Salkantay Ventures paves the way for venture capital funds in Peru
Salkantay Ventures becomes Peru's largest venture capital fund, a journey that started back in 2018. Learn about all the milestones that led them to being the first Peruvian VC fund to raise 25 Million Dollars.
Venture capital in Latin America might be booming, but that doesn't make it any less challenging to close a $25M fund. Salkantay Ventures rose to the occasion and went head-on towards their goal, achieving some firsts for the country along the way...
Back in 2018, founders Martín Aspillaga and Guillermo Miró Quesada transitioned Salkantay Partners from private equity to venture capital (VC). They joined forces with Luis Arbulú, an entrepreneur and investor with a great VC trajectory in both LatAm and Silicon Valley. The bold decision occurred during Peru’s initial stages of developing an innovation ecosystem thus, Salkantay was among the first VC funds in the country.
The opportunity was huge; the founders felt confident that high-impact tech entrepreneurs would continue to drive social and economic development in the region and that they would need support and smart capital to scale their businesses. In this context, the team set out to raise their first VC fund, with an ambitious goal of $25M.
“Latin America is going through a major transformation: in 2021 it was the region with the highest increase in VC investment globally. And even though more advanced ecosystems like Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, are reaching 0.5% of VC investment over GDP, The US benchmark is closer to 1.5%. To put in context, Perú is still at 0.05%, demonstrating the extent of the opportunity”
Luis Arbulú, Partner.
Let us look back on Salkantay’s major milestones on their way to 25 million:
The first came in 2018 when Salkantay won a grant from the ProInnovate program to boost the local VC ecosystem, providing runway for the fund’s pre-operational stage. During these early days, the team molded the fund’s investment thesis, focusing on early-stage entrepreneurs across Spanish-speaking Latin America, who are leveraging technology to solve the region’s most pressing problems and bridge gaps. This includes the development of smart cities (logistics, e-commerce, proptech); the provision of critical products and services (fintech, edtech, healthtech); the digitization of companies, with a particular focus on MSMEs (B2B/ SaaS models) and the future of work. Salkantay would later become the sole winner of the second stage of the ProInnovate grant in late 2019, to fund their operations while raising the fund.
In 2019, they got an important seal of approval by joining Capria, the largest network of impact investing funds in the world, with a presence across major emerging markets in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Salkantay Exponential Fund officially launched in January 2020 after months of challenging work to put together a world-class team, structure a fund that would be attractive to international investors, and build a strong investment pipeline. During the tough times that followed, Salkantay persevered, closing three investments during 2020; they would close 6 more in the following year and a half, including Peruvian foodtech Manzana Verde.
2021 was another eventful year. First, IDB Lab made a $4.5M commitment to Salkantay, marking it’s first-ever investment in a Peruvian VC fund. Later, they invited Laura Maydón to join the Investment Committee. Laura is a senior professional with significant experience in tech as an operator, investor, and ecosystem builder. It was important for Salkantay to add a woman to the fund’s top decision-making body, which was previously all-male. After becoming Swiss EP Partners, they worked with EIR Belissa Rojas, a professional with over 15 years of international development experience, who helped Salkantay develop an impact measurement and management system. Finally, they closed the year with a commitment of $4M from COFIDE’s Fund of Funds, the first made by COFIDE’s new initiative.
“At Salkantay, we are grateful for the support we have received in raising our first fund. We expect this to be the first of many success stories in our ecosystem; we need more funds to reach scale to be able to support innovative entrepreneurs that are making a positive impact in the country and the region”
Lucia Montalvo, Vice President of Investments.
Salkantay is currently in the final stretch of its fundraising process and expects to close its $25M fund before the end of the first semester of 2022. The closing of this fund will mark a remarkable achievement for the Peruvian VC ecosystem, highlighting its potential in the years to come.
To learn more about Salkantay Ventures’ team, vision, and portfolio, please visit: www.salkantay.vc