Shoppable Business wants to make it easier for businesses in the Philippines to source and source branded products and other inventory, with an emphasis on product authenticity. The B2B e-commerce marketplace announced that it has closed what it says is a $1.15 million oversubscribed pre-seed funding round.
The round was co-led by Foxmont Capital Partners and Seedstars International Ventures, as well as angel investors. Shoppable Business has already secured support from AHG Lab.
Shoppable Business was founded in 2022 by a team including Carlo Silva, who previously started and exited e-commerce business process outsourcing company 2ndOffice. Founders also include Sam Blanquera and Chris Blanquera, who co-founded and existed Openovate Labs and Galleon.ph.
Silva told TechCrunch that after working in startups and conglomerates in the Philippines since 2013, the founding team of Shoppable Business noticed there was a huge void in the market for an efficient digital procurement process. “Traditional methods were slow, opaque and painstakingly manual and it was difficult to find trusted suppliers,” he said.
One of the problems companies face when buying online is not knowing if the products are genuine. Although there have been many innovations in e-commerce in the Philippines, such as social commerce, many of them are aimed at consumers. But businesses often have to rely on Facebook Marketplace and classifieds for sourcing, which means fulfilling orders is a time-consuming activity.
Silva said that in the Philippines, the traditional procurement process is manual, with orders usually processed through messaging apps, emails or in person. Questions are sent via Word documents or spreadsheets. “It is also difficult to find genuine products online and compare quotes as they are routed through messaging apps and emails, making it an inefficient process,” he said.
Shoppable Business is for businesses that want to source quickly and affordably, but don’t have a dedicated sourcing team. It also works with companies that manufacture their own brands and distributors. The platform specializes in branded products and services for resellers.
Shoppable Business helps them by functioning as a horizontal B2B marketplace for products and services across multiple categories. In addition to using the platform to source products, businesses can also access services such as marketing, sales support, procurement outsourcing, logistics, financing, and payment infrastructure. Shoppable Business also issues official BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) certified invoices and sales receipts, which businesses need in the Philippines to claim the full purchase. To ensure genuine products, Shoppable Business is a GS Marketplace Partner! Philippines (GSI is the standard for barcodes and product identification in 116 countries and has 2 million member companies).
To convince sellers and businesses to leave Facebook Marketplace and other platforms they currently use, Shoppable Business makes the process easier by providing a unique product listing catalog feature, which means if a product is already in its catalog, sellers do not need to recreate the product list. Instead, they can start selling it with just a few clicks, entering their sale price, inventory, and any volume discounts they want to offer.
Sellers also have their own store on Shoppable Business which allows them to accept payment from different options like Gcash, Maya, credit cards, wire transfers and even checks or manual bank deposits. Shopppable Business also takes the hassle out of shipping by arranging deliveries through third-party logistics partners.
To make it easier for sellers to move their current customer base to Shoppable Business, the platform offers a program called Shoppable Direct that allows them to refer existing customers to become buyers. Shoppable will mark the seller’s customers as their direct customers if they buy something from the seller who referred them. It also waives market fees for the buyer.
Silva said the wide range of services Shoppable Business offers to sellers and buyers, such as sales support, procurement outsourcing and logistics, helps it compete with other B2B marketplaces. In addition, it guarantees the issuance of BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) certified invoices and sales receipts for each transaction, and also protects product authenticity through its partnership with GS1 Philippines.
The funding will be used to hire the Shoppable Business business development team, product and feature development, and expansion into new markets in Southeast Asia. Silva said the startup will target new markets by the first half of 2024.
In a statement on the investment, Foxmont Capital Partners Managing Partner Franco Varona said, “Procurement and sourcing has traditionally been a very manual and very difficult experience in the Philippines. The lack of price transparency and the difficulty in finding goods at scale and quickly are problems that Filipino businesses have had to deal with for far too long. Shoppable Business helps solve this problem directly, and we think Carlo and his team are exactly the right team to do just that.