LOOK: Former Lazada CEO Joins Sari-Sari Store B2B Platform

Packworks, a local startup platform for sari-sari stores, welcomes former Lazada Chairman and CEO Ray Alimurung to its board of advisors.

In the Philippines, there are about 1.1 million sari-sari stores that drive around 60% of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sales in the country. Numbers also show that 41% percent of FMCG purchases in 2022 came from neighborhood sari-sari stores. With their high demand, many Filipinos become eager to have their own business—regardless of how big or small it is.

Although Filipinos have grown accustomed to transacting with sari-sari stores for their purchases, these stores eventually need to adapt to technology and leverage them for their own use. To help these local merchants, there have been several companies that introduced innovation in terms of collecting payments, keeping track of expenses, and even budget planning.

Among those is Packworks, a startup company that works as a business-to-business (B2B) platform for sari-sari store owners. A kind of transaction that occurs between businesses, B2B “refers to business that is conducted between companies, rather than between a company and individual consumer.”

And to further its mission of bringing technology-based solutions to Filipino merchants, Packworks tapped Lazada’s former Chairman and CEO Ray Alimirung to be a part of their Board of Advisors. 

Onboarding a New Advisor 

“Mr. Alimurung has been at the forefront of the e-commerce industry in the Philippines, and his addition to Packworks’ Board of Advisors brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our pursuit of further unlocking the potential of our saripreneurs and nanaypreneurs,” said Ibba Bernardo, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Packworks.

“We are excited about what he will bring to the table towards our mission of enhancing the B2B open platform for sari-sari stores and driving the growth of the country’s e-commerce landscape. We look forward to his invaluable insights as we continue to uplift MSMEs,” Bernardo added.

Alimirung currently works as a general partner of the investment firm Kaya Founders. Before that, he led Lazada’s Philippine expansion as its first Filipino CEO from 2018 to 2022, and he also served as the CEO of aCommerce Philippines and worked with Amazon. 

By joining Packworks, Alimirung will be working side by side with:

  • Former DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez
  • Angkas Founder Angeline Tham 
  • ZQR Corp. founder and CEO Simon Paterno, also the former President and CEO of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)
  • Former Executive Vice President of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
  • Integrated Microelectronics, Inc. CEO and Vice Chairman Arthur Tan, also President and Chief Executive Office of AC Industrial at Ayala-View

The Company’s Future Goals 

After the company raised $2 million (around PHP 113 million) in seed funds in August last year, it also launched a mobile enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, which allowed it to provide technology solutions to over 200,000 stores across the country. Through their app, sari-sari store owners can check pricing tools, inventory management, sales and revenue tracking, and working capital loans. 

With a new Board of Advisors member on board, Packworks will represent the Philippines at the Startup World Cup 2023 in Silicon Valley, USA, in December. This comes after their victory in Ignite 2022’s Startup World Cup (SWC) x Wildfire Pitch competition in October last year.

As companies like this continue to expand their reach and try to learn more from the experts in the industry, they can further improve what they cater to their users. By learning more about retail and e-commerce, fintech companies can find better ways to inspire users to embrace technology and leverage it for what works best for their businesses.