Business-to-business startup Growsari said Thursday it plans to triple the number of store partners after raising P4 billion from a Series C round of funding, or capital raising activity.
Growsari co-founder and chief executive Reymund Rollan said the expansion is part of the plans to accelerate the transformation of small physical retail stores, such as sari-sari stores, carinderias, eateries, pharmacies and other roadside shops into comprehensive service hubs.
“We are proud to share that we are on track in fulfilling our mission of creating a positive socio-economic impact to the lives of more MSME owners and the communities they serve nationwide,” he said.
The platform aims to grow the number of store partners to 300,000 by 2023.
Growsari’s expansion in Visayas and Mindanao include key cities such as Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, and General Santos. Growsari’s presence is now in 20 key cities and 400 municipalities nationwide.
Rollan said aside from gaining a nationwide footprint, the expansion to Visayas and Mindanao is also strategic in terms of helping in the digital transformation of the small stores they serve.
“As we get farther out into the provinces, a lot of sari-sari store owners are underserved given the challenges of FMCG distributors to physically reach them. Digital inclusion in these areas has also been slower. So we see this as a huge opportunity where Growsari can come in to make a difference in the lives of small physical retail store owners,” Rollan said.
Growsari added services that store partners can have access including telco credits, money remittance, bills payment, e-commerce, WiFi and other e-services.
The platform gives store owners access to new revenue streams which allow them to maximize their capital, while Growsari improves the overall customer experience and look to provide access to credit and basic financial services.
Growsari co-founder and chief technology officer Siddharta Kongara said that despite the importance of the sari-sari store to the community, store owners make very little margins and only a few receive formal training on how to run a retail business.
FMCG companies and their main distribution networks struggle to reach these stores given their small basket sizes, distance and lack of access in smaller roads, he said.
Growsari bridges the gap by combining goods from multiple suppliers and applying route planning efficiencies.
“Ultimately, our ambition is to cater to and reach the more than 1.1 million sari-sari stores nationwide and be their true partner in transforming and growing their small businesses,” said Kongara.