SoftBank Group Corp. is close to making a US$1-billion investment in Latin American delivery app Rappi, according to people familiar with the matter.
The investment is likely to be led by the Japanese company’s newly formed Innovation Fund, which was launched by SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure to focus on technology investments in Latin America, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. It’s expected to invest alongside the conglomerate’s Vision Fund, the people said.
A deal could be announced as soon as this week, the people said. It would be SoftBank’s largest investment in Latin America, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Representatives for SoftBank and Rappi declined to comment.
Colombian startup Rappi was valued at more than US$1 billion in its last fundraising round in September, in which it raised US$220 million led by DST Global. It wasn’t immediately clear how much the company would be valued at after the SoftBank investment.
Rappi was founded in 2015 by three friends as a restaurant-delivery business in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá. It has since spread across Latin America, employing armies of bike-riding couriers wearing bright-orange cube backpacks who deliver everything from grocery orders to diapers. Last month it teamed up with French bio-pharmaceutical giant Sanofi to offer health-care services in Latin America.
The company expanded into Peru, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay last year and was active in 35 cities as of the end of 2018. Its deliveries, taken to doorsteps by about 50,000 couriers, expanded by 20 percent monthly last year, according to a year-end statement.