19 de May de 2022 News

SoftBank LatAm fund invests in three Brazilian start-ups

Emily Darby – 17 March 2022


US law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP has helped Japan’s SoftBank lead several funding rounds where it used its Latin American investment fund to inject US$32 million into three separate Brazilian start-up companies.


In the most recent of the three transactions, SoftBank enlisted Nelson Mullins and Brazil’s TozziniFreire Advogados to invest US$15 million in local healthcare education start-up Medway Educação Medica as part of that company’s Series A financing.


Foley & Lardner LLP offices in Silicon Valley and San Diego advised the target company. Brazilian outfit Veirano Advogados is also thought to have helped Medway, but Latin Lawyer could not confirm this before publishing.


The deal closed on 9 March.


US venture capital business Global Founders Capital (GFC), Ireland’s Neuron Partners and Brazilian investors EquitasVC and Aggir Ventures all participated in the funding round too, among others.


Medway provides digital learning resources for medical students and trainee doctors. It was founded in 2017 by three doctors – Alexandre Remor, João Vitor Fernando and Micael Hamra – with the idea of using technology to help prepare students for the highly-competitive medical residency programme at Brazilian
health institute Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo (HC-FMUSP).


The founders were motivated by the challenges they had faced individually in applying for the São Paulo residency, which includes a tough entrance exam.


The edtech, which has grown by 150% in the last 12 months, intends to use the capital injection to add new healthcare courses to its existing portfolio of exam preparation resources and classes. The company aims to launch 10 new training modules this year, while it also plans to use its recent funding to hire more staff
and further develop the app’s technology.


Around 40% of medical students at competitive medical residencies, such as USP, Unicamp, Escola Paulista de Medicina and Hospital Albert Einstein, are thought to
be users of Medway’s app. The start-up aims to double its current userbase of 10,000 by the end of 2022.


In another deal, SoftBank hired Nelson Mullins to co-lead a US$10 million Series A investment round in Brazilian health company Nilo Saúde alongside fellow international investors GFC and Tau Ventures.


Bronstein Zilberberg Chueiri & Potenza Advogados in São Paulo advised Nilo in the transaction, which closed on 28 January.


US firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is also thought to have advised the target group, while Hogan Lovells LLP is understood to have helped co-lead investor GFC, but Latin Lawyer could not confirm this before publishing.


Brazilian private equity group Canary and London-based Maya Capital both participated in the round too.


Founded in 2020, the healthtech start-up uses Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology to help doctors and nurses manage their care for patients, providing online guidance for medical staff. With the US$10 million injection, Nilo aims to boost its technological capabilities by incorporating data analytics services and making additional improvements to its integrated platform.


The healthcare technology group also expects to grow its workforce following the funding round, with plans to quadruple its staff size to 250 members by the end of 2022.


Nilo counts some of Brazil’s largest healthcare organisations as clients. Among them is Notre Dame Intermedica Saúde, which carried out a US$21 billion tie-up with local counterpart Hapvida last year in what was one of Brazil’s largest corporate tie-ups in over a decade. Brazilian insurer Porto Seguro and healthcare group Leve Saúde both use the start-up’s services too.


In the third transaction, SoftBank withdrew US$7 million from its Latin American fund to invest in US-Brazilian artificial intelligence start-up Birdie. Nelson Mullins advised the Japanese bank on that deal too.


Two California-based offices of K&L Gates LLP helped the target group, which announced the seed funding round on 10 February.


US investor Illuminate Ventures co-led the round alongside SoftBank. US private equity groups Astella and Endeavour Catalyst also participated, alongside Brazilian venture capitalist Astella.


Birdie’s Brazilian co-founders Patrícia Osorio, Alexandre Hadade and Rodrigo Pantigas, previously all worked together at São Paulo-based marketing company Arizona. Founded in 2017, Birdie uses artificial intelligence to process consumer feedback and help companies tailor their offering to market trends.


Birdie plans to use the funding to expand its offering. It aims to more than double its global presence by the end of 2022, expanding from its current offering in six jurisdictions to at least 14 countries. Currently, it is present in Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Spain, the UK and the US. US tech giants Microsoft and HP are some of the company’s most well-known clients, while Chinese appliance manufacturer Midea also uses the start-up’s services.


Currently, Birdie has an almost entirely remote set-up, with staff employed throughout the US, Europe and 13 Brazilian states. Its main offices are in Miami and São Paulo.


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