Riverwood Capital launches $200,000 Latin America Start-Up Challenge

Earlier today Riverwood Capital announced a Latin America Mobile, Web & Cloud Start-Up Challenge aimed at discovering and showcasing the next wave of highly successful technology startups they believe will be born in the region.

With their average investment check size ranging from US $20-70 million, you can imagine how ‘uber excited’ co-founder boy and I were when we received news that Riverwood Capital was expanding into the Latin America startup scene!

Furthermore, they generously extended an invitation for AndesBeat to be among their distinguished partners to help introduce and personally connect them with Chile’s startup community.

Alas, it is with great honor that we welcome and present to Chile’s startup community, Riverwood Capital, a globally-focused private equity firm that invests in high-growth businesses in the technology and services industries, across a variety of verticals and geographies.

Latin America Start-Up Challenge

Today Riverwood Capital in collaboration with Silicon Valley Bank and Qualcomm Ventures officially kicks off their Latin America Start-Up Challenge for businesses whose focus is in the mobile, web, cloud or big data space.

Two grand prize winners (one in web/cloud/data storage etc. will win a US $100,000 investment and one in mobile will win a US $100,000 investment with a chance to compete in the U.S.A. for another US $150,000).

The Latin America Mobile, Web & Cloud Start-Up Challenge is open to new and early stage high-growth potential technology startups that have raised less than $1,000,000 USD to date.

Multiple teams will have the opportunity to win cash, trips and a host of prizes.

Applications are open May 29 through August 15, 2012.

Start your application now or request AndesBeat Support


Some of the guest judges include Michael Copeland, Editor at Wired Magazine, Carlos Kokron, Managing Director, Qualcomm Ventures – LatAm and Oliver Alexander Flögel, Executive Secretary for Digital Development, Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, Chile.

Oliver Alexander Flögel, Executive Secretary for Digital Development, Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, Chile will be one of the guest judges for the Latin America Start-Up Challenge

While Riverwood Capital is a U.S. based company it has several international offices including São Paulo, Brazil. Their previous investments have included several companies in the region, including Globant, the Argentinian provider of outsourcing services and solutions, Alog data centers out of Brazil and Chilean IT solutions provider, Synapsis (acquired by Enersis in 2010).

Who’s behind the Latin America Start-Up Challenge?

The Latin America Mobile, Web & Cloud Start-Up Challenge is co-sponsored by Riverwood Capital, Qualcomm Ventures (sponsor of the $100,000 USD Mobile Challenge) and Silicon Valley Bank.

And the challenge was conceived by Bill Tai, a serial entrepreneur and avid kite-boarder who has taken 19 companies public; Francisco Alvarez Demalde, a founding partner of Riverwood Capital and an active technology investor in Latin America; and Veronica Serra, a partner at Pacific Investimentos and Board member of MercadoLibre. They were mutually inspired by the continuous growth and excitement they saw building in their experiences with Latin America’s technology and entrepreneurship scene.

The Impetus: Last year Brazil’s economy surpassed United Kingdom as the world’s sixth largest. Additionally, a robust economic and technological environment is setting the stage for the next wave of highly successful startups to originate from Latin America.

 Learn what types of things investor Bill Tai looks for in today’s tech startups…


What will the Grand Prize Winner Receive?

First, five finalists will be selected on October 4 to compete at the PuntaTech event to be held on January 7, 2013 at Punta Del Este, Uruguay. And then from those five finalists, one main winner will be chosen that will receive:


  • US$100,000 in angel investor funding
  • Media sponsorship in the U.S. and Latin America
  • Legal advice from Machado Meyer
  • 12 months of free e-mail, cloud server and e-mail marketing from Mandic
  • Data center hosting from ALOG for 2-years
  • Software development services from Globant
  • 2 years of remote SOC (Security operations center) services; checking and monitoring of the winner’s implementation (application) from Synapsis
  • 1 year of media promotions through Synapsis’ communications channels
  • All-expense paid trip to Silicon Valley to meet with entrepreneurs, VCs and corporates
  • Napa wine trip courtesy of Silicon Valley Bank



Punta Tech Meetup in Punta del Este, Uruguay (Jan 2012)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvw_QQPC8Hg [/youtube]

What is the Selection Criteria?


  • Your business plan targets the mobile, web, cloud or big data space
  • Your idea is innovative and disruptive
  • Your business plan is viable, has a monetization strategy, targets a large market, is scalable and has the potential to be a “billion dollar plus” idea
  • You have made some progress on the development of the application (at a minimum, you have a detailed set of design mock-ups)
  • Your idea will have some positive human impact or contribution towards social good
  • Your team members have a promising background
  • You have raised less than US$1,000,000 to date
  • Note: All applications must be submitted in English


One-on-One with Riverwood Capital Partners

After several strategy planning sessions, the partners and associates at Riverwood Capital generously extended a special invitation to AndesBeat to organize weekly one on one pre-evaluation sessions with select teams from the local Chilean start-up community to receive early stage feedback and evaluations.

Additionally, AndesBeat will be personally supporting local startups with the application submission process.

Please sign-up in our waiting list if you require assistance!

Ready to Apply Now?

Start your application at Latin America Start-Up Challenge  !!!

Buena suerte y éxito a todos!

  • I’m shocked! Gotta improve my english and get hands on!

    • @facebook-1231418408:disqus  Shocked about what??? That a powerhouse investment firm actually gives a darn about start-ups in Chile and Latin America?

      And we have been telling you guys this….for how long????

      • Right on, gurl! I’m surprised someone gives a flying F about chilean startups. Hope we are up for the challenge. Or at least me and my humble effort.

        Peace out!

        • @facebook-1231418408:disqus , Eduardo, Eduardo….you totally crack me up sometimes. Yes, Chile is definitely up for the challenge. And whatever areas you are lacking in, you can rest assured that your fearless leaders at AndesBeat will be CONFIDENTLY standing by your side and helping to ‘fill in the blank’. 

          •  OK, I’m a still developing the next great thing (I suppose). Any help needed will be immediately forwarded to you

  • Ricardo Sé Cestari

    Check below a piece of the Terms and Conditions of entry.
    Basically the angel investor may buy “whatever” % of the winning company for just $100K.
    For startups that have already 500K invested in for 10%, this completely destroys all the value for our first angel.
    I was really interested but cannot agree with this clause.

    “Funding: The winner will issue an angel round security to the angel investor group in exchange for funds received. The terms and structure of the financing will be based on customary seed around financing terms depending upon the winner’s country. The final terms and structure will be determined at the angel investors’ sole discretion. The winner will receive US$100,000 in funding”

    • @google-0d822e8ddda45cda45be0e2f856db1f4:disqus 

      Sorry to hear you are debating on entering the challenge. We (AndesBeat) have reached out to someone from their investment team to respond to your observation/concern. 

      Please standby for a response. Alternatively, you may write to us at hello (at) andesbeat (dot) com if you prefer that we personally/directly follow up with you on this matter once they have responded.

      • Ricardo Cestari

        Hi Shonika,
        Thanks a lot for your efforts to make this clearer for me.
        Sorry for responding a bit late, but somehow I didn’t receive a notification of your reply to my comment…

        I am really interested in the competition and will contact you at your email to better understand these terms.
        I am just a bit cautious because I do have the obligation to protect the investment of my first Angel.

        • Hola Ricardo,

          No worries, compadre. You’re most welcome and completely understand your concern. 

          Your email was forwarded to me. I have forwarded your request to the folks at Riverwood Capital and they have replied. So please check your email for their response and do not hesitate to let us know if you need additional support or something is still not clear to you.


          • Ricardo Cestari

            Hi Shonika.

            I have received their reply and I will be applying today.

    • For anyone with this concern (as mentioned in Ricardo’s post/comment above) here is what the representative from Riverwood Capital responded with:

      We left the terms undefined to accommodate for the wide range of applications we expect to receive.  For early stage start-ups, the terms of the investment would be in-line with normal practice for start-up funding in Latin America.  For start-ups that have received prior funding, the valuation would be at a level that is agreeable to the entrepreneur and prior investors.  After the application deadline on August 15, we will be contacting all applicants who may have a chance at becoming a finalist, at which time we can discuss further with them.  I hope this answers your question.  Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to ask anything else.  Thanks!