Investors Test Mexican E-Commerce Waters With $2.5 Million Investment In Online Furniture Retailer

GAIA Design, the Mexico City-based online furniture retailer, has raised $2.5 million from a coterie of Mexican and international investment funds and super angels, as interest in startups south of the U.S. border picks up.

The round was co-led by the Mexican investment fund Capital Invent and emerging market venture capital fund Rise Capital (led by a former manager of the wildly successful emerging market hedge fund investment firm Tiger Global).

Other investors in the company include FJ Labs, the holding company for investments by super angels Fabrice Grinda and Jose Marin; Variv Capital, Cubo Capital and executives from international industrial and investment firms including Digital Sky Technologies.

The company launched over a year ago in October 2014 to begin making moderately priced furniture for the Mexican middle class and upper middle class. Founders Raffaello Starace, Hassan Yassine, and Philippe Cahuzac initially met while working at Oppa, a Brazilian furniture design startup.

That venture convinced the founders that there were other opportunities for similar businesses in other emerging markets, and the group settled on Mexico as a viable market.

Since its launch, the company has generated revenues of $4 million from 7,000 orders. The company’s best sellers are end tables and chairs, and prices on items are typically in the $100 to $500 range.

“It’s not Ikea,” says Cahuzac. “We’re not low-cost. It’s much more affordable than West Elm or Crate and Barrel — other players that you might find in the U.S.”