Dallas’ Mercado Gets $2.5M Investment for its ‘First Mile’ International Supply Chain Platform

Mercado brings the world of international trade into the digital age by transforming the global supply chain. That's been especially important in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mercado Labs is continuing to progress toward its goal of transforming the global supply chain. The Dallas-based startup has closed on a $2.5 million funding round, which follows a $3.2 million seed round announced in November 2019.

Mercado is behind an International Supply Chain (ISC) Platform that connects global supply with global demand. The solutions for importers—dubbed Plan, Buy, and Move—aim to improve supply chain processes by digitizing the first mile.

The new investment was led by Austin-based Ironspring Ventures and joined by a new investor, Supply Chain Ventures. Mercado plans to leverage the two companies’ support, along with its existing team of investors, to optimize and advance its supply chain platform.

The aforementioned seed round was led by Austin-based LiveOak Venture Partners. There was also participation from Schematic Ventures, Story Ventures, and Amplifier. 

Rob Garrison [Photo: Courtesy Mercado]

“What stood out to me when it came to Ironspring Ventures and Supply Chain Ventures was their character, operations mindset, and overall investment thesis,” Mercado CEO and Founder Rob Garrison said in a statement. “This investment will allow Mercado to accelerate supporting and serving customers who are benefiting from the opportunity to transform their international supply chains—ultimately allowing them to get their products to market better, faster, and cheaper.”

Ironspring Ventures Managing Partner Ty Findley envisions Mercado pioneering the market. In shifting the focus from the last mile of supply chain operations to the first 120 days, it will overall enhance performance, according to Findley.

“Rob and the team are tailor-made for Mercado, bringing decades of direct international importing experience to help drive efficiency into the $11T global trade market,” Findley said in a statement. “This laser focus on the First Mile of the supply chain is one of the last remaining whitespaces in supply chain visibility.”

With the investment, Findley will join Mercado’s Board of Directors. He said he hopes to assist in propelling the business forward.

He will sit alongside existing members Mike Marcantonio, a LiveOak principal, and GT Nexus Founder ​John Urban​.

“The current pandemic has rapidly accelerated Mercado’s customer traction as importers realize both the growing complexity associated with conducting international trade and the need for a solution to reach into the earliest phases of purchaser and supplier collaboration when a purchase order is placed,” Findley said. “Mercado does just that and more.”

Mercado was founded in 2018 but launched its beta last year. Since, the startup has seen a slew of new clients joining its platform, with new deals set to close in the coming months. That’s especially been boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Mercado, the team is positioned to “bring the world of international trade into the digital age.” Businesses are able to track, change, and manage orders from the moment a Purchase Order is placed—all through the Mercado platform.

Now more than ever, it’s important for importers to have a platform that manages the flow of goods. That’s heightened by emerging trade compliance issues, increasing duties and tariffs, and growing supply chain complexities.

Mercado has a focus on mitigating risk and eliminating pain points within the international supply chain. According to the company, it does so by helping importers improve their business operations, which drives greater automation, collaboration, transparency, and predictability.

Ultimately, companies are ensured they get their products to market efficiently and at a lower cost.

“We now have the benefit of industry leaders who bring their experience, vision, and passion to helping us create something extraordinary for not only our customers, but the future of the supply chain industry,” Garrison said.

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