American global investment company KKR is investing $45 million (Php 2.2 billion) into GrowSari, the Manila-based startup focused on providing modern solutions for sari-sari stores. Growsari will use the funds will be used to enter new regions in the Philippines and expand its services.
GrowSari, which was founded in 2016, is a B2B platform that provides almost every service required by small- to medium-sized retailers, such as neighborhood stores—colloquially known as sari-sari stores—that carry daily necessities, roadside and market shops, and pharmacies. (Read: GrowSari is giving sari-sari stores a fighting chance using technology)
GrowSari is now present in 220 municipalities across Luzon. Strong tailwinds thanks to digital adoption, proximity shopping, and economic growth in the Philippines have also contributed to GrowSari’s 6.5x increase in gross merchandise value and 2.5x increase in revenue since 2019. Last year, the Singapore Venture Capital & Private Equity Association named it “Venture Capital Deal of the Year.”
Its services include a wholesale marketplace with products from major fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands such as Unilever, P&G, and Nestlé. It collaborates with over 200 providers, including telecoms, fintech companies, and subscription providers, to enable sari-sari stores to provide services such as top-ups and bill payments to their customers.
GrowSari can also be used by sari-sari store operators to launch e-commerce stores and obtain short-term working capital loans to purchase inventory. Other financial products offered by the startup include digital wallets and cash-in services. It also plans to expand into remittance, insurance, and loans in collaboration with other providers.
The new round of funding from KKR investing in the company will be used to expand GrowSari into the Visayas and Mindanao regions. The company’s eventual goal is to be able to cover the estimated 1.1 million sari-sari stores in the country.
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