Japan's SoftBank invests $1 billion in delivery app Rappi

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Japan’s SoftBank will invest $1 billion in Colombian delivery app Rappi, marking the first move by its newly created Innovation Fund for Latin America, according to a statement on Tuesday, confirming earlier media reports.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

In a statement, Rappi said the proceeds will be used to enhance the company’s presence in existing markets and to enter new ones. New products and services are also likely to be created, Rappi said, without providing further details.

At first, SoftBank Group Corp and another SoftBank global investment vehicle, Vision Fund, will split the investment evenly. In a second move the Latin America-focused fund is expected to be offered SoftBank Group’s investment.

Rappi did not disclose the stake SoftBank will hold.

In March, SoftBank launched a $5 billion fund to invest in tech firms in Latin America.

“In less than four years Rappi has become one of the fastest growing start-ups in Latin America. This rapid growth demonstrates the immense opportunity in the Latin American region,” Marcelo Claure, SoftBank Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive of SoftBank Group International and CEO

of the Innovation Fund said in the statement.

SoftBank will appoint Jeffrey Housenbold, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, to Rappi’s board of directors, according to the agreement.

Rappi’s investors already included DST Global, Delivery Hero, Sequoia Capital, Andreesen Horowitz and Y Combinator. It was valued at $1 billion in its latest funding round in September, backed by DST Global.

Founded in 2015, Rappi operates in Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, besides Brazil.

SoftBank also announced on Tuesday it will invest in early-stage companies jointly with Colombia’s government.

(This story corrects last paragraph to remove reference to similar funds in South Korea and Mexico).

Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Chizu Nomiyama