May 25, 2022

Lately, we’ve been hearing the concept of “community” in various aspects of startups and venture capital.

From Lolita Taub targeting the community in venture capitalism to connecting with the community for purchasing power marketing.

In Latin America, where it’s important to be part of a community, we see startups like Trella in Brazil and Muni in Colombia that bring together people with common needs – in Muni’s case, they buy essentials.

Maria Echeveri Gomez came up with the idea for the company after she earned her MBA from Stanford and led Rapi’s global supermarket organization.

“I was at Stanford to see what opportunities could accelerate technology adoption in Latin America,” she told gaming-updates. “When I worked with Rappi, I saw what could be done, but the global pandemic has proven that technology is better for everyone in the long run, but few have access to it.”

After several study tours to China and India, she realized that the first step to gaining access has always been getting people to shop online, so she started looking for ways to make e-commerce more accessible to 92% of consumers. Those who did not have the opportunity to shop online.

Add to that the issue of avoiding overconfidence: People love to touch things, get the product they expect, and often pay cash on delivery, Echevery Gomez said. However, she saw public purchases as a way to cover all of these costs, as well as provide an additional source of income to lift people out of poverty.

The process is quite simple: community leaders centralize orders by sharing a link to the WhatsApp online store. Neighbors place their orders and the supplier gives the orders to the municipality, who collects and packs them and leaves the community leader to take care of last mile delivery and cash collection.

“We created the app so that community leaders can succeed, know their income, manage our customers and know who ordered and who didn’t,” he said. “Many community leaders have never made online transactions before – we even had to introduce shopping carts – so the product is very intuitive.”

Muni has offices in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil and has over 15,000 community leaders using the service, which has grown 20% month-on-month since its launch in June 2020. The company offers more than 6,000 SKUs in 20 categories ranging from groceries and fresh produce to packaged goods and electronics. At the same time, more than 40,000 customers are enjoying prices that are up to 40% lower than competitors, with no additional shipping or handling costs, says Echevery Gomez.

Meanwhile, the company has also increased its headcount to 500 employees, nearly half of whom work in warehouses and the rest spread across operations, business, technology and customer service.

To continue this rapid growth, the company closed a $20 million Series A funding round, which Echeveri Gomez called “the largest Series A investment for a female founder in Hispanic Latin America.”

Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round and was led by seed investors Muni Monashees and Pier VC, as well as angel investors including Rappi co-founders Simon Borrero and Felipe Wilmarin, confirmed founder COO Huey Lin, Hubby co-founder Brian McNulty. Group. Rojas, Frubana founder Fabian Gomez, Loft co-founder Florian Hagenbuch and GGV managing partner Hans Tung. Follow-up funding gives Muni a total funding of about $27 million.

Alex Tausig, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said that Muni is likely to be the first digital account anyone will have and that the company will do its best to create profiles for a better shopping experience.

“We were impressed with how attentive Mariah was and how the model did a really good job and grew up quickly,” he said. “There is a real part of the social mission and the opportunity to give women the opportunity to become entrepreneurs in their field. They believe it will help them get out of poverty.”

Echeveri Gomez plans to use the new funding to invest in technology and product groups, scale operations, and secure the right infrastructure as Muni expands into Tier II and III cities. It also plans to enter new categories and directions of services, including financial services.

“We want to become a social commerce with a backbone in the supply chain,” she said. “Many SuperApp models have only worked in China so far. In Latin America, many people use a top-down approach to income, but we can only use a bottom-up approach. ,

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