The two firms — Seaya is based in Spain, and Cathay in France — formally came together in April and have since opened an office in Mexico City, where they will manage the $125 million Seaya Cathay Latam Fund that will focus on Series A and B investments, with reserves for follow-on rounds.
Beatriz Gonzalez, founder and managing partner of Seaya Ventures, said the connection between Spain and Latin America remains strong — her firm was started in 2013 and its second investment in Mexico was in Sin Delantal, which was acquired by Just Eat a year later.
“At the time, Spanish companies in industries like banking and utilities were all expanding into Latin America,” she said in an interview. “There were not many funds when we started in 2013, and today, the market is competitive. You can’t just bring funding to the table, you have to have funding, network and support. That combination is powerful because it is needed now by the ecosystem.”
Leading the fund locally is Federico Gómez Romero, who previously led LatAm activities for seed fintech fund Accion Venture Lab. It targets consumer and enterprise companies developing technologies in areas like fintech, proptech, mobility, healthtech, food, agriculture and cybersecurity. The fund also incorporates Cathay’s corporate ecosystem as investors and strategic partners.
The team’s first investment was made in September when it went in on Chilean fintech Xepelin’s $230 million round. As solo firms, both have been active in the region making other investments in Mexico’s Kueski and Lana, Brazil’s Facily and alt.bank, and Colombia’s RobinFood and Chile’s Fracttal.
The Seaya Cathay Latam Fund will invest in 12 to 15 companies and will write check sizes of between $5 million and $10 million, Jacky Abitbol, managing partner of Cathay Innovation, said. Having already worked together on other investments, he said it made sense for his firm and Seaya to come together.
“Our intentions are to be a global player, and we saw opportunities to be part of the local ecosystem,” he said. “We share a lot of values and the same way of thinking, so we decided to partner to support bigger tickets and put to work a platform we built with an initial investment to support founders.”