Jaguar Ventures a Mexican firm that invests in early-stage entrepreneurs rebranded as Wolof and plans to raise $100 million in its third fund in the first quarter of 2022. Eric Pérez-Grovas, who founded the Mercado Libre Mexico operations, teamed up with Cristóbal Perdomo, a serial entrepreneur who founded firms such as Groupalia, which sold to the Brazilian Peixe Urbano. Since then, the organization has made 31 investments, including Kavak, Konfo, Loft, and Nubank, all of which are unicorns. In 2014, it raised $9.3 million for its first fund, which was followed by a $22 million second fund. Pérez-Groves told TechCrunch that while 10 of the companies are Mexican, the other 19 are global corporations that see Mexico as a significant market.
Initially, the couple chose “jaguar” as the firm’s name because it was unique at the time, an animal found in the Americas, where the firm invested and was an aggressive animal that reflected their investment style. Unfortunately, several other entities with the word “jaguar” in their names appeared, causing considerable confusion, according to Pérez-Grovas. “We tried to come up with a unique name, and Cristóbal pointed out that we picked the wrong animal,” he explained. “He stated we should have gone with the wolf instead because, despite being a hunter, it travels in a pack with a female or male ‘leader.'” Wollef is a better fit for us and aligns with our philosophy of working with entrepreneurs as a team.”
The Latin American startup ecosystem, according to Pérez-Grovas and Perdomo, is expanding, citing data from the Latin American Venture Capital Association that shows venture capital investment in the first half of 2021 reached $6 billion, up from $4.8 billion in 2020. Wollef has had an easier job attracting limited partners to its current fund a result of the boom. Perdomo noted that while they were soliciting money in 2013, only around ten people out of a hundred family offices and enterprises in Mexico agreed to meet with them. In 2019, half of the LPs attended a meeting for the second fund, but only 10% of LPs admitted. The firm is now receiving calls, particularly from organizations in the United States that want to get involved in Latin America.
The new fund will be similar to earlier ones that were sector-agnostic, while Wollef’s portfolio includes fintech, marketplaces, and e-commerce startups, according to them. The firm plans to invest in another 20 to 25 new businesses, and Pérez-Grovas and Perdomo say they’re excited to be able to write bigger checks this time than they could with their prior money. They plan to deposit the first checks in the range of $500,000 to $1 million.
One of the differences between Wollef and other firms is that they do not share company information with anyone. Other companies in the country, according to Pérez-Grovas, view investments as a means of acquiring information rather than financial gains. “They may not have been successful,” he noted, “so they are now using firms for information.” “We are assisting startups for monetary gain.” That’s one of the things we admire about American investors: they’re looking for the same thing.”