SoftBank Group Corp., the firm that has plowed billions of dollars into Latin American startups over the past few years, made its first foray into Chile by taking part in a $60 million funding round for Betterfly, a health technology company.
SoftBank was joined by DST Global Partners, QED Investors, Valor Capital and Endeavor Catalyst in the funding round that now values Santiago-based Betterfly at $300 million, according to the company.
Betterfly describes itself as an insurance technology, or “insurtech” company. It provides a digital benefits platform for companies to reward employees’ healthy habits with life insurance that grows at no cost and the option of donating to different causes. Among the benefits it provides are telemedicine, mental health, exercise programs, nutrition advice and financial education.
Betterfly has more than 300 firms as customers and charges 2,990 pesos (about $4) per company employee that joins its program, chief executive officer Eduardo Della Magiora said in an interview.
Betterfly has posted strong growth during the coronavirus outbreak as companies pay closer attention to taking care of the well-being of their workers. Betterfly began the pandemic with about 20 employees and now has 130. That figure should climb to 150 soon.
The company has been working on its international expansion in recent months and will use the funds to finance growth beyond Chile.
“We already have our country officer for Brazil in Rio de Janeiro building our team and preparing our launch in a few months,” Della Magiora said. “We will be moving our headquarters to Miami, which we believe is the perfect innovation hub to land and expand across Latin America.”
Betterfly raised $18 million in December in its Series A funding round, which was then led by QED. So far Softbank’s Latin America Fund has invested in Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
Latin America’s burgeoning tech sector struck a record number of venture capital deals last year, according to an industry association.
Chilean plant-based food producer NotCo recently reached a valuation of $300 million. The biggest startup deal from Chile was the 2019 sale of a controlling interest in Santiago-based online grocery delivery firm Cornershop to Uber Technologies for $459 million.
Della Magiora said he’s not too concerned about when it may reach the iconic “unicorn” status, of startups valued above $1 billion.
“With the speed at which we’re growing and the massive opportunity we see across the region, I think this may happen sooner, rather than later,” he said.
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