With businesses adopting digitalization, tech-enabled B2B platform GrowSari is beefing up its services by strengthening its talent pool. GrowSari was founded in 2016 and aims to help sari-sari stores (neighborhood stores) by outfitting them with both the infrastructure and tools they need to transform themselves from simple FMCG outlets to comprehensive service hubs.
Today, GrowSari powers the management, growth, and analytics infrastructure of over 50,000 stores in 100 cities actively ordering on the platform each month. In addition to providing affordable, on-demand inventory as well as working capital loans, GrowSari’s platform also generates crucial data and insights into the operations of these stores for manufacturers and distributors to build their strategies and campaigns upon. GrowSari has also integrated multiple microservices such as telco load, bills pay, e-commerce, WiFi, and other services, allowing store-owners to maximize their capital in one wallet and easily expand their business.
Take a closer look at the team behind GrowSari, which is composed of young and dynamic industry leaders who built their expertise from working with global corporations and consultancies.
Maimai Madrid-Punzalan, chief growth and marketing officer
Prior to joining the platform, Maimai Madrid-Punzalan served as the head of Marketing for J&J Philippines and regional director for Baby Care in Southeast Asia for Johnson & Johnson.
Her longest role was at Procter & Gamble (P&G), where she was the senior regional director for Feminine Care Asia. Madrid-Punzalan also delivered unprecedented growth as the Philippines’ commercial head for its Beauty, Personal and Home Care Categories.
At GrowSari, the marketing veteran, backed by 18 years of experience, leads a team handling demand generation and growth and brand marketing for FMCG and E-Services. In her role, she hopes to nurture customer growth so sari-sari store owners can reap bigger rewards.
“Over 60% of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) shopper spending happens in sari-sari stores and yet they do not enjoy the profits that wholesalers and bigger retailers have. We hope to improve the lives of the more than one million store owners and the families they serve through our platform,” Madrid-Punzalan said.
Sandeep Bhalla, lead advisor for Financial Services
Sandeep Bhalla joins GrowSari as the lead advisor of the Financial Services team (Finserv). He has over 20 years of experience in consumer financial services. He has built and managed revenue business units in retail banking; wealth management products; credit, debit, and lending payments; and loyalty and rewards.
As he becomes part of GrowSari, Bhalla will still continue his expertise as a senior adviser at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a pioneer in business strategy. In his role, he advises strategy and implementation for financial institutions and consumer practices, focusing on fintech, risk management, digital transformation, and more. He also spent 15 years as the general manager and managing director at the USA, Singapore, and India sites of Citibank.
Bhalla takes his expertise at GrowSari, where he leads the efforts to develop the financial services vertical.
“Financial inclusion is a critical goal of the Philippine government,” Bhalla said. “Sari-sari stores, while an important part of the Philippine economy, have been left out of basic financial services by mainstream banks. At GrowSari, we see us having the unique opportunity to enable financial services capabilities for the sari-sari stores and hence bring them into the mainstream of banking.”
Leandro Alea, operations lead
Leandro has 25 years of experience under his belt, covering operations and the end-to-end supply chain practice. Under his leadership, he led manufacturing, demand planning and forecasting, inventory management, procurement services, strategic sourcing, global logistics, warehousing, fleet and transportation, and e-commerce.
Prior to GrowSari, Alea was the head of the supply chain at Lixil, which makes pioneering water and housing products. While there, the executive optimized delivery planning and loading, leading to a 43% improvement in the freight to sales ratio. He also calibrated the supply network, reducing lead time from order to delivery from 10 to two days.
Alea also spent years abroad, where he was the logistics team leader at GCC Services in Kuwait. He managed the supply chain with a 100% delivery success rate.
“Sari-sari stores play an important role in Philippine retail and the national economy. An estimated 84% of Filipinos buy goods from them, making stores a valued member of any community. We at GrowSari are looking forward to streamlining the process so store owners can earn more and enjoy better service levels,” Alea said.
Reymund “ER” Rollan, co-founder and CEO
Attracting top talent is part of GrowSari’s DNA. Reymund “ER” Rollan, co-founder and CEO, is also a veteran in some of the world’s biggest companies.
Rollan started his career in Singapore, where he held a variety of roles at P&G, including senior manager for Consumer & Market Knowledge. He joined BCG as an expert consultant at the Center for Consumer and Customer Insight in Southeast Asia. This was followed by a stint at Unilever, where he led brand development for its ice cream business in Southeast Asia and Australasia. His broad experience in dealing with the sari-sari store distribution channel helped him build and expand GrowSari.
“GrowSari is able to empower and encourage the sari-sari store owners to reach their full potential with the wide selection of affordable products, e-businesses, and financial assistance the platform offers. At the same, we strive to uplift the lives of store owners and the communities they serve. We want to make sure we help the entire sari-sari store ecosystem, so building the right team to do that is necessary,” Rollan said.