Sequoia Capital tops the Investor Leaderboard for most investments made worldwide, dominating the venture scene in North America as well as in Asia and ranking 3rd for most exits of all time.

But the Silicon Valley veteran has yet to venture into South America – aside from a couple of lone investments in Uruguay’s Scanntech in 2011 and Argentina’s Despegar in 2012 – until today.

Sequoia’s Series A round for Nubank, a financial services startup based in São Paulo, marks its first investment in Brazil and possibly a second pass at laying the groundwork for a South American empire.

First pick Nubank was not chosen at random – this was a calculated move. Nubank founder David Velez was formerly the Sequoia partner selected back in 2012 to head up a regional office in São Paulo to tap into the growing Brazilian economy, a plan that shortly disintegrated a year later.

Nubank co-investor Kaszek Ventures, a prominent Buenos Aires-based VC that tops the charts for South American venture deals, has also worked with Sequoia before. While Kaszek has never previously invested alongside Sequoia, Sequoia’s Heritage fund invested in Kaszek’s initial seed fund back in 2011.

If Sequoia continues to invest in the region, it is safe to assume that this won’t be their only shared investment for long.

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Photo via Flickr user Adrien Sifre

  • Originally published September 25, 2014, updated April 26, 2023