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Contxto – At first I thought Mensajeros Urbanos sounded like a tennage parkour crew. Eventually, I found out that it is one of Colombia’s largest delivery startups. And now, the company is growing out of its home country and planting roots in Mexico.
Mensajeros Urbanos is a last-mile delivery startup from Colombia. Born in 2014, and unlike other delivery companies such as Rappi, the startup focuses on corporate client services.
In other words, consumers don’t directly request services. Rather companies request delivery to reach their own customers or perform others business transactions.
The company’s arrival in Mexico will most likely go smoother than usual since it is already in talks with several potential clients in Mexico, according to Mensajeros Urbanos’ CEO Santiago Pineda in an interview with Forbes.
“Since the end of last year, we have been having conversations with one of the main Mexican convenience store chains that we already provide delivery services to in Colombia,” said Santiago Pineda. “They were looking for a player to help them offer this service in Mexico.”
Although the name of this convenience store chain is undisclosed, what we do know is that it’s headquartered in Monterrey. This is where Mensajeros Urbanos will commence services. From the sounds of things, we can start guessing who it is, am I right?
While the company is first heading north, it has also targeted Mexico City and Guadalajara before the end of the year.
To create a robust messenger fleet in Mexico, Mensajeros Urbanos will devote the entire month of July in building this network. Meanwhile, it aims to recruit over 20,000 deliverers before its launches in August.
Once the agreement goes into effect with the Mexican chain, Mensajeros Urbanos will see a surge of business. The startup estimates to handle an average of 2 million monthly deliveries per month by July 2020 – All the while, can’t we just call this undisclosed Mexican convenient store by its name? The suspense is killing me!
On top of that, the founder is also discussing potential collaborations with drug store retailers. Under this arrangement, Mensajeros Urbanos could process customer requests for these companies.
The startup already has 14,000 brands in its client catalog including Subway, McDonald’s, Falabella, KFC, Farmatodo, Cruz Verde and Éxito. In fact, it even renders these services across Colombia’s seven largest cities.
Rather than presenting itself as an intermediary to consumers, Mensajeros Urbanos’ communication strategy focuses on its clients’ sales channels. Some of these include web, apps and social media accounts to promote its services.
Due to this unexploited market strategy, which I certainly believe it is, the startup has raised US$3 million in seed funding since its founding. Now, it’s seeking to raise a Series A round between US$5 to US$10 million to accelerate growth in Mexico.
“The most challenging thing we see in the case of Mexico is the issue of understanding the culture that exists here,” said Pineda. “Our aim is to offer messengers opportunities that make them inclined to work with us.”
Many would consider Mexico’s last-mile delivery market as pretty saturated. Nevertheless, the startup’s distinctive angle seems to provide a possibility for another market participant.
The only danger I certainly observe is the extremely low barriers of entry. Rappi, or any other big-enough startup, could easily switch their model or at least partially adjust it to serve both, B2C and B2B, markets.
On a separate note, German startup Mapify, founded in 2017, has a pretty similar logo. I’m not a big fan of inauthenticity, so definitely going to call them out here.