We all know how transformative B2C marketplaces have been in bringing markets online and creating new ones — Instacart, Airbnb, Rover, and GOAT just to name some of the largest. What’s talked about less — but equally powerful — are the B2B marketplaces that connect buyers with suppliers of goods, services and more.
B2B marketplaces are exciting on many levels. First, they make buying and selling much easier, similar to their B2C peers. Instead of using the traditional manual and inefficient means of calling on one-off relationships, trade shows and brokers to find supply, a B2B marketplace aggregates suppliers and their product and adds the familiar searchable interface. B2B marketplaces can also provide access to faster payments and financing, logistics support, and other services, which together can remove the inefficiency and friction associated with finding inventory and transacting. But beyond facilitating transactions, B2B marketplaces also often offer the software tools to account for and manage these transactions and inventory, which together become a system of record or operating system for either or both sides of the market. With these tools and services, and aided discovery, the flywheel spins: buyers are attracted and retained, which brings on more sellers who want to sell to them, which also makes the marketplace a better outlet for product discovery.
Today, we’re seeing some of the best environments for B2B in emerging markets. Why? Because the transaction data collected through a marketplace is particularly valuable in situations where credit is constrained — it can be used to underwrite risk as well as provide a convenient source of working capital. Moreover, the underwriting gets better with more transactions as the model gets trained. From there, the platform can offer software tools like a CRM and order management, and additional financial services can be layered in. Similarly, B2B marketplaces can make logistics — often less reliable than in developed economies like the U.S. — easier to manage by bundling them into the transaction.
Enter Inventa. Inventa is a B2B marketplace that connects brands and independent retailers in Brazil, helping a brand reach new customers and the independent retailers better discover products and access flexible payment terms. For independent retailers today, the process of finding inventory is inefficient, slow, and working capital intensive. It requires navigating offline brokers and attending trade shows, and manually calling in orders. Securing inventory for retailers also often requires a high minimums, upfront cash payment or deposit, when working capital loans are limited and expensive in Brazil. Most stores don’t have a corporate credit card, so their typical options for financing are paying upfront which is very risky, or getting a loan. Therefore making the credit access particularly powerful. On the brand side, the process of reaching independent retailers is equally frustrating. Furthermore, logistics can be tough in Brazil on both sides. Finally, Brazil in particular is a structurally attractive market given the very long tail of small retailers — over five million — presenting Inventa with a massive opportunity.
I first met Marcos Salama a few years ago while he was at Rappi leading the core supermarket unit. I was impressed that he had both a strong strategic sense and empathy and grasp for the on-the-ground realities of retail. This skill set gives him the ideal profile to build Inventa. Marcos’s background, hustle and ambition, combined with his co-founders, Laura Camargo and Fernando Carrasco, who respectively bring deep credit and data expertise, have the right team with experience across acquisition, software build and credit to propel this business and get the flywheel going. Since founding the company in March 2021, Marcos and team have made impressive progress, launching the business and working with over 20,000 storeowners!
Inventa is just getting started. From building new software and financial services tools for the existing retailers, to expanding into new verticals, and more — the long-term opportunity for Inventa is incredibly exciting. We’re thrilled to be investing in the team and supporting them on this journey.
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