By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For those that have not heard of Entrusters yet, it is a peer-to-peer shopping platform aimed at disrupting the global shopping and shipping model. American expatriate in Rio, Brandon Collier, has been the director of operations for the start-up since 2015 and is excited to see the business continue to grow in Brazil.
Entrusters defines itself as a platform changing the way people shop and travel the world. Shoppers around the globe can use the platform to order everyday retail products, and the Entrusters community of users earns money buying and delivering those items as they travel.
The business was launched in 2014 out of Buenos Aires, then expanded to Brazil, and so far the Entrusters marketplace has taken millions of dollars in orders, according to Wesley McRae, co-founder and CEO.
Brandon Collier, shares how he got involved, “I was working for Oracle and managing a territory inclusive of emerging markets throughout Latin America, namely Brazil. I was here a minimum of 4-5 times a year for work since 2009. I fell in love with this place and felt a compulsion to be here – a feeling that still lives in my heart to this day.”
Collier admits, “This was ahead of the projected economic boom forecasted for Brazil in 2012, before the World Cup and the Olympics – so it seemed like an opportune time and that all the stars aligned for me to relocate to Rio.”
His biggest realization of doing business in Rio, is the same as most, he describes, “Conducting business here, you develop that ‘jeito carioca’ really quickly. Meaning, you have to be really tenacious and intuitive to make it happen – in terms of business or just general functioning and integrating into society!”
Describing how he got involved in Entrusters, Collier shares, “It’s funny, the business model for Entrusters was something I was engaged in long before even joining the startup at the end of 2015. If you are an expat or travel internationally to places where family or friends live, you undoubtedly have too!”
He explains that from the basics like peanut butter and maple syrup, to must-have items like the iPhone X or a new hard drive for a computer that crashed last night. Entrusters has a network of travelers that can purchase the item where they are, and bring it to someone in Brazil, and at a much better price than can be found locally – if it can be found at all.
Collier shares some successes, “I’m very proud of an acquisition we were able to execute in 2016 of one of our biggest competitors here in Brazil – Cabe Na Mala. They were an awesome company that had a similar platform and service.”
“They did an outstanding job building a large customer base and familiarizing consumers here with the concept of ‘crowdsourcing’ and peer-to-peer shopping. After the acquisition, we were able to expand our service offering to an additional 30,000 users!”
“Our vision is to be the platform consumers look to first for their online shopping needs, and that travelers from all over the world turn to any time they travel as a way to earn legitimate money and offset their costs. We want to be as commonplace as other businesses in the sharing economy space, such as AirBnB and Uber.”
Currently the business serves just Brazil and Argentina, but the reality of restricted markets and exorbitant prices exists throughout Latin America and other places in the world, and so strategic expansion is on the way for Collier and Entrusters.