Goods Sourcing Platform Meru Raises $15M

supply chain, a Mexico City-based platform that connects manufacturers to the supply chain, has raised $15 million in Series A funding.

As TechCrunch reported Thursday (Dec. 2), the company says it plans to use the funds to become a one-stop shop for its small business clients, eventually growing to become the “Alibaba of Latin America.”

“We began working remotely in China and learned that among global transactions, the same pain points are happening across emerging markets,” Manuel Rodriguez Dao, co-founder and CEO of Meru, told the news outlet.

“We want to make sourcing and procurement safe through technology-enabled distribution, similar to Alibaba, so we connect parties across the supply chain and get them access to discounted prices.”

Read more: International Trade Centre, Alibaba Team to Support MSMEs

Alibaba last month announced it was working with the International Trade Center on an initiative to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) boost international exports and sustainability.

The “Global Digital Trade Accelerator for MSMEs in Developing Countries” initiative is designed to help MSMEs make better use of eCommerce platform opportunities.

In a video-conference speech, Alibaba Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said many of these businesses have sought digital ways to do business and improve their business models.

Rodriguez Dao says traditional sourcing methods can cost small businesses up to two days each week, often navigating through as many as five intermediaries, with an average of 80 percent of transactions resulting in fraud.

Meru, meanwhile, says its customers can choose and purchase products in minutes, with the company guaranteeing receival at the best market prices.

Rodriguez Dao and Co-founder Federico Moscato developed Meru after seeing the struggles involved in sourcing goods while working for another company.

Last year, they joined Eduardo Mata, Virgile Fiszman and Daniel Ferreyra to start Meru to help smaller businesses avoid these issues. The company now has more than 10,000 registered users, employing 210 people in China and Mexico.