Why did the Colombian Merqueo leave Mexico?


The online supermarket of Colombian origin Marketing closed its operations in Mexico on June 8, after announcing just last April that its total sales during 2021 in the country grew 10 times. The company received $22 million in financing from IDB Invest in May.

The departure of the startup from mexican marketwhich arrived at the end of 2019, comes after several Latin American startups announced a reduction in personnel and some of the investment funds venture capital with more investments in the region, they recommended their portfolio companies to adopt a more conservative strategy.

Merqueo leaves Mexico at a time when investment in Venture Capital begins to decrease compared to previous years. The venture capital market in Mexico registered an added value of 1,405 million dollars so far this year, which represents a drop of 7.74% compared to the same period in 2021, according to data from the Transactional Track Record analysis platform ( TRT).

Conservative Venture Capital

For Denis Yris, director of the seed capital fund Wortev Capital, since the path of a startup, that is, a company with the need to accelerate its growth and scale its operation as quickly as possible, goes through a series of capital raisings until reaching profitability, when the flow of Venture Capital is reduced, startups begin to adjust their operation to face the environment.

“If we talk about the path being more conservative, the startups are going to adjust their operation and if it is not working, they are going to cut back on their operation,” says Yris in an interview.

According to the investor, what is happening to companies like Merqueo is part of a global phenomenon and no fund or startup will be able to escape it. The cryptocurrency exchange Bitso and the ecommerce platform Vtex announced two cuts in personnel while funds such as the Japanese Softbank or YCombinator warned their startups that they should tread carefully.

abnormal experience

In a letter sent to the founders of its portfolio companies, YCombinator warned that the safest move for startups is to plan for the worst, so they must cut costs and increase their runway, that is, the number of months that a company has before running out of liquidity.

“For those of you who started your company in the last five years, ask yourself what you consider a normal financing environment. Most likely, your capital raising experience was not normal and future raisings will be much more difficult,” YCombinator warns its entrepreneurs in the letter from him.

According to the fund, the poor performance in the public markets of technology companies significantly impacts investment in venture capital, since Venture Capital funds will have a much more difficult time raising capital and their investment partners will expect greater discipline to time to invest.

Brazil

Last April, during a tour with the press at his dark store in the industrial zone of Vallejo, the country manager of Merqueo in Mexico assured that the company expected to reach profitability of its operations in the country in the next two years. A month later, the company received a $22 million Series C funding round for part of IDB Invest and Blue Like an Orange “to expand to Brazil and improve its technological platform”.

For Denis Yris, the location of a startup is fundamental to the success of its business strategy, so it is likely that Merqueo has anticipated a financial problem in the near future and has decided to focus its efforts on maintaining the operation in Bogotá. , Colombia, and for its expansion in the Brazilian market.

The only ones who know the exact reason why Merqueo left Mexico are its executives and perhaps some of its workers. The Economist sought out Merqueo representatives in Mexico, but there was no immediate response to the request. However, the panorama of Venture Capital investment gives an idea of ​​the reason for this exit, although according to Yris, the flow of venture capital towards Latin America does not pause, it only slows down.

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