When Daniel, Marcelo, and Robson founded MadeiraMadeira in 2009, most e-commerce platforms exclusively sold electronic products in Brazil. This was also a time when most local customers were opposed to making digital payments, resulting in limited marketing penetration for the e-commerce industry. Despite the daunting obstacles, the trio committed to the risk of launching an e-commerce platform for furniture and decor. Afterall, for them, staying in the game meant already winning.
Daniel was inspired to build MadeiraMadeira after working at his father’s company, a flooring manufacturer, which had recently collapsed due to the global economic crisis in 2008. Motivated by the expertise he gained at his father’s company, he began assembling the perfect team to venture into a new business. At Endeavor, we often say that when economies turn down, entrepreneurs turn up, and Daniel, Marcelo, and Robson did just that.
The company’s name originated from a charming story: when Daniel and Marcelo’s father was in business, synthetic floors made their way into the industry. As such, customers started asking sellers: “Is this real wood?” To which the answer was: “Yes, wood wood.” In Portuguese, MadeiraMadeira.
Soon, the threepreneurs built one of Brazil’s first furniture e-commerce stores, shipping products directly from producers to customers, while making a commission on every purchase. In their first year, their funding came exclusively from personal savings. In year two, momentum helped them obtain an unsecured loan. But by year three, an unfortunate $80K fraud made them a strong bankruptcy candidate. Thankfully, they secured an unexpected loan from their sisters to keep MadeiraMadeira afloat. With the escalating risks came the realization that backing the company through personal funds was not a card they could afford to use twice. To keep building, they needed investors.
" The Endeavor network allowed us to learn from people who had gone through similar hurdles — a crucial help as our company was scaling."
CEO & Co-founder, MadeiraMadeira
In 2012, MadeiraMadeira concluded its first round with Monashees, Kaszek, and Frybridge, raising $1.5 million. Then, three years later, after a series B and two rounds of convertible debts, the company started to burn money. Investors’ capital was about to run out. Two more months, and the game would be over.
The survival mode went on. Daniel, Marcelo, and Robson had 8 weeks to turn everything around. Five months later, MadeiraMadeira started to generate cash flow, and twelve months later, EBITDA turned positive.
Using a marketplace approach, the company grew solely from sales revenues. Later, they began manufacturing a furniture brand, expanding to create its own logistic and distribution strategy, a model applied by large e-commerce corporations like Amazon. Today, it offers customers an average of one million products: windows, doors, beds, lamps, and more.
MadeiraMadeira has been growing at a yearly average of 80%, increasing to 120% in 2020 as people made home a priority due to the pandemic. And, while the entire retail sector pivoted to digital, MadeiraMadeira took the road less paved and opened their first physical store, March of 2021, later adding 100+ new concept stores across Brazil.
Recounting the importance of obtaining investors, MadeiraMadeira raised $190 million as part of their Series E, led by Softbank and Dynamo, becoming one of the ten unicorns of Endeavor Brazil. They are also part of a select group of 48 companies worth more than $1 billion globally, supported by Endeavor.
Skyrocketing growth rates and increasing awareness may lead many to believe that the match has been won but, founders Daniel, Marcelo, and Robson don’t value leaning on the finish line but rather the journey. From the South of Brazil, they prove that scaling up a business is an infinite endeavor, but only if you have the energy to stay in the arena, with your head in the game, willing to play.
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