LatAm’s ‘Alibaba’: An Objective Analysis of Meru.com’s Venture

Sourcing and importing products from other countries may go horribly wrong, leaving firms in the position of not receiving what they paid for or even obtaining nothing. When Manuel Rodriguez Dao and Federico Moscato were sourcing goods for another firm, they encountered difficulties, including delays in receiving the things that had been promised.

They teamed up with Eduardo Mata, Virgile Fiszman, and Daniel Ferreyra to launch Meru in 2020 to aid small and medium businesses avoid the same fate. Today, the business revealed $15 million in Series A funding. The round was co-led by Valor Capital and EMLES Ventures and included personal investments from a group of entrepreneurs. To date, Meru has raised $17 million.

Meru’s platform enables local and international manufacturers to communicate with the rest of the supply chain using a simple procedure and no price disparities, initially connecting China and Mexico. It is currently working directly with quality-certified factories, according to Rodriguez Dao.

Small firms waste up to two days a week dealing with the conventional method, which usually includes up to five intermediaries and may take several hours. Furthermore, fraud occurs on average 80% of the time, according to Rodriguez Dao. Customers at Meru, on the other hand, can choose and purchase items in minutes with Meru’s warranty that they will receive those products and at the best market rates.

Meru was a part of Y Combinator’s winter batch in 2021, and the fresh cash will be used to help Meru become a one-stop shop for small businesses with the objective of becoming the Alibaba of Latin America, according to Rodriguez Dao.

“We began working remotely in China and learned that among global transactions, the same pain points are happening across emerging markets,” he added. “We want to make sourcing and procurement safe through technology-enabled distribution, similar to Alibaba, so we connect parties across the supply chain and get them access to discounted prices.”

Meru, which launched this past July, already has more than 10,000 registered users and operates in seven product categories. It also has fintech partners to assist with funding. Last August, when Meru began selling on its marketplace, it had six workers; today it employs 210 people in China and Mexico.

The firm will use the fresh cash to expand new verticals and categories, develop and scale its staff, and invest in technology development. It has been growing at least 40% month-on-month for the past year or more.

“Meru is building an integrated B2B marketplace that allows Latin American SMEs to acquire much more efficiently from Asia, all through a single point of contact,” said Antoine Colaço, managing partner of Valor Capital Group, in a written statement.

“By providing access to thousands of products, taking care of all logistics, billing and follow-up processes and incorporating financial solutions, Meru will help strengthen the links between the global supply chains of LatAm and Asia.”