More than 80% of food delivery orders in Latin America are still made by phone and paid in cash. OlaClick, a fledgling startup that helps these restaurants sell online and raise money digitally, announced on Thursday that it has secured the backing of a host of investors, including Gradient, Meta and Delivery Hero.
Gradient Ventures, Google’s artificial intelligence fund, has led OlaClick’s $4.4 million seed funding round. The round also included Meta, Delivery Hero, Tribe Capital, Caffeinated Capital, Graph Ventures, and existing investor Y Combinator.
OlaClick allows restaurants to simplify direct-to-consumer e-commerce by providing them with point-of-sale (POS) and customer management (CRM) services, as well as the ability to digitize menus.
Customers can then interact with these restaurants via WhatsApp and Instagram and place their orders, Jose Rico, co-founder of OlaClick, explained in an interview with TechCrunch.
“We are trying to solve the D2C problem in Latin America. Restaurants in this region have a huge opportunity to sell direct to consumers,” he said. “We also have an admin panel that allows restaurants to offer discounts and run campaigns. And WhatsApp is the app we use to connect with consumers.”
As is the case with many emerging markets such as India, WhatsApp is widely popular in the Latin American region. “Here everything happens on WhatsApp,” Rico said during a WhatsApp call. “In Brazil, Instagram is also very popular, so many restaurants use Instagram as our channel,” he said.
Rico co-founded OlaClick with three other entrepreneurs in 2020, all of whom are immigrants from Europe (and pictured above). He said that they have all moved and have been living in Latin America for over 10 years, and this startup is their attempt to repay the region and create jobs for many.
“With OlaClick’s simple technology, any restaurant can instantly open a digital storefront and use social media to sell their products online. This opens up a new source of revenue for businesses across Latin America and opens up huge opportunities for OlaClick,” said Zachary Bratun-Glennon, partner at Gradient Ventures.
Today, OlaClick is present in more than 20 countries, but counts Brazil, Mexico and Colombia as its main markets. Its platform handles over 1 million orders from over 45,000 restaurants every month.
Rico said the startup will use the new funds to expand its engineering and product team, as well as expand offerings for restaurant partners. Currently, OlaClick allows restaurants to either use their own delivery logistics or have customers pick them up from the diner. The startup plans to partner with logistics startups to offer delivery services to restaurants.
OlaClick, which processed $35 million commission-free orders last year and hopes to rise to $200 million this year, is also Meta’s first investment in a startup in Latin America.
“We are thrilled to support the passionate and talented OlaClick team as they help restaurants of all sizes in Latin America connect directly with their customers and optimize orders through WhatsApp,” said Sunita Parasuraman, head of new product experimentation investment at Meta, in an interview. . statement.
Credit: techcrunch.com /