One year after its creation, the e-commerce brand incubator Riogrande has raised a seed round for US$12 million. The round was led by Y Combinator and Wollef.

Angel investors Arielle Zuckerberg of Coatue, Matteo Franceschetti of EightSleep, Michael Ma of Liquid2, Simon Borrero of Rappi, Justin Mateen of JAM & Tinder and Ullas Naik of Streamlined also participated in the round.

The company was born in Mexico with Tono Mandly, Ivan Amelong and Fade Naides at the helm (all three former Grin Mobility employees). They started it with the goal of building the next generation of online brands in Latin America. It focuses on three categories: Home, Kitchen and Beauty.

Riogrande comes at an explosive time for e-commerce in Latin America. The region currently has a market value of US$100 billion, according to Morgan Stanley. 

Latin America is also experiencing “hyper-growth” in e-commerce, according to Ebanx’s Beyond Borders (2021-2022) study, which states that this market will be growing 31% annually until 2025. 

This growth will not only permeate Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, which account for 70% of the market. It will also reach countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Guatemala, where growth rates of up to 70% per year are expected.

Riogrande Offers Great Rates to Brands

According to the Mexican company, its brands offer annual revenues of tens of millions of dollars. The company’s goal is to exceed US$1 billion within three years with gross profit margins of more than 35%.

“The owners or founders of the brands are looking to us because there are no other players with our growth rates, and investors are supporting us,” said Tono Mandly, CEO and co-founder of the company.

Growth Strategy

Mandly also mentioned that Riogrande uses brand incubation to discover “hidden gems”. They acquire key companies that sell on different marketplaces to enhance their development. However, he said that their strategy is not based on acquisitions, but on using their technology to leverage and optimize the growth of an e-commerce business.

Riogrande incubates its own brands, partners with entrepreneurs to boost their e-commerce businesses and acquires small and medium-sized online businesses to scale them on larger platforms such as MercadoLibre and Amazon.

With the new capital, the startup will seek to improve its technology to automate the growth process of e-commerce brands and continue making strategic acquisitions.

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