Editor’s note: Rob Leclerc is founding partner, and Sofía Ramírez is adjunct partner, at AgFunder, which invested in Jüsto’s seed round last year. AgFunder is AFN’s parent company.
This week Jüsto, a full-stack fresh eGrocery retailer based in Mexico, announced its $65m Series A led by General Atlantic is the biggest Series A ever in Latin America in the last 10 years, according to PitchBook. Sixty-five million dollars may sound like a lot, but this is a special company that just grew 16x last year.
We first invested in Jüsto last year, after we did a deep dive across food and ag marketplaces all over the world last year. Jüsto was founded by Ricardo Weder, who rose up as an early employee at Cabify (the Lyft of Latin America) to become the CEO and president, leading the company to a $1.4 billion valuation, and Ricardo Martinez Finger, who was the former CEO of Groupon Mexico. In our founder reference calls, we were consistently told that this may be the best founding team in Latin America and that they had an amazing ability to attract talent.
LatAm Agrifoodtech Market Map: From seed to consumer – view it here
Jüsto’s vision is not just to be the best eGrocery platform in Latin America, but to become the preeminent grocery retailer in Latin America in 10 years. Unlike Instacart (or its Latin American counterparts Rappi and CornerShop) Jüsto eliminates intermediaries while managing its own micro fulfillment centers, which shortens the supply chain and gets it closer to the customer. The company also creates technology to reduce food waste, forecast demand and manage inventory. This minimizes last-mile logistics costs and gives Jüsto more control over quality with a better customer experience. Jüsto believes that technology and dedicated–high throughout–fulfillment is necessary to get efficiency with fresh produce; efficiencies you can’t get with in-store pick-and-pack nor without vertical integration.
When we invested, Jüsto had launched just 31 weeks prior and the company has now already surpassed a double-digit million-dollar annual run rate and has blow away all of our expectations since. Other Seed investors disclosed on Pitchbook included Foundation Capital (investors in Netflix, Uber, Lending Club), Index Ventures (investors in Slack, Skype, Robinhood), Grupo Bimbo, and Sweet Capital.
Most investments we make, we work on for one to four months. These are what you might call “wax-on-wax-off” investments. The process is methodical and highly procedural. This was different. It was an incredibly fast-growing company with one of the best founding teams in Latin America backed by some of the world’s best investors going after a huge market. To use an analogy, there are a few companies that come along where you hear Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice in your head: “Use the force Luke. Trust your feelings”. With a world-class team, enormous market, and powerhouse syndicate, this was one of those investments. We’re excited to see what they can do.
|Diligence on 95% of investments||Diligence on Jüsto|
Read more about the round on TechCrunch.
International Fresh Produce Association launches 2023 Fresh Field Catalyst Accelerator program