Miguel Torres is an Ecuadorian entrepreneur who knew he wanted to start businesses when he saw needs that were unmet. After starting his entrepreneurial career in the food and drink industry and building the business to a successful exit, Miguel built out a daily deal site in Ecuador and other countries in Latin America.
The daily deals business morphed into Escapes With You, a travel and experience daily deals business, where he ended up in the Start-Up Chile program. After building the business, he realized that he was shipping items to guests from the travel experience business and decided to build a new business to solve the last mile problem he was experiencing himself.
Shippify is a shipping and logistics API that allows easy integration of delivery services into any E-commerce store and mobile app by adding a few lines of code.
Miguel hopped on a plane to Brazil without knowing any Portuguese and built the business ever since, expanding across the region and raising money from investors in Latin America, the US and the Middle East.
YaEsta was one of the first sites to pioneer the Ecuadorian e-commerce market in 2012. When Alejandro Freund returned to his native Ecuador after studying in Argentina, Italy, and the US, he was shocked to see that there was virtually no way to purchase goods online. Freund had grown used to buying many commodities online while abroad from sites like MercadoLibre in Argentina. So, with funding from Kruger Labs, Freund and his co-founder, Martin Jara, decided to help grow the Ecuadorian e-commerce market from scratch and started what would become YaEsta.
If the most significant challenge to e-commerce in Ecuador today is convincing customers to buy online, one can only imagine what YaEsta faced six years ago. Freund and Jara originally built a site similar to Groupon, but eventually moved on to selling home goods, apparel, and appliances at a discount. At the time, YaEsta was called Revolucionatuprecio.com and mostly helped small producers sell their products online and reach a wider audience.
Fast forward to today, YaEsta now has a team of 25 people in Quito and is generating over US$3M in sales each year. Having raised a US$3M Series A round last year, YaEsta is taking on a strong position in the Ecuadorian e-commerce market. If you want to learn more about YaEsta, you can listen to my interview with Alejandro Freund on the Crossing Borders podcast.
Ecuador is a geographically small, Andean country rich in history and home to 16.1 million people, which makes it nearly the same size as Chile by population. The capital city, Quito, is officially recognized as a world heritage site by the United Nations. In recent years, Ecuador has transformed into a much more stable place to do business with one of the best performing economies in Latin America.
With relatively easy access to the US, many companies are coming to Ecuador to take advantage of its excellent trade routes, sometimes friendly trade agreements, and dynamic workforce. The minimum wage raised to $375 USD this year, ranking as one of the highest in South America. Ecuador’s close proximity to bordering countries, Colombia and Peru, make it a prime location for trade and a source for cheaper materials. (more…)
Many people who do business in the United States don’t realize that there are burgeoning and viable markets in Latin America. After being educated outside the country, my guest, Alejandro Freund saw that his homeland of Ecuador was ripe to become the hub for a leading ecommerce company in Latin America.
This conversation with Alejandro is a look into the start of a Latin American ecommerce company from zero, including how Alejandro and his partner raised capital, what they did to find products to sell through their ecommerce platform, the tech challenges, beating local competition, the governmental regulations, and more. Anyone who’s interested in ecommerce will learn a lot from his ground-up journey.