KKR, a global investment firm, and GrowSari, a B2B e-commerce platform serving micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the Philippines, this week confirmed KKR will invest US$45 million to lead GrowSari’s Series C funding round. The funds will support regional expansion and product development capabilities.
Founded in 2016, GrowSari is a tech-enabled B2B platform that helps the Philippines’ small physical retail stores, including neighborhood retail shops, roadside and market shops, and pharmacies, enhance their service levels and access a wider range of products and value-added services. This allows the stores to provide local communities with more comprehensive offerings, including digital services.
Today, the company is present in 220 municipalities across the regions of Luzon and offers more than 100 different services such as bill payments, telco reloads, and wallet top-ups, as well as procurement services for common retail goods and pharmaceutical medicines.
In a statement, the company said support for digital adoption, proximity shopping, and economic growth in the Philippines have also contributed to a 6.5x increase in gross merchandise value for GrowSari since 2019 and a 2.5x increase in revenue over the same period. In 2021, the Singapore Venture Capital & Private Equity Association named GrowSari as Venture Capital Deal of the Year.
“We are pleased to invest in GrowSari, an innovative company with tremendous potential to digitally transform the operations of Filipino MSMEs, who are crucial contributors to the country’s economy and a pillar of the business community,” Ashish Shastry, co-head of Asia Pacific private equity and head of Southeast Asia at KKR said. “We are excited to support the GrowSari team to achieve their expansion ambitions.”
“We will be accelerating our presence nationally to more municipalities and cities in the Philippines,” GrowSari co-founder and CEO Reymund Rollan added. “Our investments will be focused towards expanding in Visayas and Mindanao this 2022. This will bring us a step closer to our mission of creating a positive socio-economic impact to the lives of more MSME owners and the communities they serve.
“In addition, we are doubling down on our capabilities to improve the overall customer experience and look to expand our ability to provide sari-sari stores access to credit and basic financial services, which is a key pain point for MSMEs who have limited access. The industry, operational and financial expertise and network of KKR will be a great complement to the passion, dedication and strong culture of excellence that GrowSari has built over the years.”
“GrowSari is aligned with one of our core technology investment themes in Southeast Asia, which is supporting MSMEs with software and financial services,” KKR’s Louis Casey noted. “Reymund and the team at GrowSari are excellent operators who have built an impressive flywheel that is powered by a number of proprietary applications. They have also built a very efficient and repeatable go-to-market motion that is underpinning their impressive growth. We look to leverage our global experience, regional connectivity and flexible capital to help GrowSari achieve its ambitious growth objectives.”
Prior to KKR’s investment, GrowSari had raised funding from Temasek-affiliated Pavilion Capital, Tencent, the International Finance Corporation, the Gokongwei family-controlled JG Summit, Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc., Wavemaker Partners, Saison Capital, and the Investment & Capital Corporation of the Philippines.