Alejandro agreed to do an interview with us about his company (YaEsta.com) and the Ecuadorian business ecosystem. After obtaining his master’s degree in Innovation and Tech in Italy, Alejandro and his friend Martin decided to go back to Ecuador and to create YaEsta.com: an online store in Ecuador.
Want to do business in Ecuador? Read Alejandro’s tips!
Could you describe your company please?
YaEsta.com is an Ecuadorian online store Martin and I started 4 years ago. We sell many products: consumer packaged goods, technology, such as smartphones, printers, and computers, fashion among others. We have more than 400 suppliers from all over Ecuador which enables us to have a very broad assortment. We deliver products to all corners of the country, including Galapagos! We have already achieved 3 rounds of funding: $50,000 seed capital; $450,000 in 2015 and we are closing the current one with $1,000,000!
How did you come up with your idea? Why did you decide to set up in Ecuador?
We did not come up with the idea just like that. We have studied for 10 years abroad and as we are from Ecuador, we saw a clear opening to transform the way people exchange goods. Once there, we noticed a big vacuum for eCommerce. That’s why we decided to create our company.
What tips would you give to entrepreneurs who want to do business in Ecuador?
- First, you must know that in Ecuador it is quite difficult to access capital, so if you plan on opening a business here, it is best if you secure funding from abroad.
- Everybody has a network. Therefore, it is key to leverage on people you know.
- The biggest advantage when developing in Ecuador is the competitive environment; due to market inefficiencies, there are big opportunities to disrupt the market.
What are the mistakes to avoid when doing business in Ecuador?
- It is quite difficult to raise money there, so it is best to attract money from abroad.
- Unlike what you commonly think, you should start talking to investors way before you have the money.
- Ecuador is a very attractive country to test business models and products. As the economy is still developing, customers are not as demanding as in other places. This allows a company to make mistakes and pivot at a cheaper cost.
Would you recommend Ecuador for entrepreneurs who want to grow abroad then?
Yes, of course! Ecuador is such a pleasant country to settle in when you want to do business. First, we have the US dollar, good infrastructure and the market is not very competitive. Ecuador benefits from many assets! If you decide to come here, you will be part of a dynamic market since South America is the second fastest growing region after Asia (in eCommerce). It is also easy to expand in other countries of the region, due to similar cultures and a unique regional language (except Brazil). So, yes I would invite entrepreneurs to do business in Ecuador!