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Sequoia Capital hits Latin America 40 years later, with Scanntech US$10M investment

Editor’s note: The official press release was reported on December 7, 2011. 

This may seem like ‘old’ news, however, since we’re continuously hunting uncovered news about Latin America startup scene that haven’t received coverage in the English markets, we decided to publish this information regardless.

Back in 2011, Raul Polakof (Scanntech CEO) discussed the challenges and opportunities of building a business in a small market and how his company survived a financial crisis and the brink of bankruptcy. 9 months later, Scanntech, a Uruguayan based company that provides a platform for small business, received US$10M invesment from Sequoia Capital. The funding are for growing purposes and will help to strengthten Scanntech expansion in the region.

This is the first time that Sequoia Capital makes an investment in Latin America. Sequoia is one of the top vc fundings of the world (they raised 1,35 billion last year to fund new startups), and they are known by leading investments in companies that are developing new technologies and have high-growth potential such as AppleGoogleLinkedinPaypalOracle, Cisco and Yahoo! (check their Internet portfolio).

Founding Partner, Don Valentine likes to target big markets and as he said in Oct 5, 2010:

…..few entrepreneurs he invested in have made it thru Stanford’s graduate school of business. 

Why does Sequoia Capital have such a good reputation ?

Because they have invested in companies that represent 19% of the entire value of the NASDAQ – says Keith Rabois

Official press release below

Montevideo, Uruguay – December 7, 2011 – Scanntech, a Uruguayan company that provides a technology platform solutions for retailers, has received an investment of U.S. $ 10 million from Sequoia Capital U.S. The growth capital funds are designated for strengthening and expanding Scanntech in the region.

Scanntech’s investment is the first company this fund has invested in Latin America. Sequoia is a leading venture capital fund in the world, recognized by investing in companies with potential to be leaders in the world of new technologies. Its projects include Apple, Google, Oracle, Cisco and Yahoo!

Scanntech allows small and medium retailers access to area promotions with suppliers and provide services to their customers, who otherwise would only be accessible through supermarkets. In turn, customers can access the services of telephone companies, financial and banking, among others, in the place and time of their choice.

Scanntech’s customers include Unilever, Coca Cola, Kraft, Danone, Inbev, Bimbo, Antel, Movistar, Claro, BROU and Scotiabank. On a monthly basis Scanntech processes over 20 million tickets that are generated in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

Scanntech has given a new pace of innovation with the recent launch of an inexpensive device that allows to bring the advantages of this platform and network independent trade all kinds, regardless of size or category that is specifically designed for retailers that do more profitable business. Additionaly it meets the standards of U.S. PCI ensuring the safety of the main payment alternatives in the world.

Through Scanntech the retailer has full control of their sales, purchasing and inventory, knowing how much they earn and should sell while providing new services to increase their income.

Benny Szylkowski, Scanntech co-founder, said:

“We can not have a better business partner than Sequoia. We are excited about this new phase and Sequoia support help us us to grow faster. Scanntech’s history is the result of its entrepreneurial spirit, a spectacular team and the continued support we received from many individuals and organizations such as Endeavor. Sequoia’s investment is a demonstration of how innovation depends on people rather than geography.”

David Velez, a partner at Sequoia and new member of the Board of Scanntech, said:

“Scanntech has developed an innovative technology platform that solves major problems that retailers and consumer product companies are suffering throughout Latin America. We are very excited to help the whole team at Scanntech in strengthening their service offerings and expand them into new geographies. “

About Scanntech

Founded in Uruguay in 1991, Scanntech has developed innovative solutions for retail, integrating with business and consumer services. Scanntech systems have shown to increase the profitability of businesses by eliminating traditional barriers that seemed insurmountable. The possibility of having this technology has provided citizens with access to multiple services and promotions in their neighborhood. Scanntech employs over 170 people in operations in Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Uruguayan entrepreneurs retain control of the company to which minority shareholders have joined such as Austral Capital (Chilean investment fund) and Sequoia Capital. For more information visit:

About Sequoia Capital

Founded in 1972, Sequoia Capital provides venture capital funding from the creators of new businesses in the areas of energy, financial services, healthcare, internet, mobile services and technology outsourcing. Sequoia has worked with founders through the growth stage and in the public life of their businesses, as well as expansion into new markets, evaluating potential acquisitions and in preparation for public offerings. The Fund has supported innovators such as Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Sandy Lerner and Len Bozack of Cisco Systems, Jerry Yang and David Filo of Yahoo!, Jen-Hsun Huang of NVIDIA and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google. For more information visit: