Contxto – Startup Elenas just raised a seed round worth US$2 million to bring empowerment, ownership, and a better quality of life to women in Colombia.
The investors in this round were Alpha4 Ventures, Amador Holdings, Polymath Ventures, and Meesho. They’ll use the investment to continue expanding through their native Colombia and the upcoming years through Mexico, Peru, and Brazil.
From door-to-door to e-commerce
In short, Elenas is an e-commerce targeted at door-to-door saleswomen. The startup’s CEO, Zach Oschin, explained how 11 million women sell products or items via direct sales. He also explained how for many women, it is the only way to earn some extra income. The industry in Latin America is valued at over US$26 billion.
“There is a 30 percent wage gap between men and women, and a lot of women stay home with the children.” Zach Oschin, CEO of Elenas.
To solve this issue, the startup developed a solution where women are turned into “ambassadors” enabled to continue selling through social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Whatsapp with a mirrored scheme from catalog sales.
The ambassadors can distribute and connect the buyers with the existing products in the e-commerce platform and earn a commission per sale. Therefore, the opportunities for the ambassadors are not limited to a range of products from one brand.
From entrepreneurs to ambassadors
While Elenas is just raising its seed round, the company already has a staff of approximately 200 manufacturers. Moreover, it already has around 10,000 ambassadors who have access to over 11,000 products across ten categories.
While this is just on the ambassadors’ end, the startup claims to have more than 20,000 entrepreneurs selling their products through their platform.
“Our entrepreneurs can sell digitally for the first time and to a wider audience, often earning three times more than through catalog sales,” said Oschin.
And that is without taking into account the current boost e-commerce is getting thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On that note, we just interviewed the CEO and Founder of Tiendanube, Santiago Sosa, on our beautiful podcast En Contxto.
He was pretty clear about where the e-commerce industry stands today; the massive difference in the market’s maturity from 10 years ago; and where we’ll possibly be in the future. If you are into e-commerce, you should’ve already listened to it. If not, let me make it easier for you: