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Monday, April 15, 2024

Startup transforms sari-sari stores

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GrowSari, a tech-enabled B2B platform supported by global marquee investors and large venture capitalists, helps sari-sari stores double their earnings through access to better pricing, better service levels, inclusive financing, and new products and services.

Startup transforms sari-sari stores
GrowSari team

Founded by young and dynamic industry leaders who built their expertise from working with global corporations and consultancies P&G, Unilever, Boston Consulting Group, Uber, Globe Telecom, and GCash, GrowSari helps sari-sari stores get better service level, assortment, and access to new services, outfitting them with both the infrastructure and tools they need to transform themselves from simple FMCG outlets to comprehensive service hubs for the nation’s grassroots communities.

In addition to providing affordable, on-demand inventory as well as working capital loans, GrowSari’s platform also generates crucial data and insights into the operations of these stores for manufacturers and distributors to build their strategies and campaigns upon. It also integrated multiple-microservices such as telco load, bills pay, e-commerce, Wi-FI, and other eservices, allowing store-owners to maximize their capital in one wallet and easily expand their business.

Sari-sari stores are the backbone of Philippine retail and are an integral part of the economy, with an estimated retail sales value of $100 billion. About 84 percent of Filipinos purchase essential goods at over 1.1 million stores across the country, with 60 percent of fast-moving consumer goods spending happening in such stores.

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These sari-sari stores are hyper-proximal, with 90 percent of consumers having a store less than 100 meters away from their home. On average, consumers transact twice a day from their nearest sari-sari stores. Despite the pandemic, the sari-sari store segment experienced more growth, even overtaking supermarkets in terms of shopper spending.

However, sari-sari store owners only make about P1 to P2 per product as they do not enjoy the margins given to bigger wholesalers and bigger retailers. Moreover, these store owners are not formally trained on how to run a retail business, lack training on managing inventory and pricing, and have no direct access to working capital.

GrowSari aims to tap into the sari-sari store’s potential to be the biggest and most accessible distribution channel in the Philippines by driving efficiencies in route planning while collecting valuable insights on store behavior. 

Through the GrowSari app, sari-sari stores can double their earnings through access to better pricing for more than a thousand of fast moving sari-sari store stock keeping units or SKUs from the largest brands across all the major FMCG categories. This is in addition to microfinancing support and assistance and multiple e-services including telco, bills payment and remittance.

“GrowSari strives to empower sari-sari store owners to increase their income by providing direct access to a wide assortment of affordable products, e-businesses, and financial assistance. We are proud to help make each sari-sari store sustainable to support families and communities,” said GrowSari co-founder ER Rollan.

“With the funding, we aim to double GrowSari’s existing coverage to 200 cities and service more than 300,000 sari-sari stores, including Visayas and Mindanao, while broadening our supplier marketplace with new third party partners and adding to our financial services,” Rollan said.

GrowSari has grown from a base of 1,000 sari-sari stores in three cities in 2018 to more than 50,000 stores in over 100 municipalities across Luzon as of 2020. As of 2021, it raised more than $30 million from seed round, Series A, and Series B investors.

Series A investors Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc., JG Digital Equity Ventures, and Wavemaker Partners joined the Series B round with Pavilion Capital, a Singapore-based investment company focused on Southeast Asian and North Asian economies, Tencent, China’s leading technology company, International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank Group, ICCP SBI Venture Partners and  Singapore-based growth fund Saison Capital.

“Through GrowSari, we want to use proprietary technology to accelerate financial health for Filipino sari-sari store owners, helping them to use, protect, and grow their business in the long run and transforming sari-sari stores into comprehensive service hubs for the Philippines’ grassroots communities,”  said GrowSari chief technology officer Siddhartha Kongara.

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