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.
Latin America is the world’s second fastest-growing market for mobile subscribers, after Sub-Saharan Africa. In a region of approximately 640 million people, there are already 415 million mobile phone users, over half of which (more than 200 million) are smartphone users. By 2020, predictions say that 63% of Latin America’s population will have access to the mobile Internet.
This news is crucial for both large global mobile providers and local tech companies. Latin America has proven to be extremely adaptable, adopting new technologies quickly and leapfrogging over older systems, such as landlines, entirely.
Brazil and Mexico already rank 3rd and 5th in the world for the most Facebook subscribers. In the Dominican Republic and Bolivia, mobile app usage is growing at 116% and 155%, respectively. As a whole, Latin America’s immense mobile growth presents a huge opportunity for businesses targeting the mobile market.
Why is Latin America experiencing so much mobile growth?
In 2015, Wharton published an article pegging Latin America as “the next big mobile battleground,” back when only 32% of Latin Americans had a smartphone. That article predicted that up to 50% of the region would be accessing the Internet via mobile devices by 2020. However, it is only 2018, and already more than 50% of Latin America’s mobile users are using smartphones to access the Internet. (more…)