shopping business Hopes to make it easier for businesses in the Philippines to source branded products and other inventory, with a focus on making sure products are authentic. The B2B e-commerce marketplace announced that it has closed what it says is an oversubscribed $1.15 million pre-seed round.
The round was co-led by Foxmont Capital Partners and Seedstars International Ventures, as well as angel investors. Shoppable Business was previously supported by AHG Lab.
Shoppable Business was founded in 2022 by a team including Carlo Silva, who previously founded and exited e-commerce business process outsourcing firm 2ndOffice. Founders also include Sam Blanquera and Chris Blanquera, who co-founded Openovate Labs and Galleon.ph.
Silva told TechCrunch that after working at startups and conglomerates in the Philippines since 2013, Shoppable Business’s founding team noticed a huge gap in the market for an efficient digital procurement process. “Traditional methods are slow, opaque and manual, and it’s hard to find trusted suppliers,” he said.
One of the problems businesses face when purchasing online is not knowing if the item is authentic. While there are many e-commerce innovations 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 their purchases, meaning processing orders is a time-consuming business.
In the Philippines, traditionally, the procurement process is manual, with orders typically processed through messaging apps, email or in person, Silva said. Questions are sent via word document or spreadsheet. “Searching for genuine products and comparing offers online is also difficult because they are funneled through messenger apps and emails, making it an inefficient process,” he said.
Shoppable Business is aimed at businesses that want to source items quickly and cheaply, but don’t have a dedicated purchasing team. It also works with companies and distributors that manufacture their own brands. The platform specializes in branded products and services for resellers.
Shoppable Business helps them by operating as a horizontal B2B marketplace for products and services from multiple categories. In addition to using the platform to find 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 sales invoices and receipts, which are required by companies in the Philippines to claim all purchases. To ensure authenticity, Shoppable Business is a marketplace partner of GS! Philippines (GSI is a barcode and product identification standard for 116 countries with 2 million member companies).
When it comes to convincing sellers and businesses to leave Facebook Marketplace and other platforms they currently use, Shoppable Business simplifies the process by offering a single product listing catalog feature, meaning sellers don’t need to if a product is already in its catalog Recreate the product listing. Instead, they can start selling with just a few clicks, entering their selling price, inventory, and any volume discounts they want to offer.
Sellers also have their own store on Shoppable Business, enabling them to accept payments from different options such as Gcash, Maya, credit cards, bank transfers, and even checks or manual bank deposits. Shopppable Business also arranges delivery through a third-party logistics partner, which takes the hassle out of shipping.
To make it easier for sellers to transfer their current customer base to Shoppable Business, the platform offers a program called Shoppable Direct that enables them to refer existing customers as buyers. If they buy something from the seller who recommended them, Shoppable will mark the seller’s customer as their direct customer. It also waived marketplace fees for buyers.
The wide range of services Shoppable Business offers buyers and sellers, such as sales support, procurement outsourcing and logistics, helps it compete with other B2B marketplaces, Silva said. Additionally, it guarantees BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) certified sales invoices and receipts for every transaction and protects product authenticity through its partnership with GS1 Philippines.
The funding will be used to hire Shoppable Business’ business development team, product and feature development, and expand into new markets in Southeast Asia. Silva said the startup will target new markets in the first half of 2024.
Franco Varona, managing partner at Foxmont Capital Partners, said in a statement on the investment: “In the Philippines, sourcing and sourcing has historically been a very manual and challenging experience. There is a lack of transparency in pricing and difficulty in Finding merchandise locally is a problem that companies in the Philippines have had to grapple with for a long time. Shoppable Business helps solve this problem directly, and we believe Carlo and his team are in the best position to solve it.”