Dallas-based Mercado Labs, a startup working to transform the global supply chain by digitizing the first mile, has closed a $3.2 million seed funding round led by Austin-based LiveOak Venture Partners.
Mercado, which was founded in 2018, connects buyers and sellers with its platform to transform the global supply chain. The startup’s new funds will be used for new product development and an expansion of marketing outreach—it just recently announced the release of its “transformative supply chain platform” on Jan. 10.
Two basic products are offered on the digital trading platform: Mercado Buy and Mercado Move.
Mercado Buy offers transparency, collaboration, and predictability over orders, suppliers, products, and production process, the company said. With Mercado Move, there is visibility of an order, supplier, products, and the logistics process.
And, coming soon is Mercado Plan, a third product that will allow users to more efficiently manage vendor vetting, quoting, selection, approval and onboarding processes. Mercado Labs said it’s scheduled to launch later this year. Each product released is intended for a different stage of the supply chain in order to bring more transparency, collaboration, and predictability to importers globally.
“The first mile of the supply chain is highly complex,” Mercado CEO and Founder Rob Garrison said in a statement. “It involves dozens of companies, departments, and individuals across geographic, cultural, and governmental barriers. Right now, this complexity is being managed via spreadsheets and email. From order placement to order delivered, the first mile is in desperate need of a transformation, and that’s where Mercado comes in.”
Businesses in Texas are major global importers. As of March 2019, Texas’ general imports of manufactured commodities totaled roughly $22.47 billion and the import of non-manufactured goods came to roughly $3.37 billion, according to Statista, an online portal for statistics.
Mercado’s focus on the “first mile”—the first 120 days—is intended to help these importers better manage their global supply chains. Delays, discrepancies, damages, and defects often happen during that time, causing a negative impact on a company’s profits and sales.
Mercado said its platform replaces spreadsheets and emails with a fully-digitized system to manage orders from origin to destination, reducing first-mile issues and enhancing supply collaboration, transparency, and predictability.
Garrison also said he is pleased to have LiveOak as the lead investor. With the investment, LiveOak Venture Partners Principal Mike Marcantonio will join Mercado’s board, along with industry veteran and founder of GT Nexus John Urban.
“[LiveOak’s] reputation and ‘entrepreneur-first’ approach were exactly the qualities we were looking for in a partner,” Garrison said. “Together with our other investment syndicate partners Schematic, Story, and Amplifier, we have a powerhouse team who will help us to transform the supply chain industry.”
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