MercadoLibre Turns 14: Rare Photos and a Look Back at LatAm’s Biggest Tech Success

Yesterday, MercadoLibre released its second quarter financial results. Consolidated net revenues for the period reached US$112.2 million, representing a 38.3% year-over-year growth in local currencies. Gross merchandise volume grew to US$1.7 billion, and total payment volume hit US$577.9 million. Net income for the quarter landed at US$30 million.

Not half bad for Latin America’s biggest tech success story, which, coincidentally, turns 14 this month. And started out its publicity efforts like this:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzZvsIcPa5U[/youtube]

MercadoLibre has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 14 years. And today, some rare images, and the video above, are circulating online that demonstrate just how far the company has come.

Marcos Galperin, the figure at the helm of MercadoLibre, came up with the concept for the company while still in business school at Stanford University in the United States. With a strike of luck, he came into contact with John Muse of private equity fund Hicks Muse, who expressed interest in the concept. And, with that, MercadoLibre was born.

Founded by Galperin in 1999, MercadoLibre started out in the humblest of settings – a garage in the Buenos Aires neighborhood Saavedra.
Founded by Galperin in 1999, MercadoLibre started out in the humblest of settings – a garage in the Buenos Aires neighborhood Saavedra.

The rest is history. Since that time, MercadoLibre has gone on to become one of the biggest technology companies in Latin America and is among just a handful of Argentine entities listed on NASDAQ. It’s received funding from JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and GE Capital, among others, and U.S. e-commerce giant eBay is one of its principal shareholders.

In 2001, MercadoLibre took control of Brazil’s iBazar as part of the eBay share purchase deal. In 2005, it acquired DeRemate operations in a number of Latin American countries, taking over remnant operations in 2008. And in 2007, MercadoLibre made the move for its IPO.

And it’s all been up from there. Following a strong 2010, MercadoLibre opened new offices in Buenos Aires in 2011. It operates in 13 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela and generally boasts monopoly status in Latin America’s e-commerce market.

The company has diversified its products and services, manifested in MercadoPago, MercadoClics and MercadoShops. And earlier this year, it announced a US$10 million fund to back endeavors that tap into the potential of the MercadoLibre API.

In light of yesterday’s published financial results, it’s clear that MercadoLibre shows no signs of slowing down. And to think how it all started out.

A view of MercadoLibre’s landing page in 1999.
A view of MercadoLibre’s landing page in 1999.

So happy birthday, MercadoLibre. We’re excited to see what you’ve got in store for the year to come before hitting the big 1-5.

Original source, featured image. MercadoLibre images, Marcos Galperin via Twitter