The Nazca Ventures team has been hard at work over the past months searching for its first investment picks. In December, it made its seed capital debut, leading a US$1.3 million round for freelance job marketplace Nubelo. And by the looks of it, Nubelo was just the tip of the iceberg, because Nazca is now announcing the addition of two new companies to its portfolio.
First up is Cranberry Chic, a social e-commerce platform out of Santiago. Founded by Pilar Matte, Josefina Pooley and Antonia Bulnes, the startup is focused on all things fashion, beauty and style.
Fashionistas share their styles, store lists of clothing items and accessories they have or want, and can also purchase new items through the platform. Brands establish a direct channel for communications and sales to consumers – currently, 20 companies offer products through Cranberry Chic.
The kicker: not everyone can access the site. Users have to sign up to be put on a waiting list or get connected through a friend to receive an invitation (in other words, I’m still waiting on mine).
Nazca’s investment, as well as the support of other backers, will help Cranberry Chic to expand beyond Chile and reach the rest of Latin America. And we hear it’s well on its way – the startup was quite a hit at Punta Tech 2014.
“We’re proud of our investment in Cranberry Chic, which will not only bring top Chilean talent to the rest of Latin America but will also allow us to highlight a unique team in the region, formed by three entrepreneurs with a combined deep knowledge of the fashion market and business management skills,” remarked Nazca’s Santiago Caniggia Bengolea in the official investment announcement.
Josefina Pooley, one of the co-founders of Cranberry Chic, echoed:
Nazca understood our essence and style from day one. We’re happy that they’ve trusted in our potential. Their support in our regional expansion will allow us to arrive faster and better in other Latin American markets.
Eduardo Amadeo, Partner at Nazca Ventures, also reflected on the decision to pick Cranberry Chic for investment – explaining that when he first referred to the startup, calling it a Facebook for Fashion, he was met with a lot of skepticism. However, he emphasized that fashion e-commerce is an extremely competitive market and that the key is finding the means to reach consumers where they already are. “For women, fashion consumption is a social and hedonistic activity, and that’s what Cranberry Chic exploits,” he sustained, adding:
We’ve already said that, for us, it is fundamental to find entrepreneurs who understand their clients, who get into their heads and operate based on their most intimate desires and needs. That’s the case of Cranberry Chic.
For its third investment pick, Nazca Ventures again went the route of e-commerce, backing eGlam & Ropit.
The fusion of what were originally two separate entities, eGlam & Ropit provides end-to-end e-commerce services for fashion brands and sports teams. The startup team takes care of all of the online retail details for its clients, from site administration to product delivery, inventory management and marketing strategy.
Nazca pointed to two main motivations in selecting eGlam & Ropit for investment.
First is opportunity. “We all know that fashion e-commerce is one of the sectors that has grown most in the region and still has a lot of expanding ahead,” the investment announcement reads. However, traditional brands have struggled to get into the online retail game – an issue we’ve explored in the past. eGlam & Ropit have arrived to give them a hand. In fact, it is already managing the e-commerce efforts of 23 brands and two of Argentina’s leading soccer teams.
Second, Nazca pointed to the capacity of the eGlam & Ropit team to evolve as entrepreneurs. Individually, the companies were lacking vital elements to make their respective projects work, but together, they’ve become a force to reckon with.
And Nazca hasn’t been alone in recognizing the potential of eGlam & Ropit. MercadoLibre is also backing the company and has come on board as a strategic partner. The startup is already present in Argentina and Chile and plans to head to other Latin American countries in 2014.
Nazca Ventures is clearly placing its bets on fashion e-commerce, though neither of its most recent picks are going the most traditional routes in their strategies. It is also worth noting that its backing of both Cranberry Chic and eGlam & Ropit were made possible by CORFO.