By Marcella McCarthy
While exports from Latin America to the U.S. have grown over the years, one obstacle that remains is that it typically takes 30 to 60 days for sellers to get paid. And many small businesses can’t afford that delay in cash flow.
That’s the problem that co-founders Jacob Shoihet (CEO) and Peter Spradling (COO) of Marco set out to solve.
Marco provides trade finance to small- and mid-size companies across Latin America, including Colombia, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico. Marco purchases the accounts receivables, which allows the seller to be paid immediately, and for its service, Marco charges 1.5% to 3% of the invoice.
“The biggest challenge that exporters have is securing financing while the buyer pays,” said Shoihet. He went on to explain that small businesses can’t easily access a loan from a bank, and even if they can, the loan takes a long time to process.
The Back Story
Spradling’s family is the largest exporter in Uruguay, so he has been very familiar with the business and the obstacles since he was a child. Shoihet, on the other hand, has always had the entrepreneurial bug but was looking for the perfect co-founder to build a company with. The two co-founders met while working together at Antler, a global, early-stage, VC firm.
Both co-founders now live in Miami.
This past April, Marco closed on a $1 million round, and just recently they secured a $25 million line of credit from Arcadia Funds, based in Massachusetts. This funding will help the company grow at a faster rate, as it will be able to offer more financing to its own customers.
At the moment, the company is projecting to finance over $5 million of account receivables through the end of year, but according to Shoihet, the goal is $80 million of financings by end of 2021.
Marco has built a proprietary backend that they use to process their transactions.
Marco is set to open offices in Uruguay, Chile, Peru, and some Central American countries. Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, is on the list, too.
The startup, currently a team of seven full-time employees, is hiring slowly now, but plans to ramp it up in the New Year.
Target Market: Exporters that have relationships with U.S. buyers and who have a $3 million - $15 million sales volume
Tagline: Power your exports with working capital that actually works
Biggest need from the Miami-tech community: We’d like to find a network of founders where we can share stories and learn from each other.
Photo at top of post: Jacob Shoihet (CEO), right, and Peter Spradling (COO), left, co-founders of Marco. Photos provided by Marco.