The Brazilian company Praso, which provides a distribution platform for small retailers, announced the raising of $9.3 million in investment funds and announced the acquisition of the intellectual property of Floki, a brand that uses AI to automate purchases in small bars and restaurants.
In Latin America, retailers are forced, within the framework of a complex system of relationships based on so-called manual processes, to individually establish interaction with dozens, and sometimes hundreds of wholesale stores in order to obtain the necessary goods. At the same time, there is an active spread of e-commerce services in the region. However, digitalization has not yet significantly affected the sphere of interaction between stores and retailers.
The mentioned problem is not a negative situation that no one thinks about. To improve the communication between retailers and stores, startups are being created, for example, Nocnoc, Miferia, and Chiper, offering technological solutions to improve the current state of affairs. Praso, founded by Samuel Carvalho, Fernando Bilfinger, and Rodrigo Castellari, joined these startups in 2021.
Praso CEO Samuel Carvalho says that over the past 10-12 years there has been an intensive digitalization of the consumer space, but this process has affected only the e-commerce sector, bypassing the sphere of interaction between companies. The firm headed by him ensures full cooperation of large food producers with small retailers, including bakeries, cafes, bars, and restaurants. The company has created a data-driven approach to demand generation. The firm provides the so-called logistics of the last mile, creates credit solutions, and guarantees an understanding of the logic of customer actions.
Samuel Carvalho says that the startup of which he is the CEO has few competitors in the region. According to him, firms offering similar solutions focus their attention on corner stores and other retailers where a high level of sensitivity to prices is fixed. At the same time, as he claims, bakeries, cafes, restaurants, and bars are more focused on convenience and quality service, and also in most cases have a higher margin, which is why the price issue is not a hot topic for these establishments.
The head of the company also said that, in his opinion, there are still many opportunities for growth with local producers. Separately, he noted that the company has plans to cooperate with business representatives from outside Northeastern Brazil. According to him, some local producers are more focused on developing partnerships with large wholesalers but also are interested in establishing cooperation with small traders.
Praso currently cooperates with 120 delivery partners and 7,500 merchants. The initial strategy of the company’s activities provided for purchases from supply partners and the resale of products to sellers. Gradually, the startup is moving to a model of complete satisfaction. Samuel Carvalho says that many manufacturers do not have the logistical capacity to serve sellers. Praso solves this problem by providing services for the delivery of goods to small buyers. This activity allows you to monetize logistics and demand generation. The startup also benefits financially from attracting customers through its trading platform.
At the end of last year, Praso’s revenue increased sevenfold. The company also expects that this indicator will grow three times in 2023.
The latest round of financing of the company was led by Valor Capital Group and NFX. Also, existing investor partners Formus Capital, Iporanga Ventures and Endeavor Scale-Up took part in this process.
Samuel Carvalho announced his intention to invest in the development of the logistics network and plans to introduce Floki data analytics and procurement information into existing client portfolios. The startup integrates into its business tools for managing accounts payable, which will allow the company to know when the seller needs working capital, and inventory management tools that guarantee automatic order fulfillment.
The firm is also currently working on loan offers for sellers that provide favorable payment terms. According to Samuel Carvalho, these sellers receive inflated prices and less service in almost everything they do.
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