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For Ezra Fieser, gives Bloomberg

As the planet entered lockdown last year, the venture capital investor Hernan Kazakh sent a message to the companies that comprise its portfolio of technology startups in Latin America: Cutting costs and preserving cash for what, in Kazah’s view, would be a maximum effort to survive the pandemic.

Just over a year later, Kazah is less concerned about the survival of the region’s tech sector and more about what he’s going to do with the $1 billion in cash his company has just raised.

instead of tithing startups, circulation restrictions boosted technology companies’ revenues, as consumers began to use more smartphone — to order food or take care of the bank account — and stayed home to protect themselves from Covid-19.

A Kaszek Ventures, the venture capital firm that Kazah and partner Nicolas Szekasy founded a decade ago after leaving the e-commerce giant Free market — has already invested in several so-called unicorns, startups valued at $1 billion or more.

As the pandemic progressing, they saw so many investment opportunities that they advanced plans to raise new resources, which will be injected into startups in the coming years, Kazah said in an interview. The result was the largest venture capital round in Latin America’s history, yet another sign that the region is no longer considered a lightweight in innovation and has become an emerging zone for global technology investors.

“The start of the pandemic was horrible. Companies had to recalibrate and adjust. But after a month and a half, we saw the opposite: demand kept rising and rising,” said Kazah. “It accelerated so much and there were so many really great investment ideas that we really didn’t want to run out of ammo.” ”

Although Latin America was one of the regions most affected by the pandemic, this practically did not affect the investment in venture capital. Last year, the number of deals was a record and investors poured more than $4 billion into startups for the second year in a row, according to the Latin American Association of Private Equity and Venture Capital (known as Lavca). The investment estimate for the first quarter exceeds US$ 2 billion.

Kaszek raised $475 million for early-stage startups and $525 million for companies he’s already invested in.

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