Temasek invests $11.6 million in Argentinian start-up

RIO DE JANEIRO • IguanaFix, a home services start-up based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has raised US$16 million from Temasek Holdings and Qualcomm Ventures.

The new financing round, which closed on Monday, will fuel the company's expansion beyond its base, particularly in Brazil and Mexico, said Mr Matias Recchia, the co-founder and chief executive of IguanaFix.

The company, founded in 2013, is an on-demand home improvement marketplace and service provider. It connects professionals such as plumbers and electricians with consumers and retail stores. The company bears similarities to the Indian start-up Housejoy, which Qualcomm Ventures also backs.

An early investor, RCV Capital - a vehicle that the private equity firm Riverwood Capital maintains for its partners - also joined in the round.

For Temasek, which put in US$8 million (S$11.6 million), or half of the round, such a small investment is atypical. Nor has Latin America been a priority. Only 2 per cent of its roughly US$168 billion portfolio is invested in the region.

In comparison, Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of the telecommunications company Qualcomm, has been active in Latin America.

This year, it closed five new investments and four follow-on ones - an increase from the three new investments and three follow-on ones last year, according to Mr Carlos Kokron, vice-president and managing director for Latin America for Qualcomm Ventures.

It recently invested in QuintoAndar, a Brazilian Internet company trying to ease the apartment renting process here. Acacia Partners in New York also backed that company in the round.

Qualcomm Ventures has provided financing for 16 companies in Latin America, almost all based in Brazil. The firm's global portfolio has more than 140 companies.

"Despite the mess in Brazil, the tech start-up industry continues to progress," Mr Kokron said.

IguanaFix says it is ready to grow in the region. While 70 per cent of its revenue comes from Argentina now, Mr Recchia expects that figure to drop to about 30 per cent by the end of next year.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2016, with the headline 'Temasek invests $11.6 million in Argentinian start-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe