Pandas wants to give Latin American companies purchasing power in Asia –

Accessing global supply chains can be difficult for small businesses in Latin America, but companies like Meru, which raised funding to buy and import goods between Mexico and China in March, and now more recently pandasuse foreign relations and technology to make this easier.

In Pandas’ case, the company is doing something similar to Meru, but starting in Colombia, connecting small businesses directly with Asian manufacturers so they can reduce the high fees often imposed by half a dozen importers and middlemen, as well as logistical issues. All companies are currently facing a stock that now takes many more months to arrive than in pre-pandemic times.

Co-founders Rio Xin and Marcos Esterli started Pandas just three months ago to provide inventory of Asian origin to micro-enterprises in Latin America. Their collective backgrounds include careers at McKinsey and Treinta for Esterli, and McKinsey, having spent more than seven years in China, for Xin, where he told that he had developed a strong network in the region.

“The main problem we’ve seen is people who don’t understand the Chinese language or how Chinese manufacturers work and then you add the logistical issues,” Xin added. “We are able to bridge the gap, while at the same time having our team in China to solve all these logistical problems.”

Panda's B2B Marketplace

Panda’s B2B marketplace. Image Credits: pandas

Here’s how it works: Companies order products through the Pandas marketplace, at lower prices, where the company can make purchases with a few clicks. Pandas takes over from there and offers one day delivery and customer support.

Esterli explained that people in Latin America use smartphones for their personal finances and other tasks, but that hasn’t translated so quickly to the business side.

“Many customers told us that Alibaba was something they wanted to use, but it was very complicated to figure out,” he added. “We wanted to build a simple solution that was super intuitive because entrepreneurs don’t have that time to spend.”

Initially it will provide basic electronics products – think headphones, accessories and cables – and with a new funding round, $5.8 million pre-seed, Pandas will move into categories such as textiles and home accessories. The company touts the pre-seed investment as “the largest pre-seed financial in Hispanic LatAm to date.”

Third Kind Venture Capital led the round and was joined by Acequia Capital, Picus Capital, Tekton Ventures, Partech, Liquid2 Ventures, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Gaingels and a host of individual investors including Juan Carlos Narvaez of Tul, Jose Jair Bonilla of Chiper, Trainta’s Man Hei and Lluís Cañadell, Pablo Viguera of Belvo, Nowports’ Alfonso de los Rios, Sujay Tyle of Merama and Gonzalo Manrique of Ironhack.

So far in its fledgling journey, the company is growing 100% month after month and has built a supplier network of about 300 out of 5,000 in China, Xin said.

In addition to moving to those new inventory categories, the new capital will enable Pandas to scale up its operations, technology and product development and hire new people.

Xin expects to be in most of the major markets in Latin America in the next three years. Meanwhile, new features are coming in the pipeline over the next 12 months, including a range of fintech and analytics tools such as financing.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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