This past week, Diferente announced a US$4.4M Seed Round, led by MAYA - a record breaking early-stage round in the LatAm foodtech space. Since closing the round, the team has already started operations in São Paulo and will now be expanding to other cities in Brazil. Given the context, we thought it interesting to detail why MAYA invested in this exciting solution and team.
Overview: D2C fruits and vegetables distributor of imperfect foods that fights food waste by providing lower cost, organic produce to its customers. Brazil is the world’s 3rd largest fruit producer, putting roughly 40 million tons to market per year. Around 30% of fruits and vegetables are wasted between harvest and retail and a main reason for this is that imperfect foods (bumps, bruises, different shapes and sizes) are not considered prime for retail shelf-life. Additionally, 85% of Brazilian’s do not consume organic produce, the main preventer being price. Diferente, connects farmers and customers through a simple subscription model, bringing products that might otherwise go to waste to market at up to 40% off grocery store prices.
Team, market fit: The experience and complementary profiles of Diferente's founders in logistics, technology, marketing, and operations were paramount for our decision to invest. Eduardo Petrelli, the former co-founder of James Delivery (a grocery delivery app that was acquired by GPA - one of Brazil's largest food retailers - in 2018), and Saulo Marti, ex-CMO of Olist, got together with Paulo Monçores, former executive director at VTEX, and Walter Rodrigues, who previously led dark kitchens at Rappi.
85% of the population does not consume organic produce: With a mission to make healthy food accessible to all Latin Americans, Diferente offers its clients items that retailers deem imperfect at a discount of up to 40% of its average retail price. According to the team, 1 in every 5 produce items can be rejected by retailers despite being perfect for consumption. And in the past 5 years, organic produce sales have increased 12.3% in Brazil vs 8% globally. Specifically in 2020, the Brazilian organic market grew 30%, with over 800 registered producers. By offering items considered "imperfect", Diferente is able to have a direct impact on the supply chain by helping farmers avoid waste and customers to get perfectly good produce at a much lower price.
Grocery shopping transitioning from off to online: Although the pandemic accelerated online grocery shopping, the move to online was already taking shape in Brazil with a current penetration of around 5%. Millennials are more prone to a subscription-based model, and actively look for convenience. Diferente offers boxes in three different sizes: individual, couple's, family. This way, orders are catered to the consumer's needs.
We are thrilled to back Eduardo, Saulo, Paulo and Walter. Diferente's success will change consumption across Brazil!
If you're wondering what the Diferente team thinks about the partnership with MAYA, here's what the founders have to say: "From our first conversation, we felt that MAYA Capital shared our purpose. It was clear that their hands-on approach made them the ideal partner to start this journey with us and help us revolutionize the food industry. It's great to have investors that are aligned with our long term vision and that are willing to get their hands dirty to help us thrive," said Eduardo Petrelli, CEO & Co-Founder at Diferente.
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