Marcos Galperin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, later finding a job as a Futures and Options associate managing YPF’s currency and oil derivatives program (YPF is an integrated oil company in Buenos Aires). After YPF, he worked in the fixed income department of J.P. Morgan in New York. Marcos then attended Stanford Business School, where his idea for MercadoLibre.com was born, and his rise to wealth began.
During the late 90′s while Galperin was getting his MBA, he noticed internet start-ups blossoming up all around him. Shortly thereafter, one of Galperin’s professors, Jack McDonald, inspired him to take a shot at starting one himself. So after countless hours creating a business plan and researching fundamentals, Galperin took the leap. Professor McDonald even introduced Galperin to various financiers.
After creating the business plan and securing financing, Galperin reached out to a wide network of Stanford B School alums to help manage the business. Five were originally from Argentina, with one from Brazil and one from Mexico. Everything seemed to be set in motion for Galperin, however competition was thick, with 40 other companies entering the Latin American market. One company was actually created by a group of Harvard MBA’s (who even had more initial funding).
As competition raged on among various companies vying to become the E-Bay of Latin America, only a few companies were able to do multiple of rounds of financing. Thus, some of the initial competitors faded away after spending most of their money on frenzied marketing attempts. Galerpin differentiated his company from the new existing pack by focusing on building a good product and having an established IT backbone. Because Galperin focused more on the product (building a good platform) and less on marketing or PR, his company flourished while the rest went bankrupt. The rest is history, MercadoLiber.com is now a dominant player in the region with sites across nine countries including Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. Additionally, every month the company manages more than 1.2 million transactions, attracting 750,000 unique buyers, and business has more than doubled every year for the last five years. In September 2001, E-Bay acquired 19.5% of MercadoLibre in exchange for E-Bay’s recently acquired Brazilian subsidiary of Ibazar.com.br. In this transaction, MercadoLibre also became E-Bay’s exclusive partner for the Latin American region.