The e-commerce market in Latin America has been gaining momentum over the past two years and is poised to double in size and be valued at over $100 billion by 2025.
And like in the United States and elsewhere, customers in Latin America expect that when they submit an order online, it will arrive at their doorstep accurately and quickly. This means that brands and retailers need enough workers to handle all e-commerce orders.
It’s there that Zubalé The Mexico City-based company created a software and collaborator marketplace to solve two problems: provide retailers with workers to fulfill those orders, and provide a flexible way for freelancers to earn a steady income.
Co-founders Allison Campbell and Sebastian Monroy started the company in 2018 and say Zubale means “jump on board or get up” in Spanish. Their vision is to connect people who have a smartphone with ways to earn an income and improve their quality of life.
We first connected with the pair in 2019 when they raised $4.4 million. At the time, Zubale was slightly different, seeking to connect large companies with workers to undertake tasks, such as market research to earn mobile phone credits or other types of digital rewards.
Today the company competes with Rappi, iFood and Cornershop and works with retailers including fashion brands, supermarkets, specialty stores and pharmacies to fulfill e-commerce orders using workers freelancers picking and packing the order in a retailer’s store. or warehouse and then deliver the order to the customer.
After bringing in $8 million in a few funding rounds over the years, Zubale is back with another cash injection of $40 million in a Series A funding led by QED Investors. Participating investors also include GFC, Felicis Ventures and Hans Tung of GGV Capital, alongside existing investors such as NFX, Kevin Efrusy of Accel, Wollef and Maya Capital.
Zubale’s operations began in Mexico and have since expanded to Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru. With this new funding, the company aims to invest in technology development, expand operations in Brazil and Chile, and launch integrated financial products and services. Initially, the company is looking at paying bills, micropayments for insurance and other benefits, then how to manage start-up costs to become a gig worker, Campbell told TechCrunch. .
“Now, as a next step, we are looking at how we can create financial products and services to help them [workers] solve their problems,” she added. “We wanted fintech at the table, which is why we chose QED as part of the Series A, because they have the expertise to create these financial products. They were really excited about the strength of our market and how we could actually provide that as another layer to deliver financial inclusion.
QED, too, was eager to get on board. In a written statement, Lauren Morton, Partner at QED Investors, said: “We were immediately impressed with the vision and execution of the Zubale team. Their approach to increasing opportunities for the self-employed in the region is a major step forward in financial inclusion and we are inspired by ways to increase this impact over time. »
Monroy, who moved to Brazil to establish the company’s presence there, says Zubale already works with three of the biggest retailers and has a lead over 10 others.
The company now has tens of thousands of on-demand workers using its marketplace and is growing 25% month over month over the past two years. It also has 150 product and engineering managers, up from 40 in the same period.
“We have signed contracts that will allow the company to more than triple [growth] next month,” Monroy said. “So imagine what we’ve achieved, and now our execution is laser-focused with Brazil and Chile, which were really big opportunities for us.”