Completing one year of operation, Mercado Diferente ≠, the main online grocery foodtech in Brasil, just announced their seed extension. In March 2022, the company had raised a $4.4M USD seed round and now adds another $3.0M USD, a record number for foodtech in the region. The new round was led by Caravela Capital followed by Collaborative Fund (who double downs on its previous investment), and two new funds: South South Ventures, with its first-ever check, and Valor Siren Ventures.
According to Eduardo Petrelli, Mercado Diferente ≠‘s CEO, the startup decided to extend their round to continue growing sustainably at a record pace as well as to invest more heavily into technology and artificial intelligence, a key differentiator for the startup. “Our mission is not only to increase access to healthy foods for millions, but to make their lives easier through a unique zero-click-buy experience. Imagine not needing to choose the items in your basket and still receiving the ideal box for your family. These new resources are crucial to helping us get there.”
The new round will also help the foodtech expand to new cities. Currently operating in 12 cities within the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mercado Diferente ≠ plans to add new regions soon. In addition, the funds will be used to strengthen the tech and operations teams. Mercado Diferente ≠ currently has 75 employees, but the company plans on expanding the team by 20% to 30% in 2023.
All of the tech was built from scratch with the goal of most accurately serving the customer with AI. The algorithms predict the ideal basket for every customer based on the available items. “Our algorithm takes customer preferences and restrictions into consideration while also looking at availability, seasonality and recurrence of each item to be able to suggest the ideal box for each customer. We also use this intelligence to help farmers plan their crops based on consumption behavior”, explains the CEO.
The extension is key to help Diferente grow 7x this year compared to 2022. “We’re heading into 2023 with positive contribution margin as we scale efficiently and by the end of 2024 we plan to hit +30M USD in revenue. Pretty soon we’re going to launch our app, launch new categories and SKUs and push further our second phase of customization powered by AI. 2023 will be an exciting year”, claims Petrelli.