CNBC Disruptor 50

31. Jüsto

Founders: Ricardo Weder (CEO), Ricardo Martinez, Alejandro Sisniega, Fernando Beck
Launched: 2019
Headquarters: Mexico City
Funding:
$244 million (PitchBook)
Valuation: N/A
Key technologies:
Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, Internet of Things, machine learning, software-defined security
Industry:
Logistics
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Persephone Kavallines

Walmart is huge in Mexico, but on-demand challengers are aiming for the big box giant as well as a wide variety of physical convenience store operators. Mexico-based Jüsto is one of the emerging examples of the rise of the food and product delivery – and potentially superapp – sector in Latin America. 

Jüsto is the first 100% online and vertically integrated supermarket in Mexico, co-founded in 2019 by CEO Ricardo Weder, who was previously the president of Spanish ridesharing company Cabify. 

It has been growing rapidly, with a business approach that mixes AI-based personalized shopping with fast, localized delivery and a social conscience. Use of AI in its own micro-fulfillment centers enables the company to better forecast demand, while cutting out intermediaries from distribution allows it to lower costs to the consumer. Jüsto works directly with more than 200 small producers, representing 25% of its total products, supporting local community growers and reducing waste from within the food business, boasting that its 2% waste is 10 times less than the average for supermarkets.

Similar to giant retailers including Walmart and Amazon, Jüsto is ramping up its private-label product business, having launched 100 brands. The start-up takes direct aim at Walmart in its marketing, claiming online engagement at twice the level of Walmart Mexico. In addition to Walmart, it is aiming to take market share from Mexico-based big box retailer Chedraui. It also has elements of the U.S.-based GoPuff business model with its micro-fulfillment centers. Its top executives have cited a sector that has not evolved in over four decades.

The company's revenue grew 5x in 2021 and its direct and indirect employee base grew to over 3,000 as it plots a broader LatAm expansion strategy, setting up operations in São Paulo, Brazil, last October and acquiring Peruvian e-grocer Freshmart. Jüsto also has its sights set on Columbia and Chile next.

Investors have been quick to fund the company, with its Series A $65 million round in February 2021 marking the largest Series A in LatAm start-up history. In March 2022, Jüsto raised more than twice that amount – $152 million – in a round led by General Atlantic.

Jüsto estimates the entire grocery industry in Latin America at a $600 billion opportunity. Digital transformation of the grocery sector in Latin America is just getting underway, according to its investors. But Jüsto is not alone in taking on traditional giants, who have their own digital prowess to leverage. Among rivals in the on-demand space are JOKR and LaComer.com, as well as Columbia-based leader Rappi, which has grown to a valuation over $5 billion and is further along in the super app path, recently beginning to accept cryptocurrency payments amid a broader push into financial services.

But Rappi, already operating in nine countries and over 250 LatAm cities, sees an alignment of interests with Jüsto and a way to leverage each others' respective strengths. Last October, the two companies announced a partnership to focus on smaller tickets and faster delivery, aiming to use Jüsto's expertise in sourcing of fruit, vegetables and other products combined with Rappi's further evolution in logistics.

With its ambitions spreading across Latin America, Jüsto has also just taken a strategic step back into the physical world on the traditional turf of the world's Walmarts. In Peru, it is launching its first physical store with 9,000 products, and if successful, it plans to take that bricks-and-mortar model to other countries.

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