Brazilian retailer Via Varejo acquires 16% of the parent company of Distrito, an innovation platform

The transaction value was not disclosed. With it, the retailer wants to speed up its digital transformation

Via Varejo
Photo: Courtesy/Via Varejo
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Via Varejo, owner of Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio, closed an agreement to buy 16.67% of Growth Partners Investimentos e Participações, controller of the Distrito innovation platform. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

According to Via Varejo CEO, Roberto Fulcherberguer, the company is doing this to get closer to the Brazilian startup ecosystem. “We will have the two Gustavos (Gustavo Araújo and Gustavo Gierun, co-founders of the Distrito) looking at Via Varejo and the Distrito’s ecosystem and identifying what is just ‘plug and play’ in Via Varejo,” he said in live-video held this morning, alongside the co-founders of Distrito.

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Since April, Via Varejo acquired stakes or bought three startups: ASAPLog, for urban logistics; banQi, neobank; and i9XP, for e-commerce. These are acquisitions aimed at boosting the company’s digitization, and also at acquiring the necessary talents for that. Headquartered in São Paulo, i9XP, for example, has 155 employees, of which 120 are developers.

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On the Distrito side, it is an opportunity to expand contact between startups that are already part of the platform’s ecosystem and large corporations. “It ends up being a great environment to validate the business models that are working best,” said Gierun, stressing that this will not be restricted to retail or e-commerce.

“The investment will be used to build a robust team, which will have greater capillarity in Brazil. We want to multiply our ecosystem by ten in the coming years”, added Araújo. Distrito has more than 300 startups connected directly to its ecosystem and does a constant job of mapping the sector in Brazil.

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