Latin America finds a champion in SoftBank Group International CEO Marcelo Claure

latin america investment

SoftBank is gaga for startups in Latin America. Since first announcing it was planting a stake in the ground in the region in early 2019, the Japanese conglomerate  — from its own balance sheet, it says — has plugged more than $5 billion into the region, and it expects that number to top $8 billion by year’s end.

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Its capital contributions are meaningful, to say the least. In 2019, startups across Latin America raised $5.3 billion in funding, according to CB Insights. In 2020, they raised roughly the same amount.

This year, the pace of dealmaking has shifted into overdrive, with $9.3 billion plugged into Latin American startups in the first six months, and SoftBank Group CEO Marcelo Claure believes that by 2023, closer to $30 billion will be invested in the region annually.

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“Finally, the world has realized that Latin America has size,” said Claure, a native of Bolivia, today at TechCrunch Disrupt. “It’s only half of China, but it’s two times the size of India, and three times the size of Southeast Asia.”

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More, he said, people are making money there. “Latin America has the same GDP per capita — $9,000 to $10,000 per year —  as China, and that’s three times (GDP per capita) in India, and two times what people are making in Southeast Asia.

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