The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is considering a $10 million investment in GrowSari, an online B2B platform that enables micro, small and medium enterprises to order supplies for their stores.
GrowSari started in 2016 as an ordering platform for approximately 1,000 sari-sari stores in three Philippine cities. GrowSari today runs the management, growth, and analytics infrastructure for over 50,000 sari-sari stores in 100 cities that are ordering on the platform each month.
The company enables its customers to order supplies – from soaps and snacks to sanitary napkins and shampoo – via a web browser or through a mobile app. The supplies are then packed from its fulfillment centers across the Philippines and delivered to the sari-sari stores using outsourced trucks.
GrowSari also provides sari-sari store owners with a better pricing structure for goods from household brands like Unilever, P&G, and Nestle. The company says this enables owners to earn double their usual earnings.
According to a report by TechCrunch, GrowSari’s supplier market provides sari-sari stores access to distributor list prices enjoyed by major retailers and wholesalers across the country. In addition to its ordering tool, GrowSari helps stores with features like pricing tools, inventory management, bills payments, and loans.
The proposed $10 million IFC investment is an equity investment that will help GrowSari scale its infrastructure and secure new customers, with a goal of around 300,000 stores by 2023.
In June 2021, Temasek’s Pavilion Capital and Tencent joined GrowSari’s list of investors, bringing the startup’s value to $30 million after its Series B funding round.
Sari-sari stores are a staple in Philippine communities and an important source of daily consumption and low-cost groceries. There are over 1 million sari-sari stores in the Philippines, according to GrowSari.
However, due to a lack of information and trust, the stores only make limited transactions each month. Sari-sari stores are also commonly owned and operated as a small family business. This implies that their margins are lower than those of big businesses able to negotiate sales with FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) wholesale suppliers.
GrowSari hopes to help these small shops grow their sales, utilizing its tools for inventory management and better prices. GrowSari was cofounded by Reymund Rollan, Shiv Choudhury, Siddhartha Kongara and Andrzej Ogonowski.
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