Venture capital in Chile
Market powerhouse Carey developed a specific venture capital (VC) practice group since 2012, and today houses a 17-strong specialist department, including three partners. The practice group has extensive experience in advising both domestic and international VC funds on their formation, with the establishment of effective structures to meet the needs of both investors and organisations that provide financial resources, and with purchases and sales. It also supports start-ups from their initial stages through to internationalisation or sale. Director and vice president of the Chilean Venture Capital Association, Francisco Guzmán, who is admitted to practice in both Chile and New York, led over 20 venture capital transactions during 2019. Also key to the group are experienced partners Guillermo Carey and Cristián Eyzaguirre.
‘It is a very co-ordinated team. Although they work individually, they always keep the rest of the team informed in such a way that when speaking with any of them they are aware of what is being discussed. In the interactions I have had with other firms, the Carey team compares very favourably due to its proactivity and interest in delving into each aspect of an assignment.‘
‘Given that venture capital is a way of making investments that has been developing for a short time in Chile, it is crucial to have legal advisers who have knowledge of how it works, what are the best practices globally, how they are applied to the Chilean reality, among other factors. The Carey team has extensive knowledge of each of the aspects involved in a venture capital investment and in turn how each of these affects both investors and founders or other shareholders of the companies where they are located. Based on our experience, Carey stands above the teams of other firms, which, although they have knowledge of the industry, do not present the same level of command and experience.‘
‘Francisco Guzmán has in-depth knowledge of venture capital issues and has excellent contacts with the venture capital world. More than being an expert lawyer, he becomes a counsellor on growth, corporate structures inside and outside Chile, and IP. In short, he is 100% involved in all aspects of a mandate.‘
Chilean Venture Capital Association
Advanced Innovation Center AIC Chile
Fundación Ciencia y Vida
Americas Car Group
- Advised New Zealand-based biotechnology company Science Haven with the structuring and implementation of a financing round, implemented via convertible notes issued in Chile and New Zealand.
- Acted for Frontier Car Group, and its founders Ricardo Donoso and Ignacio Detmer, on a $400m investment by OLX Group in the company.
- Advised Antoni Lelo de Larrea Venture Partners, a Mexican VC fund, on its investment in Chile-based Fintual, an online financial adviser and broker-dealer.
- Advised Aurus Ventures III on its investment in Chilean company TI Mining, which develops software for the management and optimisation of large mining operations.
- Advised Chilean start-up Inti Tech, which has developed an autonomous robotic system for dry cleaning photovoltaic power plants, on a round of financing-via-capital by investors Engie Factory, Alaya Capital Partners and Albi Investments.
Full-service legal practice Barros & Errázuriz is highly rated for its expertise in corporate, M&A and financing matters, along with significant knowledge of the VC ecosystem and latest legal trends. The four-strong VC group, which includes two partners, advises national and international start-ups and investors on the planning and development of businesses and projects, as well as the growth and finance of companies, and subsequent exit phases. It advises clients from several industry sectors, such as AI and technology, food and beverage, retail, fintech, and media and entertainment. Sergio Eguiguren leads the practice, and Luis Alberto Letelier is highly active in major transactions involving the investment funds sector. Strong support is provided by senior associate Lucas Marinovic, who is experienced in assisting entrepreneurs with starting up and growing their businesses; and associate Juan Sebastián Alonso, who acts for local and international entrepreneurs and investors.
Compañía de Seguros de Vida Consorcio Nacional de Seguros
Inversiones y Asesorías As de Guía
- Advised Compañía de Seguros de Vida Consorcio Nacional de Seguros on a corporate VC investment in Fintech company, PagoFácil.
- Advised Fanatiz, a sports channel and video-on-demand streaming platform, on its Series A equity financing with 777 Partners, a Miami-based private investment firm.
- Advised Zippedi, a Chilean technology and robotics company, on a growth convertible notes financing round with several VC funds and high-net-worth individuals.
DLA Piper Chile's predecessor -the former Bahamondez, Alvarez & Zegers- established a specialised VC practice group back in 2008, upon which the international firm has built and grown. Today it is regularly involved in landmark transactions, and has particular technology sector expertise. The team's work includes assisting entrepreneurs with corporate restructuring for financing rounds (including the internationalisation of holding companies), and with the negotiation of financing rounds and exits. It is also experienced in advising investment funds through specialised, start-up-related due diligence work and investment document negotiations. Matías Zegers assists clients ranging from start-ups and fast growing, mid-market businesses to global companies. Key support is provided by senior associate Jorge Timmermann and associate Eduardo Araya. Since publication, Timmermann has been raised to the partnership (effective as of December 2020).
‘What caught our attention is the simplicity when dealing with problems that could be complex, thus facilitating the processing of issues and the efficiency of the office. Likewise, whenever we needed speed in legal terms, DLA were always very efficient and quick in their dealings. That is only possible because its features put DLA Piper in a different position compared to other law firms.‘
‘These are lawyers who know the industry and work hard to move businesses forward as efficiently as possible.‘
‘A professional, attentive, proactive and very capable team.‘
‘High availability and industry knowledge.‘
‘The collaboration with different parts of the law firm works very well.‘
‘Matías Zegers is without a doubt one of the best partners with whom I can work. Knowledge of technology and details of the company are essential, so as to be efficient and fast in solving problems in Chile.‘
‘Matías Zegers is the most experienced person you can find in Chile to advise on the legal aspects of capital raising processes with venture capital funds. He understands not only the structural processes for Chile, but is also prepared for the future.‘
‘Matías Zegers provides speed and on-the-spot advice.‘
Portola Growth Partners
- Advises Devlabs on the legal aspects surrounding the administration and operation of Administradora Devlabs Ventures, and its private equity fund FIP Chile Outlier Seed Fund I.
- Assisted Fen Ventures, as lead investor, with six Series A investment rounds in Chilean start-up companies.
- Advised Odd Industries on a Series A financing round.
Guerrero Olivos has enjoyed significant involvement in the venture capital market for over a decade. The six-strong department advises local and foreign VC investors, start-ups, corporate funds and incubators on the legal structuring of funds and investment vehicles, including corporate venture funds. Other typical work includes assisting with financing rounds, tax structures, future investment rounds, internationalisation procedures, stock option plans, and the registration and protection of IP. In addition, the practice acts on contracts with technological components, such as licensing, distribution, partnership, data protection and cybersecurity issues. Practice head Pedro Lyon has a particular specialisation in the structuring of private investment funds. However, since publication, it has become public that young partner Josefina Yávar, also active in the sector, will leave the firm as of 31st December 2020.
‘A super team with professionalism and creativity to solve problems that left us amazed.‘
‘These are people with a highly admirable track record.‘
‘We had not had experience working with legal teams in this area. Even so, the experience with Guerrero was very good, the solutions proposed for our cap-table problems were very adequate and effective. I think they have great expertise on the realities of companies in the startup phase.’
‘We work with Don Pedro Lyon, Martín Cox, Matías Dittborn and Josefina Yavar. They all showed speed, professionalism and their proposals were guiding and effective.‘
Chile Global Ventures
- Advised Wayra, a global technological innovation hub, on its investment in Collektia, which develops digital collection methods.
- Daily advisory to Maneki Group, a start-up that has developed a survey app based on cash rewards.
- Advised a VC fund on an investment in a start-up which develops hardware-software technology.
The venture capital sphere is a sector that Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos has developed relatively recently, leveraging off its expertise in related legal areas, such as new technologies, IP, data privacy, and corporate and finance law. Seeking to assist clients from idea-inception through to the generation of successful ventures, the practice advises entrepreneurs and emerging private companies on each growth stage, corporate governance, and long-term service agreements. Rodrigo Lavados heads the firm’s IP, technology, privacy, start-up and VC teams, which include experienced associate Ernesto Eckholt.
- Advised Datamart on a funding round, which included its complete restructuring, corporate governance updating and the issuing of new stock.
CMS Carey & Allende's three-strong team is experienced in advising the IT start-up industry on crowdfunding and regulatory issues. In October 2019, the firm, together with other CMS' other regional offices, launched a first-of-its-kind global legal accelerator programme, equIP, which is designed to nurture the development of tech start-ups across the region (and beyond). As part of the programme, the firm provides start-ups with access to investors, exclusive training and mentoring opportunities, and an active peer network. Diego Rodríguez's practice focuses primarily on the IT sector.
‘Very good team. They know about financial technology and add value to the Association.‘
‘Future vision. They do not stay with the norm, but propose interesting things to make the fintech ecosystem evolve.‘
- Advised Fintechile, an association that represents fin-tech start-ups, on negotiations before the regulators and in relation to a new legal framework to regulate and promote the development of Chile’s fin-tech sector.
Founded in 2005 in Concepción, Flores y Asociados established its presence in Santiago in 2007. The practice acts primarily for start-ups that receive early seed funding from public subsidies, predominantly the country's Production Development Corporation (CORFO), and are part of key business incubators and accelerators in Chile, such as Start-up Chile and Imagine Lab Chile. The practice also assists entrepreneurs, inventors, companies, and research and development centres with their legal requirements. Pablo Acevedo Álvarez is a founding partner and director of the Santiago office, where he is the key partner for VC-related deals.
Other key lawyers:
‘The communication of the teams was optimal as well as the transparency in terms of what was related to the client. A go-to firm for the issues associated with venture capital managers.‘
‘Highly rated for its availability and willingness to meet clients’ requirements, technical capacity, and supportive resolution of problems.‘
‘The team has full knowledge of the venture capital space, both in Chile and outside of Chile. They have responded to the strictest demands we have placed on them.‘
‘The firm’s service felt tailor-made to our needs and also to our budget. We expect to continue to collaborate in the following years, with them as our main firm.‘
‘They specialise in technological small-to-medium companies, entrepreneurship, international business, and growth, and they have been able to attend to all our concerns, and even refer us to other international firms when specific overseas guidance has been needed. One aspect that stands out is that they not only do what we ask them to do, but also give guidance and strategic advice on all points, which has been of tremendous help when we have come across topics that are new to our firm.‘
‘Flores y Asociados, through Pablo Acevedo Álvarez, does a very professional job. He is very good, and appreciated for his honesty, knowledge, transparency and kindness with clients and counterparts. He is not an aggressive lawyer.‘
‘Our direct contact has been with one of the partners, Pablo Acevedo Álvarez, whose vast knowledge of diverse fields, such as IP, entrepreneurship, technology, corporate law, commercial partnerships, and human resources were very useful to us, since our main concerns were spread among different areas.‘
Pegas con Sentido
Urban Dynamics Consultores
- Acted for Mudango, a Chilean start-up and technological online moving platform, regarding the raising and securing of a first round of financing.