By Nancy Dahlberg
Focused on closing the trade finance gap for small exporters, Marco has funded thousands of invoices in 20 countries.
You could say Marco Financial, the Miami-based startup that built a financing platform for small and medium-sized exporters in Latin America, is on a roll.
The financial technology startup founded last year announced it has raised $82 million, led by Kayyak Ventures and Arcadia Funds. The round includes $7 million in equity and a $75 million expanded credit line, which is now $100 million.
"Driven by its purpose, culture, and world-class talent, we believe Marco is ready to revolutionize the massive but outdated trade finance market and help thousands of small LatAm exporters grow their businesses. We see immense potential for value creation in a space ready to be disrupted," said Cristóbal Silva, Partner at Kayyak Ventures, in a statement.
Co-founded by Jacob Shoihet and and Peter Spradling, Marco provides trade finance loans to small and mid-sized exporters, largely in Latin America, that typically are rejected by larger banks that don’t want to deal with smaller companies. Marco is tackling that massive trade finance gap, or the amount of requested trade finance that is rejected. In Latin America that gap is an estimated $350 billion. The inability for smaller exporters to access trade finance impedes their ability to enter new markets.
"One of our core missions is to simplify and accelerate cross-border trade and to show people the big power of small businesses," Shoihet, Marco's CEO, said in an interview with Refresh Miami on Monday. "Our goal has always been to get the money into the hands of the small businesses who need it."
Spradling, the startup's COO, explained that especially in Latin America, small exporters can't compete with larger exporters, because banks, which aren't built to serve the needs of smaller companies, often make SMEs wait around 90 days before rejecting over 50% of trade finance applications. He knows the business and the obstacles because Spradling’s family is one of the the largest exporters in Uruguay. Shoihet and Spradling met while working together at Antler, a global, early-stage, VC firm, and decided to start Marco.
Marco only started lending this year but is already processing millions of dollars every month in invoices across 20 countries, Shoihet said. "We're scaling dramatically."
The new funding will be used for product development. Marco will be offering a larger suite of pre-and post-shipment financing products, including in supply chain finance, asset based lending and inventory financing, Shoihet said. The new investment round follows a $26 million funding and credit round last September.
"We are especially focused on building infrastructure and technology so we can support and enable large non-financial companies in the trade space (such as large shipping companies or tech enabled freight forwarding solutions) to provide trade finance and push their financing products to their SME customers," Shoihet said. "So you can almost think of us as 'Affirm for trade finance.' That's the vision."
To support the growth, the Marco team has more than doubled in size in the last few weeks and is now 22, Shoihet said. About 15-16 of them are in Miami, working out of offices at the WeWork at Brickell City Centre. Recent hires include including Prajwal Manalwar as Chief Product Officer, who joined from PayPal, and Sabrina Teichman as Chief Growth Officer. Teichman most recently was Managing Director for the Western Hemisphere at the U.S. Government's development bank, the DFC.
Marco is hiring across the board, but is particularly hiring across the technical front: back-end, front-end and full-stack engineers, designers, data scientists and data engineers, Shoihet said.
"We are proud to be a very early mover to Miami," said Shoihet, who said the team relocated from New York to Miami in June 2020. "We are excited to continue to invest and grow our presence in Miami. We're really proud to be a part of the tech community here."
Additional investors in Marco's seed round and expanded credit facility include Florida Funders, Village Global VC, Arpegio.vc, Flexport Ventures, Tresalia Capital, 342 Capital, Struck Capital, Antler LLC, Antler Elevate and Fox Ventures.
This story has been updated. Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email her at email@example.com
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