Santiago Pineda started his entrepreneurial journey straight out of highschool at 18 years old. He would spend hours at his university’s library learning how to code to launch his company’s website. Originally from Colombia, where the floral sector represents one of the main industries for the country, Santiago decided to start an e-commerce for flowers during his university years.
After his first experience as a founder, Santiago was hooked on the idea of building a big company. Today, he is the CEO of Mensajeros Urbanos, a last-mile logistics platform that is using technology and a diverse collaborative logistics network to bring fast low-cost deliveries to Latam.
I sat down with Santiago to talk about his early entrepreneurial beginnings, followed by his experience founding a stock simulator with his brother, to eventually joining Mensajeros Urbanos. We also discuss the opportunity that the last-mile logistics industry represents in Latam and Santiago identifies Mensajeros Urbanos’ inflection points.
Getting acquired after Startup Chile ‘11
Following a significant financial loss in Colombia’s Forex market, Santiago discovered his next business opportunity. He decided to start a stock simulator to promote financial education. First, he did it for the Colombian market. And after two years of good traction, he decided to start another stock simulator with his brother, focusing on the Latam market. They participated in Startup Chile, and after five years, their company got acquired.
Learn more about the process behind Santiago’s first exit in this episode of Crossing Borders.
Joining Mensajeros Urbanos
Santiago recalls the lessons he learned from joining Mensajeros Urbanos and what that decision entails for the founders. Considering the work and sacrifices founders have to make to start a company, introducing new people can be a difficult decision to make. As founders themselves, Santiago and his brother recognized the humility and maturity of the Mensajeros Urbanos’ team to allow them to join.
Find out how Santiago and his brother helped Mensajeros Urbanos gain traction and became CEO and COO, respectively, of the company.
The power of networks
Santiago explains that at Mensajeros Urbanos, they believe that the decision to expand to another market, even if it’s just to another city, does not make sense if your network hasn’t expanded first. After focusing on 10 Colombian cities, Mensajeros Urbanos decided to expand into Mexico with the help of one of their clients in Colombia.
Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders, to learn more about how Santiago and his team evaluate decisions to expand into new markets.
Santiago Pineda is using his experiences as an entrepreneur to help others build their visions into successful businesses. He is tackling the needs of the last-mile delivery industry in Latam with Mensajeros Urbanos’ solution.
Outline of this episode:
- [1:35] – About Mensajeros Urbanos
- [3:06] – Creating a marketplace for flowers in Colombia
- [4:57] – An 18-year-old entrepreneur
- [5:52] – Winding down a business as a university student
- [6:34] – Starting over again
- [7:45] – Lessons learned from exiting Starbull
- [10:18] – Mensajeros Urbanos’ story
- [11:35] – Introducing new C-Levels to a company
- [13:12] – Why logistics and last-mile deliveries?
- [14:33] – Inflection point for Mensajers Urbanos
- [15:55] – Looking into other markets
- [17:51] – Growth versus positive unit economics
- [19:48] – Advice to Santiago’s younger self
- [20:21] – Top lessons learned in Santiago’s entrepreneurial journey
- [21:27] – Books, blogs, and podcast recommendations
- [22:23] – Next steps for Mensajeros Urbanos
Resources & people mentioned: