MercadoLibre, Inc. (literally "free market" in Spanish) is an Argentine company incorporated in the United States that operates online marketplaces dedicated to e-commerce and online auctions, including mercadolibre.com. MercadoLibre is Latin America's most popular e-commerce site by number of visitors. The company has operations in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras Peru, Panama, Portugal, Uruguay and Venezuela. As of 2016, MercadoLibre had 174.2 million users in Latin America.
MercadoLibre was founded in 1999 in Argentina. Founder and CEO Marcos Galperin established the company while attending Stanford University. He acquired funding from John Muse, co-founder of HM Capital Partners. MercadoLibre received additional funding from JPMorgan Partners, Flatiron Partners, Goldman Sachs, GE Capital and Banco Santander Central Hispano. In 1999, MercadoLibre was chosen as an Endeavor company.
In September 2001, eBay purchased a 19.5% stake in the company. eBay sold its stake in MercadoLibre in 2016, but the companies continue to collaborate to expand eBay sellers into Latin America. eBay opened its first branded store on the MercadoLibre marketplace from Chile in March 2017.
The following month, MercadoLibre acquired iBazar Como, the Brazilian subsidiary of eBay's earlier acquisition, iBazar S.A. In 2006, MercadoLibre.com launched new operations in Costa Rica, Panama and Dominican Republic.
In August 2007, MercadoLibre became the first Latin American technology company to be listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker MELI. MercadoLibre acquired competitor DeRemate's operations in August 2008. MercadoLibre also acquired Classified Media Group (CMG) in 2008. CMG established the Latin American e-commerce portals tucarro.com and tuinmueble.com.
MercadoLibre.com expanded its e-commerce portal into Portugal in 2010. In 2011, the company transitioned its platform to open source technology. The transition allowed application interface developers (APIs) to expand the platform's solutions and services. In 2013, MercadoLibre launched the MeLi Commerce Fund, dedicated to investing in technology startups that create software using MercadoLibre's APIs. By August 2016, the fund had invested $1.5 million in 15 companies in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. MercadoLibre acquired Portal Inmobiliario, a Chilean classified ad website, in 2014. In 2015, MercadoLibre announced its acquisition of Metroscúbicos.com, the portal of Mexico-based real estate company Grupo Expansión.
In 2016, MercadoLibre relocated its headquarters to São Paulo, Brazil. The 17,000 square meter complex, named Melicidade, held a cafeteria, auditorium, gym, beauty parlor, meeting and training rooms, and a recreation area. In March 2016, MercadoLibre announced its expansion into Córdoba with its new software center. MercadoLibre opened its first Colombian office in Bogotá in October 2016. It was the company’s fourth customer service center in Latin America. The company’s other customer service centers are in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
MercadoLibre operates under five main business units. MarketPlace is its platform for users to sell products, Mercado Pago is its payment platform for online sales, Mercado Publicado is the advertising portion of MercadoLIbre, Mercado Shops is a tool designed to enhance the platform's overall ecosystem, and Mercado Crédito is the company's credit line.
MercadoLibre's MarketPlace is a platform designed to match buyers and sellers. Customers bid for items or pay a set price for offered products. Items are delivered after payment, and users can provide feedback. 3000 official stores or bands work with MercadoLibre.
MercadoLibre also runs a real estate and motors division under the name MercadoLibre Clasificados. Realtors pay a monthly fee to list properties and automobiles on the MercadoLibre platform.
MercadoLibre launched MercadoPago, a secure payment system, to diversify payment options. MercadoPago processed 138.7 million transaction in 2016, which was a 73% improvement from 2015. Launched in 2012, MercadoShops was designed to allow small and medium-sized companies to open virtual stores on their existing websites. The stores feature integration with social network sites. In October 2014, a mobile app was released for MercadoPago which used a credit card reader to allow charges to be processed using a tablet or smartphone using a QR code. The company expanded MercadoPago into Colombia in July 2016.
Mercado Crédito's credit process works with buyers and sellers. Rate types for credit lines are determined through a borrower profile.