Grocery delivery startup Calii is carving out a piece of Latin America’s $1 trillion groceries and food delivery market with its approach to cut inefficiencies in the food supply chain so it can bring produce and thousands of other grocery items to customers’ doorsteps in less than two hours.
To continue on that mission, the company announced Friday $22.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Dalus Capital and JAM Fund, with participation from backers including Forerunner Ventures, Streamlined Ventures, Y Combinator and Base10 Partners. To date, it has raised nearly $35 million.
David Eduardo Arrambide Montemayor and Maurizio Caló Caligaris, both Stanford-educated engineers, started Calii, a mobile grocery app that connects with producers and brands to automate the supply chain end-to-end and deliver more than 5,000 products, like produce, meat, seafood and prepared items, via a network of micro-fulfillment centers.
This not only provides customers with food savings, but reduces environmental waste by up to three times, CEO Arrambide Montemayor told TechCrunch via email.
“By cutting middlemen and reducing inefficiencies, we generate more profits for producers and pass on greater savings to our users,” he added. “Our products are priced at par or lower than traditional supermarkets, such as Walmart.”
Calii is operating in what has become quite a crowded space aiming to lift Latin America’s current less than 5% online grocery sales within the retail market. Arrambide Montemayor considers the company’s competitors to fall into three categories: marketplaces, like Cornershop, quick commerce, like Jokr and Rappi Turbo, and full groceries, like Jüsto and Merqueo, with the four last companies all attracting venture capital in the past year.
What differentiates Calii from those players is pricing, speed and fewer products.
“Our tech-driven approach of automated micro-fulfillment centers, digitized picking and packing, machine learning and big data algorithms for SKU selection and demand forecasting and focus on ultra-fresh produce and grocery items, make us the top-rated grocery app, replacing the weekly grocery trip to the supermarket,” he added.
When Arrambide Montemayor and Caló Caligaris launched the company in March 2019, the team spent the first 24 months in two markets to perfect the model, user experience and unit economics.
Over the past 12 months Calii grew more than three times in revenue. In Monterrey, its first market, the company delivers over 2,000 orders per day, and the average order value is above $40. During the same time period, the company grew its headcount by 250% to over 250 employees and operators.
With the funding, the company is kicking off a new phase of lightning-fast expansion and growth, Arrambide Montemayor said. It is expanding its footprint in Mexico and the rest of Latin America, with plans to be in more than 14 cities and multiple countries in the next six months.
Additionally, it is rolling out new complementary products, services and categories, including home appliances and electronics; Market, with over 40,000 grocery items with same-day or next-day delivery; and buy now, pay later offering Calii Pay. The funding will also enable the company to triple its headcount on its way to surpassing 10,000 daily orders.
“To truly crack the $1 trillion groceries market in LatAm, we understand that we cannot be a premium service, charging 20% more than supermarket; therefore, we’re rebuilding and automating the grocery supply chain from first principles, injecting tech and data in every layer, in order to deliver ultra-freshness with savings,” Arrambide Montemayor added.
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