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Meet the Roadrunners
Parallevar is basically the Ecuadorian equivalent of Rappi and other last-mile delivery companies. It focuses on bringing food, medicine, and other goods to people’s homes. What’s interesting though, is its focus on small markets instead of launching in big cities.
Founded by CEO Carlos Zabala Brito, the company secured a US$200,000 round from Grupo Empresarial Marcos Raúl. This holding is one of Ecuador’s largest companies with around 15 subsidiaries.
Its main activity is the distribution of mass consumption products. Now, in a strategic move, it is betting on the tech industry to improve Ecuador’s distribution means.
According to email correspondence, the company will use this money for marketing purposes. In fact, the company is seeking to expand operations to four additional cities, covering six Ecuatorian provinces.
After solidifying its presence in its current markets, the startup is now seeking to grow regionally and compete for some of that sweet market share with other important industry players. Rappi, HugoApp, Glovo, Domicilio.com, among others, are fiercely competing to win over consumers’ stomachs and cravings.
Can we say this is the perfect analogy for Hunger Games?
Niching down the market
The story of the company is actually very interesting. They started off in a very small Ecuadorian town known as Coca. With no more than 50,000 people, the fact is that many commercial services are very far away from people’s households.
Even though the solution made sense, logistically and business-wide, not many inhabitants were tech-savvy enough to use the product.
The company’s first MVP was delivery through texting. Later, it added a call center and then it developed the app and recently launched it. What began as a small pilot program has progressively grown overtime with delivery personnel working as “correcaminos” (roadrunners).
There’s something I must give to these guys. They certainly spotted an opportunity, not just with the product itself but within the market.
This is very interesting, in fact. Although it seems as if the last-mile delivery market was somewhat saturated already, the fact is that many cities and towns are still light years from having access to those services.
Most big scale-ups wouldn’t even consider launching in smaller markets. Nonetheless, if executed properly, it could represent a huge market opportunity for younger newcomers.
I spoke with the founder briefly over Linkedin, and he told me something that really resonates. Zabala said “Two days ago, we raised an important amount of seed capital. In the country [Ecuador], this is not very common, and we believe it is important that many people find out about this and see it is actually possible.”