With Bolt Ventures Deal, the Plot Thickens in Investments in Brazil

Seed and early-stage investment firm Bolt Ventures has acquired Mountain do Brasil as part of a deal with implications in both Switzerland and Brazil. Zurich-based Mountain Partners has agreed to sell its stake in Mountain to Brasil to Bolt Ventures, which is headquartered in Luxembourg.

Mountain do Brasil will be rebranded as Bolt Ventures and its assets transferred to the company. What’s more, its focus will likely shift. In the past, Mountain do Brasil has concentrated on copycats and previously tested business models. Now, it will seek out disruptive web and tech companies in the country.

Mountain Partners, on the other hand, will refocus its regional strategy to cover all of Latin America. It’s worth noting that Bolt was founded by ex-executives of Mountain do Brasil.

Nicolas Gautier, Managing Partner at Bolt Ventures, told Exame:

The structure and the investments are the same. What’s changing, basically, is the type of investment we’re looking for. We don’t think the copycat model works well in Brazil. The market has different problems, and the solutions need to be different.

Currently, Bolt Ventures has raised about US$10 million for investments. Its objective is to raise an additional US$40 million and invest in up to 20 Brazilian startups over the next five years. It plans to invest around US$500,000 in the first round of each company selected, making reinvestments of up to US$2 million in subsequent rounds. Mobile, education and e-commerce are its niches of focus.

Through this latest deal, all of Mountain do Brasil’s previous investments will join Bolt’s portfolio. The list includes 500 Startups-backed Veduca, OndaLocal, Startupi and Jánamesa, which was just acquired by Hellofood.

Copycats not working in Brazil? A refocus on Latin America as a whole as opposed to the Brazilian market? This is a pretty interesting twist in Brazil’s investment story.