Shoppable Business wants to make it easier for businesses in the Philippines to source and procure branded products and other inventory, with an emphasis on making sure products are authentic. The B2B e-commerce marketplace announced it has closed what it says was an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round of $1.15 million.
The round was co-led by Foxmont Capital Partners and Seedstars International Ventures, along with angel investors. Shoppable Business previously got backing 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. The founders also include Sam Blanquera and Chris Blanquera, who co-founded and existed Openovate Labs and Galleon.ph.
Silva told TechCrunch that after working at startups and conglomerates in the Philippines since 2013, Shoppable Business’ founding team noticed that there was a huge gap in the marketplace for a efficient digital procurement process. “The traditional methods were slow, opaque and painstakingly manual and it was hard to find trusted suppliers,” he said.
One problem that businesses face when procuring online is not knowing if goods are authentic. While there have been a lot of e-commerce innovations in the Philippines, like social commerce, a lot of them are targeted toward consumers. But businesses often have to rely on Facebook Marketplace and classified ads for procurement, which means processing orders is a time consuming business.
Silva said that in the Philippines, the traditional procurement process is manual, with orders usually processed through messaging apps, email or in person. Questions are sent through word documents or spreadsheets. “It’s also difficult to search for authentic products online, and to compare quotations as they are funneled through messenger apps and email, making it an inefficient process,” he said.
Shoppable Business is aimed at businesses that want to procure goods quickly and more cheaply, but don’t have a dedicated procurement 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 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 like 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 companies need in the Philippines to claim the full purchase. To ensure authentic products, Shoppable Business is a marketplace partner of GS! Philippines (GSI is the standard for barcodes and product identification in 116 countries, and has 2 million member companies).
In terms of convincing sellers and businesses to move off Facebook Marketplace and the other platforms they are currently using, Shoppable Business makes the process easier by providing a single product listing catalog feature, which means if a product is already in its catalog, sellers don’t need to recreate the product listing. Instead, they can start selling it with a few clicks, by inputting their selling price, stock and any bulk discounts they would like to offer.
Sellers also get their own store on Shoppable Business that enables them to accept payments from different options like Gcash, Maya, credit cards, bank transfers and even check or manual bank deposits. Shopppable Business also does away with the hassle of shipping by arranging deliveries through third-party logistic partners.
To make it easier for sellers to move their current customer base to Shoppable Business, the platform offers a program called Shoppable Direct which enables them to refer existing customers to become buyers. Shoppable will tag seller’s customers as their direct customers if they buy something from the seller that referred them. It also waives marketplace fees for the buyer.
Silva said the wide array of services Shoppable Business offers sellers and buyers, like sales support, procurement outsourcing and logistics, helps it compete with other B2B marketplaces. In addition, it guarantees the issurance of BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue)-certified sales invoices and receipts for every transaction, and also protects product authenticity through its partnership with GS1 Philippines.
The funding will be used to hire for Shoppable Business’ business development team, product and feature development and expanding into new markets in Southeast Asia. Silva said the startup will target new markets by the first half of 2024.
In a statement about the investment, Foxmont Capital Partners managing partner Franco Varona said, “Sourcing and procurement have traditionally been a very manual and a very challenging experience in the Philippines. The lack of transparency in pricing and difficulty in finding goods at scale and quickly is something Filipino companies have had to deal with for too long. Shoppable Business helps to directly solve that problem, and we believe Carlo and his team are exactly the right team to do it.”