We estimate that 60% of the fund will go to growth-stage companies, companies that we want to help expand out of Colombia, and that 40% will go to disruptive ideas, like our first investments in early-stage projects,” De León explained.
Who are these first two companies pegged for investment by Amerigo? Meet them:
RedSeguro, a company that aims to digitalize the way in which car insurance is commercialized in the Colombian market by way of an online platform that allows users to compare prices and access better services.
At the Amerigo launch press conference, it was revealed that the fund will likely make a third investment before July and one or two more before the end of the year.
De León concluded the conference and affirmed that Amerigo Ventures Colombia’s focus will not be solely on identifying 19 companies to invest in but also on supporting the development of the ecosystem overall. The simple knowledge that opportunities like Amerigo Ventures Colombia are out there will inspire those with innovative ideas to undertake real projects and build new businesses.