With the launch of CMPC's $100m venture fund last year, Chile's venture market is making further strides into maturity.
One of the most exciting up-and-coming venture ecosystems in Latin America is in Chile. In an already innovative and fast-growing business environment, corporate VCs are sprouting up left and right across the country, and funds are increasing in size. With the announced the launch of Chilean pulp and paper company CMPC’s $100m fund late last year, the ecosystem is strengthening.
I spoke to Bernardita Araya, who was brought in to head up the new unit in 2020, in the thick of lockdowns, and helped form the unit’s investment thesis from scratch. It has to date announced five investments from the fund.
She talks about how forestry tech can lead to breakthroughs in new materials for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and other industries. She also discusses why CMPC Ventures’ has expanded beyond direct investments to do venture building and venture clienting.
The discussion also touches on why the unit partners with universities and R&D centres, the benefits that have come from having offices in other geographies, most notably in the the Nordics, where a direct presence is critical to making real connections in what she describes as something of a closed ecosystem.