Saturday, June 22, 2024

Packworks to spend new $2-M funding on app dev’t, partner engagement

The local business-to-business (B2B) startup company Packworks, a platform that connects large consumer brands to micro-retailers or ‘sari-sari store’ owners in the Philippines, announced a successful Series A funding round led by logistics provider Fast Group and the private equity and investment advisory firm CVC Capital Partners.

With $2-million (P112 million) in new funding, the mobile enterprise resource planning (ERP) company will be focusing on enhancing its all-in-one store management application dubbed as “The Pack: SuperStore App” which is currently only available for Android users via Google Play Store.

Meanwhile, the rest will be invested on increasing the platform’s available offerings, generating architecture that will allow micro-retail store owners to reach financial institutions and brands directly, as finally build a dedicated department that will be hyper-focused on engaging with the store owners and delivering additional services to partner brands.

Packworks co-founder and chief marketing officer Ibba Bernardo likened the company’s business model as the railway or expressway infrastructure for products, and not the gas station or fast-food shop operator themselves, providing stores with services such as inventory financing, e-payments, and even micro-insurance.

“We bootstrapped our way to helping 150,000 sari-sari stores. We’re helping communities all over the Philippines to grow and become more resilient. Imagine how many more we can help with all these awesome partners. Our vision is now global,” Bernardo remarked.

From its initial five sari-sari store partners in 2018, Packworks has grown its nationwide network to 150,000 stores today, eyeing to reach 220,000 by the end of this year, and a milestone of 500,000 to close by 2023.

With the app, micro-retailers can access a comprehensive customer order information panel with the dashboard, tracks deliveries and payment status, oversee collection and order fulfillment, and even keep track of total cash earned and debts incurred.

“I am aligned with what they’re trying to do, really helping MSMEs and enabling them with technology and innovation as a way to move up the entrepreneurship ladder. Innovation is key, especially nowadays. It’s innovation that will improve their efficiencies, make them operate more cost-efficiently and effectively,” said former trade secretary Ramon Lopez during his appearance in Packwork’s announcement.

Data analytics firm Kantar Philippines recently released data on the country’s fast-moving consumer goods landscape where it observed that a high number of consumers still prefer acquiring daily necessities from a nearby “sari-sari” store instead of big supermarkets, a trend that is expected to remain even with lessened mobility restrictions during the ongoing pandemic.

“Making them part of the business model of a larger company will provide the sustainability, the growth, and the market for SMEs. In the future, it will be very instrumental as we try to provide prosperity to all the Filipinos moving forward,” Lopez continued.  

By addressing the need of far-flung provincial stores in tracking inventories and getting supply, Packworks has now created a network of neighborhood stores with a gross merchandise value of $139 million in 2021 versus $400,000 from its debut. Packworks CEO Bing Tan said that after identifying the need of these stores gave birth to the idea to produce a one-stop app for micro-retailers.

“We believe the idea will help millions more families that solely depend on their sari-sari store profits to meet ends every day,” Tan concluded.

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