Global VC Ecosystems Monthly Recap is a newsletter covering relevant stories on venture capital, startups, and technology from select emerging market startup ecosystems. If you’re into learning about the people solving problems and creating the future in developing economies, this newsletter is for you.
Welcome to April! Q1 2022 is over, and a lot happened in the VC and startup space in the March recap below.
I’m in the process of setting up interviews for the podcast in South Africa in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to getting these released and learning more about the ecosystem. If you have any recommendations for guests, or any introductions, please send them my way!
Newsworthy: Well, Q1 numbers for 2022 are in. According to Crunchbase, Global VC funding reached $160B, a -13% decrease to Q4 2021. This trend marks the first time in a year for a quarter over quarter decrease.
- Why it’s important: The numbers are still a +7% jump compared to Q1 2021, but there have been concerns of a slowdown as the crazy valuations of last year in both public and private companies have come back down to earth a bit. Seed and Early-Stage funding have remained relatively steady, as most slowdowns have been in Later-Stage startups.
In early March, Microsoft announced an initiative to partner with African VCs and accelerators to back 10,000 local startups over the next five years. The company will be executing these initiatives through their Africa Transformation Office in an attempt to “unlock $500 million in potential investment.”
Why it’s important: In developing nations, external capital from developed countries and corporations are still critical in growing local ecosystems. This move echoes similar ones from Google last year. And, it’s not only private companies, as the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation also announced initiatives on the continent.
Several APAC countries have announced legislations around cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Singapore will begin taxing NFT transactions, Thailand has banned using crypto for payments, Malaysia outright banned crypto as a whole, and Vietnam announced they will be building a legal framework around crypto use.
Why it’s important: Crypto has been booming in the region, along with blockchain and Web3 startups and accelerators popping up in the region. Bans will certainly cap addressable markets in the region. Legislation can be a double-edge sword, adding frameworks for companies to work in, but also adding legal complexities.
I talked about Ukraine a little bit earlier, so let’s talk about some good news in the region. Bulgarian FinTech, Payhawk, became the country’s first unicorn after extending its Series B round to €191 million.
Why it’s important: I get it, there’s too many unicorns out there now for it to feel relevant. Regardless, it’s still an important marker for emerging startup ecosystems to mint their first unicorns. This milestone will bring more attention to Bulgaria, and early employees who cash out can begin to contribute back to the ecosystem.
Brazilian Latitud raised an $11.5M Seed round from A16Z and regional LATAM founders to continue building it’s tech and educational platform for early-stage startups.
Why it’s important: Latitud started as a community focused on entrepreneurs, but have since pivoted to building products for founders to help with company formation, international capital, cap table management, and mentoring. The company’s product lines include Latitud Go, the first company-formation product in LATAM; Latitud Fellowships, an educational program for startup development; and, Latitud Ventures, an investment arm.
Dubai, like the APAC countries mentioned above, has also issued new regulations on virtual assets and cryptocurrencies. The law establishes The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority to regulate the sector.
Why it’s important: UAE’s government figures show that the digital economy contributes ~4.3% to the country’s GDP. The government hopes that this new legal framework will protect investors and provide international standards for the industry.