GrowSari, a B2B platform for small stores in the Philippines, adds investors like Pavilion Capital and Temasek’s Tencent – TechCrunch
Sari-sari stores are neighborhood stores in the Philippines that usually sell basic necessities and sometimes also serve as community centers. Today CultivateSari, a startup that is digitizing sari-sari stores with features like pricing tools, inventory management, and working capital loans, has announced it has raised a Series B from several notable investors, bringing its funding total to $ 30 million.
The company’s Series B is coming to an end, so it hasn’t announced a final amount. The total of $ 30 million she has raised includes her seed funding and Series A, which according to a July 2020 profile in Esquire Philippines was $ 14 million. Participants in its Series B included the private equity unit of Temasek Holdings, Pavilion Capital, Tencent, International Finance Corporation (IFC), ICCP SBI Venture Partners and Saison Capital, and returning investors Robinsons Retail Holdings (which is part of the Gokongwei group), JG Digital Equity Ventures and Wavemaker Partners.
GrowSari was founded in 2016 and claims that its B2B platform is currently used by over 50,000 stores in over 100 municipalities in Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines. Its ultimate goal is to serve one million sari-sari stores.
According to GrowSari, there are over 1.1 million sari-sari stores in the Philippines, and they account for 60% of the staple goods (FMCG) sold in the country, making them a valuable distribution channel for wholesalers. . In addition to its supplier market, GrowSari claims to be able to offer sari-sari store operators better prices for the products of around a thousand FMCG brands, including Unilever, P&G and Nestle, which it says can help stores double their revenue. Other services in the app include online telecom and utility bill payments, remittances, and microfinance for working capital loans.
The founding tDeam of GrowSari includes Reymund Rollan, Shiv Choudhury, Siddhartha Kongara and Andrzej Ogonowski, who first launched the platform as a backend system for sari-sari stores to manage their logistics and inventory.
Since most sari-sari stores are run individually, their margins are lower than large retailers who can negotiate deals with FMCG wholesalers. The GrowSari Supplier Marketplace solves this problem by allowing sari-sari stores to access distributor list prices seen by department stores and wholesalers. The GrowSari Marketplace does not require a minimum order and allows the platform’s sari-sari stores to pay cash on delivery, GrowCoins (or cash credits that can be topped up through GrowSari senders, wire transfers online, banks or over the counter in convenience stores) or E-Lista, GrowSari’s seven-day loan product.
GrowSari’s new capital will be used to expand its user base to 300,000 new stores in the Philippines, particularly in Visayas and Mindanao, increase the size of its supplier market and launch more financial products for sari-sari stores. The startup is part of a new generation of B2B platforms in Asia focused on serving microphones to small businesses, including BukuWarung and BukuKas in Indonesia and Khatabook in India.