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Seaya launches €85m third fund and hints at new LatAm investment vehicle

The Madrid-based VC has historically had a strong Latin American presence

By Tim Smith in Barcelona

Seaya Ventures, the first financial investors in Spanish unicorns Cabify and Glovo, are today launching their third fund with an initial closing of €85m, and a target of €125m. 90% of the investment for the new fund comes from pre-existing LPs.

“In this third fund we are going to focus exclusively on Southern Europe and we will also invest opportunistically in other European countries,” said Beatriz Gonzalez, founder and managing partner at Seaya Ventures.

The fund has historically had a strong presence in Latin America, with recent investments in Colombian and Mexican startups Muy and Coru, but believes the Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened the case for opportunities closer to home.

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“The international community has spent a lot of time in Spain in the last couple of years and that has been super positive, but it’s true that with Covid and with less travelling, it’s more difficult for all of us,” Gonzalez explains. “Much like us doing a transaction in Latin America without being able to travel.”

The current pause on international travel means that Spanish VCs are operating in a less competitive market when it comes to local investments, according to Gonzalez.

“We see a huge opportunity and a more interesting local edge,” she explains. “International funds that invest in the region are probably more focussed on their own countries and their own markets, so the equity gap that we’ve seen in the past few years is still very interesting for us.”

While Seaya Ventures doubles down on southern Europe, Gonzalez told Sifted that she is working on a new investment vehicle that will focus solely on Latin American investments.

“We’re going to launch a different fund, a different vehicle with a different management company for Latin America. We’re doing this partnership with a leading global VC fund,” she says.

“The ecosystem has evolved”

It’s not only a lack of international travel making Spain an attractive place to invest now, says Gonzalez, as the country’s startup sector is producing more and more innovative deep tech companies.

“We’ve seen big changes in the last couple of years, if you look at our first fund and then you compare it to our second fund,” she says. “All these companies that we’ve invested in in the last 18-24 months have a big technology component. It wasn’t the case at the beginning. More than half of our deal flow is now deep tech so the ecosystem has evolved.”

“It’s not just e-commerce or marketplaces, it’s much more than that and I think our portfolios are a reflection of that,” she adds.

Gonzalez says that Covid-19 has accelerated startup development, and that the fund is seeing more investment opportunities than ever. And if Spanish startups are about to see a decline in international VC money, Seaya Ventures’ new fund will play a more important role than ever.

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