Sérgio Saraiva, President at Rappi in Brazil
Sérgio Saraiva, before joining Rappi Brazil in January 2020, worked for more than 20 years at Anheuser Busch Inbev. The executive also worked at Diletto and Cielo. Photo: Rappi/ Courtesy

Sérgio Saraiva, from Rappi: we want to be “the” platform when people think of live shopping

Colombian unicorn vertical that mixes streaming, live events and shopping was launched in July and has over 1 million users in Latin America

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It’s been a while since Colombian unicorn Rappi expanded its portfolio to cover, beyond the last-mile deliveries, an array of new services for its customer base. With more than 7 million users in 200 cities of nine countries in Latin America, Rappi remains goal-oriented towards its ambitious roadmap of becoming the region’s biggest super app. In 2020 alone, Rappi launched two new verticals: entertainment (with features dedicated to music streaming, live events, and games) and travel.

“Rappi Entertainment goes beyond simple fun since it integrates all the other verticals within the super app, such as delivery and travel. Watching a live (video with) shopping (features) of their favorite brand allows users to buy products in real-time,” explains Sérgio Saraiva, president at Rappi Brazil, in an interview with LABS.

The executive says that since the launch of Rappi Entertainment in July, the Colombian super app has already reached the mark of more than 1 million users only in this vertical.

Specifically, when we talk about live shopping, we are at the beginning (of this trend), and we already see great market potential. In 40 minutes, during a live show, we sold three times what the restaurant sells on regular days

Sergio saraiva, president at Rappi Brazil.

Saraiva says that the platform’s strategy is to make a strong bet on solutions that link community and social with e-commerce, in order “to actually be ‘the’ market platform when people think about live shopping” is the company’s goal, says the executive.

The live commerce trend, which emerged in China, is gaining ground in other markets, driven largely by the search for home entertainment amid social isolation measures. In the Asian country, according to a report by the platform Taobao Live, from Chinese giant Alibaba, the gross volume of merchandise (GMV) generated via live streaming during the popular Double 11 shopping date grew over 100% compared to last year’s results.  In 2019, live streaming accounted for about 20 billion yuan – US$ 3 billion in total sales. According to Shanghai-based market research firm iResearch, while China’s live shopping market was worth 451.3 billion yuan (US$ 66 billion) in 2019, that figure could more than double, reaching almost 1.2 trillion yuan, about US$ 170 billion, in 2020.

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As for Rappi, the platform allows the user to watch live streams within Rappi Live Events and to buy the products shown in the videos without leaving the application. According to the startup, the app’s live shopping feature is the first platform in Latin America that connects live events with the real-time shopping experience, all within the application.

All this so that the user spends more and more time inside the platform.

Sérgio Saraiva, President at Rappi in Brazil
Sérgio Saraiva, before joining Rappi Brazil in January 2020, worked for more than 20 years at Anheuser Busch Inbev. The executive also worked at Diletto and Cielo. Photo: Rappi/ Courtesy

What to expect from Rappi Travel

The new business units join the last-mile delivery of products from restaurants, grocers and pharmacies. But the Colombian app is also setting foot in one other market: travel.

“Data for October are not yet available, but we can highlight that, during the pre-launch phase of the vertical, 1,500 sales were made through Rappi Travel,” reveals Saraiva. Launched last month, the most recent business unit announced by the platform gathers travel offers from companies selling airline, bus and accommodation tickets. 

According to the company, soon, tour packages and car rentals will also be part of Rappi Travel. “The car rental option at Rappi Travel is in its final phase before being made available to users,” says Saraiva.

The executive also shares that, since the launch, air tickets are the best-selling product when it comes to transportation in Rappi Travel. In the ranking of Brazilian cities most sought after by consumers until November, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Florianópolis and Porto de Galinhas stand out. Following, Natal, Gramado and Salvador are figured in the search.

At Rappi, innovation is continuous. As a 100% digital and user-centric company, we keep changing without fear


“We are not afraid of changing”

As the app’s services increase, the cost of the super app expansion strategy also grows. In September, the Colombian startup received a Series F round of more than $300 million, led by American investment firm T. Rowe Price. In all, Rappi has raised $1.7 billion over nine rounds since 2015 from SoftBank, Andreessen Horowitz, and DST Global, among other venture capital funds, according to Crunchbase. “The [latest] investment raised has a main goal: the expansion of Rappi’s operation in Brazil,” summarizes Saraiva.

READ ALSO: Rappi launches credit card in Colombia

“The value is not being applied to just one front of interest. We want to be increasingly stronger in products and verticals, as well as being even more aligned with our users. The last round received adds in this sense, following the path of our consolidation as the biggest super app in Latin America.”

And the pandemic served as a lever for strategy. “At the beginning of the pandemic, we hit a 300% increase in the number of orders, mainly for grocery, pharmacy and restaurant sectors,” he says. This happened in two ways: users already used to ordering food started ordering pharmacy and supermarket products; and newcomers who, due to the pandemic, used the app for the first time. It was this recipe that, according to Saraiva, took supermarket verticals to another level in the last eight months.

“We have already tripled the number of personal shoppers (partners responsible for picking the products asked by users), 85% of the grocers registered in the superapp are already available for delivery on the same day and 96% for the next day,” he says. “The goal is to work to get as close to 100% as possible.”