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Japan’s SoftBank prepares arrival in Chile

InvestChile - July,25,2019

With a fund of US$5,000 million to allocate to innovative projects in Latin America, it will prioritize FinTech companies in the country, linked to digital wallets, payment methods and international remittances, among other services.

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A few weeks ago the SoftBank office in Buenos Aires began operations to take responsibility for the Southern Cone - Argentina, Chile and Uruguay - and start to distribute part of the Japanese company’s US$5,000 million fund to invest in innovative projects in Latin America.

The former minister of modernization, innovation and technology of Buenos Aires city, Andy Freire, is in charge of running the business. In conversation with Diario Financiero, he revealed that the firm has begun to prepare to invest in Chile.

"We have made a list of 10 to 15 companies that are already worth looking at," the executive said. Although Freire did not want to reveal the names of these companies, as confidentiality agreements have been signed, the comment indicates the firm's progress to make investments in the country.

Among the investments that SoftBank is looking at in Chile are FinTech companies, which develop initiatives such as digital wallets, payment methods, international remittance services, loans secured by assets, among other technological financial services.

To be of interest to the Japanese billionaire fund, companies must have some special features, according to Freire. “They have to be growing by more than 100% annually; show exponential growth; have a triple A talent team, which is not just the leader, but truly a team; they have to have regional vision, ambition and a secret ingredient which is what it takes to win and grow to conquer a space in the market,” he says.

After the Chilean "aspirants" are selected, the investment process starts from US$20 million, says the Asian firm representative.

But SoftBank is not only in search of entities but also entrepreneurs. In the roll-out of its strategy for Latin America, Freire says that it is also developing a Tech Hub “in which we are not looking for entrepreneurs with projects but entrepreneurs without projects that have the potential and ability to join initiatives we want to undertake in the region, through agreements with global companies, that are already part of the portfolio.”

Chilean unicorns

The executive points out that during the survey they made of Chile, the existing talent and “above all the global outlook” of Chileans stands out.

In this context, the local market’s FinTech projects are valued, since “most of the Chilean initiatives, since their conception, are designed to expand regionally”.

SoftBank has high expectations of Chile, as the company executive says that it is “convinced that one of the next unicorns in Latin America is going to be from Chile and I have the expectation that this will be the case. We want to help make that happen. Our strategy is to tell the entrepreneur: forget about selling, here you have the capital to grow over time, so focus on executing”.

To learn more about investment opportunities in Chile, read the following article.

Source: Diario Financiero

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Topics: Fintech- Japan- Softbank- Banking

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