June 18 of 2020

WIND Ventures Unveils Strategy to Provide Global Startups ‘Unfair’ Access to Latin America

San Francisco, California

Today, WIND Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Copec – a leading energy company throughout Latin America and the Southeast United States – unveiled its strategy to invest in global startups through its newly appointed investment team in San Francisco. Experienced venture professionals Sean Simpson and Bob Ma have joined Brian Walsh, head of WIND Ventures, to lead investments that help transform the energy, mobility and retail sectors. Founded in 2019, the firm will invest in start-ups and scale-ups across the world.

The unprecedented global pandemic has redefined companies’ priorities worldwide. Innovation will increasingly be the key in the new era in which the world still has several challenges to face, starting with climate change. Copec believes the time is right to start capturing innovation that can help accelerate the energy transition for a more resilient and sustainable economy.

By leveraging the experience and resources of Copec, as well as Walsh’s and the team’s outstanding leadership, the fund aims to provide global entrepreneurs ‘unfair’ access to the rapidly growing Latin America region, with an emphasis on Chile, where Copec is headquartered.

With double the population and urbanization equal to the United StatesLatin America is experiencing a cultural shift towards digitalization which the global health crisis is deepening and accelerating. The large, concentrated population has quickly become highly connected and prolific users of smartphones for social media (top consuming region in the world) but also for new conveniences, such as online-to-offline delivery, e-commerce, and banking services. Once the pandemic is over, the region will remain a significant growth market for large tech companies and global startups and scaleups, including Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, Coursera, and others. The region, especially Chile, is a leader in new energy, having one of the cleanest electric generation mixes and the second-largest fleet for electric buses in the world.

“With the addition of Sean Simpson and Bob Ma, WIND Ventures is bringing a distinct offering to the Silicon Valley and global innovation ecosystems as a professional venture capital team with strong connective tissue back to Latin America,” said Brian Walsh, head of WIND Ventures. “Today, there’s a real challenge for entrepreneurs to successfully capture the large opportunity from the region’s rapidly growing, highly connected, and mobile society. With our strong network and local teams that understand how to work well with young tech companies, we aim to be the ‘go-to’ trusted partner for global startups entering Latin America.”

WIND Ventures’ fund will evolve according to the opportunities that emerge in line with the dynamism of the global innovation ecosystem. The focus will be on Series A, B and C+ companies from across the globe where WIND Ventures will look to invest $1.0 million to $10.0 million for initial investments and remain supportive through follow-on financings.

Prior to the health crisis the fund invested in: Stem ($30 MM), a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI)-driven energy storage services for commercial and industrial customers; Ampere Energy ($2.5 MM),  a smart energy storage startup focused on the residential market out of Spain; and Cargo ($2.5 MM), a New York-based rideshare commerce platform. Stem and Ampere have also signed joint venture (JV) agreements with Copec to enter Chile and the Latin American market, demonstrating the benefits of the WIND innovation platform for startups ready to expand into the region.

“Innovation has always been fundamental to Copec throughout its 86-year history,” said Leonardo Ljubetic, Chief Corporate Development and Strategy Officer of Copec. “It is a force that drives us, our partners, and customers to new heights, opportunities and developments. Copec is recognized for its strong commitment to the region’s challenges as well as for its long-term vision. So, we are working hard to contribute during this emergency and, at the same time, strongly committed to building the future. WIND Ventures is the concrete manifestation of our vision, in which major global trends converge, such as digitalization, along with the decentralization and decarbonization of the energy matrix. Brian, Sean and Bob will certainly help achieve our goal which is no other than bringing Chile and the region towards a new era of sustainability.”

Brian Walsh has two decades of venture capital experience in the San Francisco Bay Area and, most recently, was at McKinsey & Company where he was a Senior Expert advising Fortune 500 clients on how corporations can best engage startups. Brian is joined by Sean Simpson, previously with GM Ventures, who brings extensive experience in the mobility space and as an entrepreneur. Rounding out the founding team is Bob Ma, previously with SOMA Capital who brings venture capital experience with a history of investing globally and in Latin America.

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