Startup Inventa, which offers a platform for contact between retailers and suppliers, announces this Monday, 24, a contribution in the amount of R$ 115 million, led by Andreessen Horowitz and Monashees. The investment, of the Series A type, arrives less than a year after the company was created, in March 2021.
The growth of the startup and the contact that Marcos Salama, founder of the company and former manager of supermarkets at Rappi, had with investors accelerated an important round – and one that usually arrives later in the life of startups. For the company, the time is now to invest in increasing staff and in technology to attract more customers to the platform.
Fernando Carrasco (left), Marcos Salama (center) and Laura Camargo (right) are the founders of Inventa
“I already knew investors from when I was at Rappi. We talked a lot last year. We will invest in technology, sales and marketing. Bring people to the team. We connect the ends so that small stores can buy and this is interesting”, says Salama in an interview with Estadão.
Inventa, which still counts Fernando Carrasco and Laura Camargo as founders, has 100 employees, but wants to reach 500 by the end of 2022 through the growth of its platform that helps retailers buy products from suppliers. Each time a customer makes a purchase, the system’s algorithms learn the categories, brands and types of products that most closely match the retailer’s demand and make suggestions on the next visit. Salama guarantees that the service is free for tenants.
On the suppliers’ side, the idea is for the transaction to be profitable even with the payment of a service fee to Inventa, which is around 15%. For this, the startup invests in increasing the number of customers and services for retailers, and making the list of potential customers increase to the other side of the conveyor belt.
With this vision, the startup offers credit to shopkeepers to buy goods and divide the amount into monthly installments – the pre-approved amount can reach R$ 10 thousand. In exchange, suppliers that bring their customers to the platform do not have the 15% service fee deducted from the transaction for the sale of that particular customer.
“Based on past purchases, we identified products that we thought might make sense for the store. The more these stores buy, the smarter the service gets”, explains Salama.
The model is a hit at the time of a pandemic, according to Salama. According to the executive, the convenience of buying online was presented to small retailers, who often expected brand representatives to visit the establishments to buy or diversify the products on the shelf. With an eye on the cosmetics, decoration and grocery categories, Salama wants the micro-entrepreneur to continue shopping on the internet even with the resumption of face-to-face activities.
It is this interest that can make the company able to expand its business soon. On the radar are Mexico and Colombia, popular destinations for startups that were born in Brazil and want to go international, but planning should start after Inventa celebrates its first anniversary.
“Being in Mexico and Colombia will be an inevitable conclusion, but we are in no hurry. Our goal is to focus on the categories we have today and keep working on that. Brazil is very big, it has a lot to do, many stores. Focus is an important part of being able to do what we want”, says Salama.