September 24, 2013, 6:01 PM

Brazilian web retailer Dafiti gets $70 million from Canadian teachers

An Ontario pension plan invests in the web-only apparel merchant.

Lead Photo

Dafiti Group, a Brazilian e-retailer, got a gold star of sorts last week when the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan announced it had invested $70 million in the shoe and apparel merchant.

“Supported by a growing middle class, huge consumption potential and significant growth in online and mobile access, Dafiti is well-positioned to succeed in online retail in Brazil and Latin America,” says Wayne Kozun, senior vice president, public equities, at the pension plan.

Since its launch two years ago, the Dafiti Group says it has received $255 million in funding. The company’s initial $50 million in funding was provided by Rocket Internet, a Berlin-based investment company that specializes in online retailing, and another $45 million came from JP Morgan Chase & Co. in New York.

Late last year Dafiti received $32 million from Quadrant Capital Advisors, a Fairfield, NJ, investment banking firm, and additional undisclosed amounts from Summit Partners, based near Boston, and Stockholm-based AB Kinnevik. And earlier this year the company received $10 million from Mexico’s Leon Group, a consortium represented by the owners of the country’s largest shoe brands, says Dafiti, No. 31 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Latin America 400.

“This funding endorses the investors’ trust in the potential of Brazilian fashion online retail and, consequently, in Dafiti as the leader of this segment in Latin America with our operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico,” says Dafiti co-founder Philipp Povel. “We will use this money to strengthen our customer service and our product assortment.”

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is an independent organization that invests the pension fund’s assets and administers the pensions of 303,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario, Canada. The organization had $129.5 billion in net assets as of December 31, 2012, it says.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan also has invested in Jingdong Century Trading Co., a Beijing-based web-only mass merchant that operates JD.com. Earlier this month the pension plan opened a subsidiary organization, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Asia) Ltd., in Hong Kong. Jingdong is No. 3 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Asia 500.

“The official opening of the Hong Kong office is an exciting and important milestone for Teachers’, reflecting the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to our future growth. We are here because we believe there are strong benefits to being closer to current and future partners,” says president and CEO Jim Leech.

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