Multi-funded e-commerce startup SariSuki aims to disrupt the online grocery space with lead investor Brian Cu at its helm.
Cu, a co-founder of Zalora and former head of Grab Philippines, was quite candid about his new investment.
“We are a set of founders that grew up in the Philippines and have an understanding of our market. This combined with our background in scaling up large tech companies in the region made us realize we can do more by increasing efficiencies in our supply chain infrastructure. We are also empowering community leaders to be strong micro-entrepreneurs that will help propel the country’s economic growth from the grassroots level,” Cu said.
One of the country’s rapidly growing startups in the e-commerce grocery sector, SariSuki offers Filipinos value grocery products at affordable prices that meet their daily needs, he said.
Introduced in May 2021, Sari Suki grew 36 times in terms of gross merchandise value in the past nine months. It is now serving over 60,000 consumers through its growing number of community leaders called KaSari.
SariSuki operations are spread across Greater Metro Manila Area, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and some parts of Rizal and Pampanga.
The e-grocery is slowly but stably expanding both vertically, adding new stock keeping units, and improving services horizontally, as it aims to reach even the deep recesses of the Philippines.
SariSuki is backed by significant fundraising that counts Openspace, Susquehanna International Group, Global Founders Capital, Saison Capital, JG Digital Equity Ventures, and Foxmont Capital Partners among those who participated.
The latest $7.1-million round took total funding for the company to $10.7 million in 2021. With the new funds, SariSuki aims to deepen the breadth and depth of its operations to serve more Filipino consumers.
As a social e-commerce, SariSuki has been operating through the so-called community group buy model where members of communities set up their business as a community leader or KaSari, and earn a healthy profit from directly selling produce and goods while performing the last mile fulfillment.
The model has enabled SariSuki to offer supermarket quality products at wet market prices. SariSuki acts as a consolidator of grocery items for their KaSari who in turn own virtual “sari-sari stores” that sell the goods to consumers.
While the Philippines’ e-commerce potential market size is estimated to reach $15 billion by 2025, the adoption of e-commerce into grocery and retail industry remains at less than 3 percent of businesses being online.
Armed with a mission to empower the community by buying fresh produce in bulk from local farmers and offering them to the local community at a discounted price, SariSuki provided opportunities both to producers and KaSari as retailers.
Openspace noted that the growing network of SariSuki may soon dominate the e-commerce grocery space as it address key pain points and barriers to e-commerce adoption with a model that builds confidence and value for consumers.
“We recognized that the trust that those communities are putting in their Community Leader, who consistently delivers high-quality local produce, will help to rapidly accelerate vital e-commerce adoption” said Sari-Suki co-founder Hian Goh.
“We were always deeply impressed with the team at SariSuki, and believe the depth of talent they now have at all levels of the business will be key as they continue to grow, expand and consolidate their early leadership position,” said Openspace executive director Gervin Yang.
Fellow partners Foxmont Capital and Global Founders Capital highlighted the Philippines population and the growing disposable income as factors that will propel growth, not only among online groceries but to the entire digital consumer space.
Sarisuki provides a wide-ranging platform that allows many communities new and meaningful access to that future. They have found a uniquely Filipino way to empower the local community at scale, both as buyers and sellers.
“Sarisuki has a dynamic, experienced set of founders and a leading organization that can deliver on the promise of the next generation of e-commerce in the country,” said Foxmont Capital director of portfolio management Nico Sibal.