WhatsApp Grocery Shopping Is Huge In Brazil, And This Latinx Startup Wants To Take Over

Since its launch in 2009, WhatsApp has intensified instant messaging and made communicating easier for families, friends, and companies.

But in most recent years, particularly during the pandemic, it’s being used for much more.

Teachers in Africa took advantage of the platform during the lockdowns when schools were shut.

Data from a study conducted by Sabinet analyzed a WhatsApp group of 24 economics teachers and three lead teachers (heads of departments) from 15 schools in Kwazulu-Natal province, South Africa and a focus group interview was thematically analyzed to present findings.

Multimedia messages such as photos, videos, audio, documents, and text messages shared on the WhatsApp group platform between 2017 and 2018 revealed that teachers used the platform as an online community of practice.

Hence, the use of WhatsApp promotes regular and appropriate forms of professional development that can be accessed at any time for classroom practices, according to the study.

The teachers also received support from colleagues and lead teachers when faced with classroom challenges.

In Brazil, however, Whatsapp is being used in a different way.

Trela, a startup that connects food vendors to buyers on WhatsApp groups, boomed during the pandemic; when going outdoors was still risky, the service was indispensable to locals.

Trela’s CEO Guilherme Nazareth told Rest of World that he came up with the idea for the service in September 2020. That’s when Guilherme Alvarenga, who would become his co-founder, told him about a community-run WhatsApp sales group in his building in Nova Lima, Minas Gerais.

Back then, the group had 256 people, the maximum allowed by WhatsApp, and had a waiting list of over 100, reported the publication.

Although it’s not known how many people it has now and how many groups it has but the groups are reportedly in Belo Horizonte and Nova Lima, in Minas Gerais, and in São Paulo, Alphaville, and Osasco, in São Paulo state.

It plans to expand to Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre and recently received $25 million dollars in funding from a Series A round led by SoftBank.

CEO Nazareth has said that by charging a fee from its groups’ suppliers, Trela has reached an average growth rate of 45% a month, with a staff of 75 employees.

Before the change in name, it was called Zapt. Integrating with Whatsapp, Zapt made bulk purchasing easier for local communities in Brazil.

Bulk purchases enable buyers to save money on large quantities of goods, but smaller businesses or individuals often cannot access the initial capital to purchase these deals.

Using Zapt, individuals are able to band together to make purchases as a temporary group, allowing them to reap the financial benefits as a collective and save together on business costs.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.