Ualá founder raises US$30m for LatAm VC Fund

Pierpaolo Barbieri, the creator of Argentine fintech Ualá, is forming a venture capital business with a US$30 million investment from a group of investors that includes General Catalyst, Brevan Howard founder Alan Howard, and others.

Barbieri’s new firm, 17Sigma, will be focused on early-stage entrepreneurs in Latin America.

Former SoftBank executives Marcelo Claure and Paulo Passoni are among the company’s backers, as are Adam Neumann’s 166 2nd, MongoDB founder Kevin Ryan, Rappi co-founder Sebastián Mejia, Greenmantle LLC managing director Niall Ferguson, and former Key Square senior managing director Diego Dayenoff.

According to figures from the Association for Private Capital Investments in Latin America, 2021 was a record year for startup funding in Latin America, with nearly US$15 billion raised, resulting in the formation of 17 new companies valued at US$1bn or more.

Barbieri, 34, is the founder of one of the new unicorns, Ualá, a financial services business established in Buenos Aires that also has operations in Mexico and Colombia. In its most recent fundraising round, the company was valued at US$2.5 billion.

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