Mercado Bitcoin was valued at more than $2 billion after raising $200 million from Softbank’s Latin America Fund in a Series B round. The capital raise puts the Brazil-based cryptocurrency exchange in elite category as it now the eighth-most valuable unicorn in all of Latin America.
Speaking to Invezz on Monday in an interview, Mercado Bitcoin Director Fabricio Tota said that Softbank’s involvement will help the company ”leverage our vision” of building the digital economy of the future.
Softbank provides more than just cash
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Japan-based SoftBank has participated in several notable global investments in recent years, including from South Korea’s Coupang and Sweden’s Klarna. The investment firm reported in May its Vision Fund earned a unit profit of 4.03 trillion yen (£26.82 billion) which was more than Berkshire Hathaway earned last year.
As such, SoftBank’s interest in a Latin American cryptocurrency broker can be seen as a vote of confidence.
Tota said SoftBank will also bring “a lot more to the table” than just fresh capital. SoftBank has the reach to connect Mercado Bitcoin with “virtually any company” in Brazil or across the world that can help it execute on its vision and growth strategy.
Use of proceeds: defend and expand market share
Mercado Bitcoin now has more resources to defend its dominant market share in its home region. Competitors like Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ: COIN) and privately-owned Kraken are welcome to “play the game” and a healthy competitive environment is always a positive for the industry. Tota said:
We want to protect our position and even expand to compete with [Coinbase and Kraken]. There’s no problem competing as long as everyone respects the laws and regulations here in Brazil.
Mercado Bitcoin is also looking to expand its reach across Latin America, the executive said. The company has been working towards this goal prior to the capital raise but now it can “speed up the expansion.”
Mercado Bitcoin will look to acquire companies that have a strong presence in a foreign market but management isn’t going to shy away and “start from scratch” in other countries.
The company’s large capital raise brings it one step closer towards an eventual initial public offering — but management has no immediate plans to list its shares on a stock exchange. Tota said:
We believe that right now we need to do our homework and use the money and use the connections to go further.
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