Digital startup Packworks aims to empower store-owners beyond the traditional supply and logistics chain with the introduction of the SuperStore app—an online hub where members enjoy the ease of end-to-end business transactions.
Through the app, store owners can process their business’ inventory, bookkeeping and data collection. They can also avail of financial products and order supplies for a cheaper price without the hassle of coordinating and purchasing new stocks.
Packworks founders Hubert Yap, Bing Tan, and Ibba Bernardo came up with the idea as they faced similar experiences growing up with entrepreneur parents.
“We observed that small stores have a hard time tracking their inventories and getting supplies for their stores, especially the ones in the provinces. That’s when the idea of making a one-stop app for everything pops out,” said Tan.
Witnessing firsthand the challenges brought by limited access to sari-sari store owners, especially in far-flung places, the co-founders promised to share their technical know-how and inspire them to shift from analog processes to using technology.
The app is easy to use with low bandwidth and light footprint that will allow the users to process their businesses more efficiently while managing interest cost though online or an e-payment system.
Packworks strives to help micro-entrepreneurs grow and expand by bringing scalable and accessible technology to them.
The firms started out as a solution for multinational companies in the Philippines to connect with neighborhood stores in 2018.
By 2019, the Packworks rolled out nationwide with only 220 stores and a value of $400,000. After a year, it gathered 27,828 stores with $30 million, and it reached 130,000 stores with $139 million in 2021.
The SuperStore app, funded through a successful P112 -million seed round, is Packworks mobile enterprise resource planning platform for sari-sari store owners.
End-to-end llogistics group Fast Group and global private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, with participation from ADB Ventures, Arise, Techstars and IdeaSpace Foundation led the seed round.
CVC Capital Partners country managing head and Fast Group board member Brice Cu said the platform is constantly searching for ways to improve the country’s supply chain.
“Layering Packworks’ digital fabric to this network and leveraging its emerging data has exciting prospects for creating supply chain efficiencies, especially when combined with the experience and national scale of Fast,” he said.
The startup also plans to build a department that directly engages the sari-sari stores and provide additional services with partners and build an open platform for financial institutions and brands to connect directly with store owners.
“We bootstrapped our way to helping 150,000 sari-sari stores. We’re helping communities all over the Philippines to grow and become more resilient. Imagine how many more we can help with all these awesome partners. Our vision is now global,” said Bernardo.
Packworks aims to become a platform for other institutions that would like to help the base of the pyramid by addressing the sari-sari store challenge by streamlining the value chain and cutting the middleman.
“We believe the idea will help millions more families that solely depend on their sari-sari store profits to meet ends every day,” Tan said.