More than 80% of food delivery orders in Latin America are still placed by phone and paid for in cash. OlaClick, a young startup that helps these restaurants sell online and raise money digitally, announced Thursday that it has received backing from dozens of investors, including Gradient, Meta and Delivery Hero.
Gradient Ventures, Google’s artificial intelligence fund, led OlaClick’s $4.4 million seed funding round. Meta, Delivery Hero, Tribe Capital, Caffeinated Capital and Graph Ventures also participated in the round.
OlaClick enables restaurants to facilitate direct-to-consumer e-commerce by providing point-of-sale (POS) and customer management (CRM) services and the ability to digitize menus.
Customers can then interact with these restaurants on WhatsApp and Instagram and place their orders, explained José Rico, co-founder of OlaClick, in an interview with TechCrunch.
“We are trying to solve a D2C problem in Latin America. There is huge space for restaurants in this region to sell directly to consumers,” he said. “We also have an admin panel that allows restaurants to offer discounts and run campaigns. And WhatsApp is the app we use to reach consumers.”
As is the case in many emerging markets such as India, WhatsApp is very popular in the Latin America region. “Everything happens on WhatsApp here,” Rico said, during a WhatsApp call. “In Brazil, Instagram is also very popular, many restaurants use Instagram as a channel with us,” he said.
Rico co-founded OlaClick with three other entrepreneurs in 2020, all of whom are European immigrants (and pictured above). He said they have all moved and lived in Latin America for over 10 years now and this startup is their attempt to give back to the region and create jobs for many.
“With OlaClick’s hassle-free technology, any restaurant can instantly open a digital storefront and leverage social media to sell their products online. This opens up a new revenue stream for Latin American companies and represents a huge opportunity for OlaClick,” Zachary Bratun-Glennon, partner at Gradient Ventures, said in a statement.
OlaClick, which also counts Y Combinator among its backers, is now present in more than 20 countries, but identifies Brazil, Mexico and Colombia as its main markets. Its platform processes more than one million orders each month from more than 45,000 restaurants.
Rico said the startup will deploy the new funds to expand its engineering and product team and expand offerings to restaurant partners. OlaClick currently allows restaurants to use their own logistics to make deliveries or customers pick them up at the restaurant. The startup plans to partner with logistics startups to offer delivery services to restaurants.
OlaClick – which processed $35 million in commission-free orders last year, a figure it hopes to reach $200 million this year – is also Meta’s first startup investment in Latin America.
“We are thrilled to support the passionate and talented team at OlaClick that helps restaurants of all sizes across Latin America reach their customers directly and optimize orders on WhatsApp,” said Sunita Parasuraman, Chief Investment Officer in experimenting with new products at Meta, in a statement.