Miami startup iguama plans to open up its online shopping mall for U.S. brands to more consumers across Latin America, with the help of a $5 million Series A financing round led by technology venture capital firms Kibo Ventures and PeopleFund.
The company provides consumers in Latin America access to U.S. retail brands typically not available in local malls. Founded in 2014, iguama is the first cross-border e-commerce shopping club where members receive competitive pricing and exclusive deals and promotions on purchases from merchants such as Nordstrom, BCBG, Target, Overstock, Juicy Couture and others. Local customs, taxes and shipping are handled by iguama.
“iguama’s cross-border e-commerce technology provides tremendous value to millions of Latin American shoppers looking to access the best U.S. merchants and get delivery of their purchases to their door,” said Aquilino Peña, co-founder and managing partner of Kibo Ventures, a venture capital firm in Spain that has made nearly 40 investments, in a press release.
With the new funding, iguama plans to expand throughout Latin America and beyond, said Diego Fernandez, co-founder and CEO of iguama, who owned a freight forwarding franchise before founding iguama. The company currently services Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama, with several more countries, including Mexico, on the runway. The company’s 35 employees are split between Guatemala, New York, China and Miami, where its logistics partners are based. Next week, iguama will be releasing a new version of its mobile site with a shopping assistant.
“A lot of Latinos like to go to Miami to buy their clothes. But [through iguama], people who don’t have access to travel can have access to the U.S. products in a convenient way,” said Fernandez, a native of Guatemala. “Our goal is to personalize the shopping experience so customers will have the brands that they like. We are committed to expand our cross-border e-commerce platform to the rest of Latin America and eventually Europe as well.”
Cross-border e-commerce in Latin America is still an under-served market, and iguama has assembled an experienced team in technology, e-commerce and cross-border logistics to become an important player, said Matias de Tezanos, co-founder and CEO of the Miami-based PeopleFund, an early backer of iguama.
Recently, iguama announced that Weihua Yan, co-founder and former CTO of diapers.com, has joined the company as chief technology officer. Last year, Michael DeSimone, former CEO of cross-border logistics company Borderfree, joined the board of directors.