Neil Patel

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In the bustling world of entrepreneurship, stories of resilience, determination, and innovation often emerge as guiding lights for aspiring founders. One such narrative is that of Ricardo Pero, a Brazilian-born entrepreneur who embarked on a transformative journey from the corporate world to building a multimillion-dollar empire in the heart of the United States.

Ricardo’s company, SellersFi, has attracted funding from MUFG Innovation Partners, 111 Investment Partners, Bossanova Investimentos, Endeavor Catalyst, and Fasanara Capital

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Ricardo Pero’s journey from Brazil to the U.S. exemplifies the transformative power of determination in overcoming adversity.
  • Ricardo’s transition from a successful corporate career to founding SellersFi underscores the boundless possibilities of pursuing one’s passion.
  • Ricardo’s vision for revolutionizing e-commerce lending led to the creation of SellersFi, a pioneering platform shaping the future of online commerce.
  • Amidst global upheavals like the pandemic, SellersFi’s resilience and adaptability propelled it toward unprecedented growth and success.
  • SellersFi’s expansion beyond borders reflects Ricardo’s vision of empowering e-commerce sellers worldwide, transcending geographical constraints.
  • Ricardo emphasizes the importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive team culture, recognizing it as a cornerstone of SellersFi’s success.
  • Ricardo’s journey offers valuable lessons in perseverance, strategic planning, and unwavering commitment to realizing one’s entrepreneurial vision.



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About Ricardo Pero:

Ricardo Pero has extensive work experience in the financial industry. Ricardo is currently the CEO of Sellers Funding, a role they have held since 2017.

Prior to that, they served as the Chief Executive Officer at Sellers Funding starting in March 2017. Before joining Sellers Funding, they were a Founding Partner at OneLink Capital Partners LLC. from September 2016 to March 2017.

From 2010 to 2016, Ricardo worked at J.P. Morgan as an Executive Director. Ricardo began their career in the financial industry at Merrill Lynch in 2007, where they worked as a Financial Advisor until 2009.

Ricardo then moved on to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where they served as a Producing Sales Manager from 2006 to 2007 and as a Financial Advisor from 2000 to 2004.

Ricardo also had a role as a Relationship Manager at Citi from 1999 to 2000. Prior to that, they worked as an Investment Advisor at Gerdau S.A. from 1992 to 1999.

Ricardo Pero obtained an MBA degree in Finance from Columbia Business School, having attended from 2001 to 2002.

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Connect with Ricardo Pero:

Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

Alejandro Cremades: All righty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So today. We have a founder that is doing some really exciting stuff. You know I mean they they are growing. You know, really nicely. They’ve raised you know between equity and debt you know close to 500000000 which is really impressive. Ah, you know in the. Basically on the show Today. We’re gonna be discussing how you know he came to the us you know that the motivation that was behind it. You know the the immigrant story I mean obviously as an immigrant myself I love those stories because I really see myself in them. I love them. We’re gonna be talking about why in the case of our. Guess the competitive slight is always changing and many more things you know when it comes to building scaling and all of the above so without further ado. Let’s welcome our guests today riardo perro welcome to the show.

Ricardo Pero: Um, hi Alejandro nice to meet you nice to be here.

Alejandro Cremades: So originally born in Brazil give us a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up over there.

Ricardo Pero: Well um I spent it my first twenty something years in in Brazil I grew up pretty much in a in a farm in the south of Brazil my family had that. As a tradition and and decided to take a different path in my career I study economics and then when I was you know 1920 years old my my dad passed. Decided to to make a shift I changed my my classes to the night shift start studying at night working full time became a treasurer international treasurer of a. Ah, brazilian multinational company when it was like 21 22 years old built my career out of that and and then 2 3 years later I got an ah a job offer from from city and someone from their trading desk in New York resign they told me why don’t you start in sao paulo go to New York for on a temporary basis and I stayed in New York on a temporary basis for over twenty years and.

Alejandro Cremades: And 1 thing that there that you were alluding to mean when you were 19 You know you’re that passed and and that kind of changed everything for you. You know how? how did that impacted you and also the way that you were thinking and and and the lens through you know you were seeing life around you. Yeah.

Ricardo Pero: Ah, it’s interesting because I think people react in different ways when they face problems like this in life. My immediate reaction was okay I need to take ownership of. My life I cannot wait for someone to you know in Latin America we have that that you know relationship with our parents where there is a strong support and emotionally financially support throughout. Years and into your like mid 20 s and I I realized that I I wouldn’t have the luxury to have that so that was just like this I mean I didn’t wait for anybody to tell me what I wanted need to do. I just went there and and did it.

Alejandro Cremades: So motivation for the Us you know out of all places. You know why? why come into the us. So.

Ricardo Pero: I came here for the first time in 1994 I went I went to New York I was working already for for this company and um I was meant to to spend like two months work in a trainee program working in various departments of the bank. Ah like cityn chase back then the company had strong ties with both banks and for me it was a a life changing experience because I I knew. Okay. I belong here. It was crystal clear to me that I needed to make that that move I I was able to interact with a lot of people that thought like me and this was. Very inspirational because you see animation immigrants and you see all this foreign college kids studying and building their careers and I was working already out of college working in Brazil and I said that’s that’s what I want to do so. I was ah I was going to be the first executive to be fully sponsored to have an Mba sponsored by the but the brazilian company and I decided to to decline that offer and take an offer from Citibank.

Ricardo Pero: Who offer me a job here in New York and together with my Mba and I did my Mba the same way I did my college studying at night and during the weekends and working full time during the day.

Alejandro Cremades: How was the experience of the and Nba because Colombia is really great. How was the ah the community you know and how have you been? Let’s say able to leverage that. So.

Ricardo Pero: It was an amazing experience. Not working experience for me. My health wasn’t that but because I was always tired I was out I think I I gained like £30 during my my Mba because it was. Drinking coffee and eating ice cream to keep to keep ah awake ah during those long long nights studying but it was an amazing experience. I mean it helped me.

Ricardo Pero: Create some concepts and rethink the way I saw businesses because when you are an immigrant you have this view of the world and my experience is studying the Us help me think in a different way. It helped me see the world. With different plans and made me understand better some business dynamics and and things that happen in in the companies that award and made a tremendous impact in the business that I’m building.

Alejandro Cremades: So then so then in this regard. You know, let’s talk about the corporate years because obviously now you know you’re writing this rocket ship that we’re going to be talking you know about it in a while you know in in just a little bit but. But you have you know you you did experience corporate in different shapes and forms I mean you were talking about a city you did Morgan Stanley then Mary Lynch and then finally Jp Morgan which was your immediate step. You know before really getting started. You know with the company. So I guess.

Ricardo Pero: Um.

Ricardo Pero: But the purpose is now.

Alejandro Cremades: How was that transition you know from 1 institution to the other and and and and what were you doing.

Ricardo Pero: So I started in sales and trading I started trading effects did effects and rates then multi asset classes. We built. Ah um I was managing a jv between Solomon. Smith Barney and city covering midmark institutions in Latin and we we did an amazing job. It was really fun and then 2007 I start noticing that a lot of my peers were leaving. And I decided to to take a chance I got an offer from mero back then and I mean I think that I did a good reading about city because 2008 came I think I probably. Wasn’t my best choice going to Mary Lynch and I went through that that acquisition of b a and it was a you know, weird experience because I’ve stayed there for probably like 2 years maybe less than 2 years and then jp Morgan came extend me an offer and moving from one organization that is changing going through an acquisition to an organization that was well-established.

Ricardo Pero: Gaining a lot of momentum post 2008 crisis. It was a very interesting change for me. Um, with city you think about city pre 2008 crisis. It was a very global. Organization with businesses. You know, strong business in latintan strong ties to Latintan went to merow to build a similar business and then everything fell apart and then you go to Gp Morgan and ijpmorgan I had and a different challenge but because I wasn’t only managing the relationship with some latin clients and and especially Brazil but I was also bringing investment opportunities from latinam to our. Us or my us european and asian counter and it it was a different environment and that helped me also gain extra experience extra exposure to to foreign markets and and and working with. Ah, more international you know network of of colleagues and went to trips to to Europe to to Asia and so on so it was an amazing experience back then but at some point after you do that for like 15.

Ricardo Pero: Over fifteen almost twenty years I was starting to to get a little tired of the the corporate world and and doing the same thing over and over again.

Alejandro Cremades: So let’s talk about that because that was the time where you were at Jpmorgan and and that’s the time where you decide that maybe you know there is something else that you should be doing you know, maybe starting something of your own What was that incubation process that you know got you to finally be like okay I’m giving my notice and. And this is kind of like what I’m thinking about doing.

Ricardo Pero: I I knew for a fact that I wanted to leave because I saw a lot of opportunities to grow broke both ah personally and professionally I wanted to to so to. Search for something that would challenge me in a way and and for six months or so The only thing I did was research I talked to a lot of my former clients. I promised myself that I would avoid to go back to to work for a big bank doing the same thing that I I did at Jp Morgan um and I kept that promise and and one day I receive a phone call from from a friend of mine that was selling in ecommerce. Had a wholesale business move his business to Amazon and that call changed my life in a way because that’s probably why we I my attention. Ah the opportunity that I saw there. Call my attention and I build an entire company based on on that.

Alejandro Cremades: So then so then let’s talk about like that day that process how was that the.

Ricardo Pero: Um, yeah, we.

Ricardo Pero: Let me see. Yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: So let’s so let’s talk about that process. So let’s talk about that process then so how was how was you know then because I know that it was like a 2 2 phase approach. You know the way that you went about this you know first you know you started with essentially going at it. Ah, with um, you know a different blend or a different structure right? where you got started with kind of like some friends and family. You know money around a vehicle that you created and then that ended up becoming. Ah you know what? you guys are doing now. So. What was that journey like you know what what? How did you go from one end to the other one where now you know is finally becoming tangible.

Ricardo Pero: Yeah, the the business is a capital intensive business. So once I I figure out. Okay, this is what I’m gonna build I need to secure resources beyond what I have already saved and put aside to start my own business. And the first thing that I thought was how I can make this scalable and have an edge over it. So my two first hires were data scientists. And it was a big change for me because I was applying a lot of my knowledge on areas that I had no expertise whatsoever like data science machine learning models now called Ai and. This is this was so new to me I was coming from a trading dask environment very open very fast space and that demanded a lot of my brain power attention and long hours. To work with those guys to build our first credit model and it wasn’t a welcome change in a way.

Alejandro Cremades: So so I guess a then for the people that are listening to really get it. What ended up being being the business model of sellers’ funding. How are you guys making money. Okay.

Ricardo Pero: So we started as a ah lending platform to Amazon sellers I soon realized that staying with Amazon alone would probably offer little to no differentiating differentiation to to our. Customers and and no value added to our shareholders. So I started ah integrating with other platforms nowadays we have connectivity with almost 10 platforms all ecommerce platforms and. Ah, the second wave of evolution was ah building a banking infrastructure to mitigate operational risk and start ah creating another layer of of incentive for customers to stay with us for longer. So how we make business. It’s a node banking model you you borrow money? Ah as cheap as you can and you maximize your allocat location of capital so we make money providing working capital solutions to our clients we make money offering. A banking platform where they could pay their vendors either in dollars Euros pounds they can do crossborder payments and so on the way I think about our platform ecommerce is a global industry and we need to have a global mindset to to cover our.

Ricardo Pero: Target industry and our clients.

Alejandro Cremades: Okay, so then it so then in that case you know I guess for you guys? what were the um I guess what were the early days like at what point do you realize hey I think that we’re into something here.

Ricardo Pero: Um, a lot of people I mean when you read about entrepreneurship you you look at milestones like there is always that oh the first million dollars in revenue first $10000000 in revenue and.

Ricardo Pero: We got into a million dollars in revenue in like year one or maybe less than that and we saw a great traction before being called sellers why we call the company was called sellers funding so it was a very. High ah organic ah search engine for us or you like when people went to Google and saw amazon sellers funding alternatives. We were like one of the first ones to be there. So there was a lot of demand for our product and then and and in my my mind we were positioned ourselves in an industry that had a secular trend very positive coming our way and then the pandemic hit. Right? And then all the growth that we expected to achieve in like 10 years happen in 1 year or 2 and we had to to be prepared for that. So I think the first time we ah we surpassed $10000000 in revenue was twenty twenty

Ricardo Pero: And and that was a big jump like over a hundred percent a hundred and fifty percent growth in that year and we’ve been growing consistently over a hundred percent year for year with the exception of last year where we grew about 50% forty fifty percent

Alejandro Cremades: Now now in this case for you guys you know too I mean you’ve you’ve raised quite some money how much money have you guys raised today? yeah.

Ricardo Pero: Over over a half a billion dollars and we are expanding that this year even for yeah.

Alejandro Cremades: I know that 70000000 has been inequity and then the rest has been in depth. So how does it typically work. You know when you raise money for equity and what is the difference with raising money for debt for a business like this for.

Ricardo Pero: Um, I think the um the the approach is a little bit different and thankfully we we being proving that our technology and our credit and the writing models they work. We. With this worth over a billion dollars. We wrote off less than two and a half percent over that period of time. So from a that point of view. It. The performance itself tells the story from in equity. Point of view. We need to highlight not only the milestones and the growth trajectory that we face but also the plans that we have for the future and and and when I see the company moving forward. There is a big shift happening right now. And it started with our rebranding from sellers funding to sellers spy the idea to change the mindset of our team here starting with the team and and going to to our customers that think of us as. Ah, working capital provider now the the idea is and the challenge that we face is to change that mindset and having our customer think of us as a financial platform that has a strong working capital solution. But it’s not only that we are offering cardts we are offering.

Ricardo Pero: Bank Accounts fdasured bank accounts and this is just the beginning of ah a much more robust financial platform.

Alejandro Cremades: So I guess say as you’re raising money here I mean especially as ah as an immigrant too know and how is that how is that journey like of building the network and you know a making sure that you’re able to.

Ricardo Pero: That matter.

Alejandro Cremades: To go through the next day cycles to going from run around to the next how how was it like for you.

Ricardo Pero: It’s interesting I remember the first trade show that I I went with my my business partner. We were questioned how come 2 brazilians are decided to to build an ecommerce ah lending platform for ecommerce sellers. As. Why not I’ve been working for but you know us financial institutions for for over 20 years or over fifteen years so it was a lot of skepticism from the get goal and then there was I was looking at. Our old presentations and there is always that slide right? that talks about the competitive landscape and and for us was always like oh you, you have an amazing track record but you haven’t scaled yet. That’s wait for you to reach $100000000 in origination and then you reach $100000000 in origination and then for lenders or credit folks. It was always like oh okay, you reach $100000000 in origination. But you haven’t faced. Ah, negative credit cycle and here we are like 6 over 6 year six years down the road. We’ve been through a lot I mean the last two years have been very challenging for lenders specialty finance in general.

Ricardo Pero: And we we remain here and when I look at that slide that competitive landscape site a lot of our competitors that companies that I admire and I I consider benchmarks when when we start the business got acquired changed their business models. We saw that happening the past two three years again on a post pandemic world and we we kept our discipline and and and I think that we are doing something that is meaningful. For a lot of of our clients and you know a lot of our ah partners and to the point that we were able to secure this relationship with Amazon this year

Alejandro Cremades: So I guess for the um for the people that that are listening. You know to get a good understanding because obviously you know here you’ve raised quite a bit of money you know and and I think that vision is a big one for the investors. Also for the people that you’re onboarding you know on the customer side on the employee side. If you were to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision for settlers’ funding was fully realized what does that world look like.

Ricardo Pero: Um, we are but when I when I think about ourselves I think as a neobank for ecommerce sellers with strong embedded solutions for for marketplaces. So. I see us probably not in that long near future but probably in in the near future in the next couple of years probably a multibillion dollar company if I had to choose. Um, I’ll say probably going public and in 2 3 years having surpassed we we are now approaching 5000 clients sms.

Ricardo Pero: Predominantly in the us I would love to to expand that as an immigrant like like you said I’d love to to expand that to to other places I think that we are covering an underserved industry and I don’t know if you know but over 50% of Sms. Selling the us our foreign companies. So if my goal to expand beyond the us market supporting foreign companies selling the us but also expanding internationally I think that the team of underbanked. Is applicable to to consumers to to small businesses and we are in an industry that is extremely under served and and not properly understood by most traditional financial institutions.

Alejandro Cremades: So I guess a we’re talking about the future here but I want to talk about the past and do so with a len of reflection if I was to bring you back in time you know, maybe back in time to let’s say 2016 where you are Jp Morgan and envisioning a world where.

Ricardo Pero: You.

Alejandro Cremades: You were to become an entrepreneur and bring something of your own to life if you could have a sit down next to that younger self I’m being able to give that younger Ricardo one piece of advice for launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.

Ricardo Pero: 2

Ricardo Pero: Um, That’s a great question I think something that I I learned I’ve learned throughout my career I learned a lot about you know. Ah, learn more about bad examples and not to to fall into the same traps that I see people falling. Um and I look at our team Today. We have a very low voluntary churn.

Ricardo Pero: And when I start the business I’ll say I pay um attention to the team. But probably I should have.

Ricardo Pero: Being a little bit more generous on the on the stock option of for the early like the first 5 10 employees not that we don’t have now I think that I I correct that that. Throughout time we have over 70% of our employees have stuff options in the company that creates a sense of ownership. It took me a couple of of years or maybe less than 2 years to understand that how that was how important that was for me. And I think we have an amazing team and we have an amazing culture here. Very diverse diversified team with different backgrounds and and that is probably the most important aspect of. And the strongest white foundation that I have in the business today. How? how amazing it is our team here and probably I would have spend more time forming that from the early months or a couple of years in the into the business. Probably I would be. In a better position not to feel so overwhelmed and and responsible for all the things that I I did at the at the beginning not that it is an easy I don’t I never expect an easy transition from being an employee to an entrepreneur.

Ricardo Pero: But having a team that supports you from the get go is is important.

Alejandro Cremades: So I guess for the people that are listening Ricardo I would love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so. So.

Ricardo Pero: You can reach me on Linkedin by Email Ricardo at

Alejandro Cremades: Amazing, well easy enough. Well Ricar it has been an absolute honor to have you with us today. So thank you so much for being on the dealmakerr show with us.

Ricardo Pero: Thank you very much. It was amazing experience. Thank you a lot.


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