Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi, my name is Menajem Benchimol I am originally from Cali, Colombia, and together with Zeev Levy, and Elias Dichi we founded Get Ayuda. We help companies find manufacturers in Mexico after their supply chains were disrupted in China. So far, we are making $16,000 MRR since our launch in February 2020 during COVID-19.
We charge 5% of orders.
I have experience founding Latin startups since college. During that time, I founded a blockchain educational portal in Spanish. We had partnered with Blockchain at Berkeley and our courses were taught in one of Mexico's biggest business schools.
Zeev is the CEO of Jacze, a man's accessory subscription box, which fulfills orders to one of Mexico's largest store chains. We always focused on Latin America, this time we wanted to do it differently. This time we will focus on expanding Latin ingenuity to the American market. We want to create a paradigm shift where people not only think of Latin companies for its coffee and entertainment industries, but for its tech and eCommerce sectors.
In April, we added Elias Dichi as a founder to help us with logistics, trade finance, customs, and operations. He brings his experience from working in a multinational import and export company in the past.
Late April I experienced a tragedy in my family. My little brother died after a bike accident. I was destroyed and unable to work for some time. As an entrepreneur it's hard to find a break from work, I have to thank my co-founders for stepping up for me.
Times like this measure the level of trust you can have with your business partners. Zeev and Elias handled my roles amazingly and paved the path for me to go back to work when I felt ready. I am very grateful for having such great founders in GetAyuda, now I am more motivated than ever to succeed for my little brother.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Zeev and I met during a business program in China and Hong Kong back in 2017. We always talked about technology and how Latin America can take part in the next disruptive revolutions. As time passed by, Zeev founded Jacze, a male accessory subscription box in Mexico. He always told me the cultural differences made it difficult to work with Chinese manufacturers, and last year he set on to find manufacturers in Mexico for his brand.
Misunderstandings will happen, find ways to communicate especially during the chaos and remain calm.
Zeev moved his entire operations right before the Chinese New Year back in 2019 which is a very difficult date for e-commerce worldwide since trade is stopped for a month. This year, I was asking him how it was going, and when COVID-19 was starting to break out in China we saw an opportunity to help companies relocate their manufacturers’ orders to Mexico.
So far we have worked with textile, furniture, bottle, and other industries. We plan on taking larger and recurring orders as time passes by. The benefits of manufacturing in Mexico are the proximity to the USA, ground transportation, and sometimes the manual labor cost can be similar to China.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
We started using a very lean startup method. Our startup costs were less than $50 and we validated our idea on Facebook groups. We gave ourselves a timeline of how many inquiries we had to receive in order to take this startup seriously. If we didn't reach the expected threshold in 3 weeks, we weren't going to pursue this idea.
I developed the website using no-code tools in less than 1 day and registered the domain using Google Domains. I asked a friend with copywriting to make a compelling message. An anchor message that called out “why” companies were looking to relocate manufacturing elsewhere.
In our onboarding form, we ask potential leads to answer a few questions about the product they are looking to manufacture, quantity, specs, and more. With that information, Zeev and Elias take charge of finding the manufacturers in Mexico, we usually quote from 3-4 factories. We have been building a database of factories, their respective industries, rating system, contact lead, quality, and more.
We started adding the factories to the database from our connections and people we have worked in the past. Most of these factories are not online. You cannot find them with a search on Google. Our added value is our database, quality control, offices in Mexico, the relationship we already have with many of these manufacturers, as well as handling the language barrier, and providing catered customer support experience.
Our clients prefer we work with them on the entire process with the manufacturer as we can provide extra help regarding paperwork at customs, trade finance, logistics, and shipping.
We want our clients to focus on selling their products.
Once the client agrees on the quote, we send them a product sample. If approved, we send them an invoice so we can pay the factory and lock the order.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We divided our roles for testing our MVP. Zeev knows every manufacturer in a variety of industries in Mexico from his Jacze experience, and I was the one to sell our services as I speak perfect English :).
I posted an announcement on the Trends group, the members-only group powered by The Hustle, and received a ton of attention. I posted here because there are many successful entrepreneurs in the eCommerce sector that are part of it as well, so I figured it made sense to start there. It was imminent that a lot of eCommerce companies wanted to find an alternative route aside from China. Every order, I sent to Zeev and he was on his way to find manufacturers and send quotes to our clients in less than 72 hours.
We made a simple website and an onboarding form to find out which products clients were looking to order. It took 3 weeks from the idea of sending our first sample. Now we are learning which areas our clients need more assistance with aside from finding a manufacturer.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We launched less than 2 months ago so we might not have accurate data. Private Facebook groups have brought a lot of attention. Every new inquiry we learn how to communicate our message better, what are the real needs of an eCommerce whose supply was disrupted and how we can help them better.
We haven't spent on ads, we plan to bootstrap ourselves very leanly and grow organically with cold outreach, Facebook groups, and partnerships.
Build in the open, blog about an industry that interests you even before you want to launch your startup. You never know who might be reading.
To retain customers, we are focusing on offering excellent customer service, speed, and reliability to customers.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We started with a 5% service fee business model but might expand a monthly subscription model to adjust our customer needs and cater to a better experience. Our goal is to create long term relationships with clients and collect monthly recurring orders from various industry leaders.
It has been tough operating during COVID-19 since a lot of manufacturers are slowing production down, but we do what we can. Once the economy goes back to normal, we will have figured out a system that works and be able to take orders at scale. Right now we are a team of three. Because the Mexican Peso fluctuates a lot in both directions, our quotes can change to cope with the volatility. For people who have not dealt with Latin economies, this is a headache we know how to handle for our clients to lock in prices.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Don't be afraid of starting a business during a pandemic or recession. Some of the best companies have come out during these hard times in the past. GetAyuda won't be an exception.
Find founders who have different skill sets than yours. People who complement your weaknesses. Write down the fundamentals early on, roles, and learn how to communicate. Misunderstandings will happen, find ways to communicate especially during the chaos and remain calm.
Also, we are figuring out our system along the way. For me, I am noticing what works in this industry regarding sales, financing, and tech, and Zeev is figuring out a system on how to better verify manufacturers, lockdown good prices, and make sure the order is delivered smoothly. Elias is figuring out the best routes, logistics, and processes we can provide.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
- Carrd for our landing page.
- Typeform to onboard clients.
- Zapier to send orders from Typeform to our Google Sheets and to our email.
- Google Sheets to track orders.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, by Jack Ma. This book helped me understand how a giant e-commerce company works.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. This book helped me validate ideas faster, cheaper, & better.
My First Million podcast by Shaan Puri and Sam Parr is a great listen to learn about ideas, startups, and operations.
SW47x: Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies is a Harvard course I took to learn how to find opportunities in emerging economies.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Take your chances, find asymmetric returns. Best case scenario you succeed in building a profitable business, worst case scenario you learn something along the way, make great connections, and prepare yourself for your future venture.
Build in the open, blog about an industry that interests you even before you want to launch your startup. You never know who might be reading, chances are people will want to help you validate your idea and you can learn better about this industry.
I started blogging and making courses about Latin startups and the global supply chain during college, even before starting GetAyuda. Even though it was regarding blockchain and for an educational portal I was launching (it failed), I was able to learn a lot about supply chains and how global commerce works.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are open to adding a role to our team. Someone who is good at sales and understands the Mexican supply chain market.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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