Spins, Bluestein Ventures, Spiral Sun Ventures, Siddhi Capital, CEAS Investments, and E and A Venture Capital also joined the round
From left: Grovara co-founders Abu Kamara and Peter Groverman

Philadelphia-based Grovara has raised $5.5 million in a seed funding round led by David Pottruck, former chairman of wealth management firm HighTower Advisors. The company, deemed the largest business-to-business marketplace for natural and organic brands in the US, also attracted capital from Spins, Bluestein Ventures, Spiral Sun Ventures, Siddhi Capital, CEAS Investments, and E and A Venture Capital.

As part of the investment, Pottruck joined the company as its executive chairman.

“My career has been focused on transformational technology and how consumers and businesses use it to create better outcomes,” said Pottruck. “It’s easy to see how Grovara is well-positioned for this moment with the best technology, the most authority, and industry-leading partners.”

The financing round comes at a time when the natural and organic food and beverage market and B2B e-commerce are surging. The global natural and organic products market is worth $327 billion with US brands accounting for $110 billion – 87% of B2B buyers are purchasing from online marketplaces.

Focus on wellness

Peter Groverman and Abu Kamara co-founded Grovara in 2012, according to Crunchbase data. The entrepreneurial duo launched its technology platform last year.

“For as challenging as the last year has been, it has greatly accelerated wellness and digital transformation,” said Groverman. “Our online B2B global marketplace is positioned perfectly to shepherd this growth and put the healthiest, highest-quality products in front of more retailers who previously did not have access.”

Grovara connects wellness brands and global retailers on a single B2B platform. The company claims its platform streamlines the entire product discovery, order processing and fulfilment for export, while empowering brands and retailers with wellness focused insights-driven data to accelerate growth and scale.

Major US natural and organic brands work with Grovara, including GT’s Living Foods, Wholesome Sweeteners, Honey Stinger, True Citrus, and That’s It with key global retailers like Walmart Mexico, Cencosud, Whole Foods U.K., and Costco Taiwan.

In 2020, and despite the disruption related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Grovara continued to grow its portfolio. The company anticipates onboarding 200 new brands and 350 additional retailers this year.

“We are happy to be joined by new investors and continue with some long-term partners who have helped us get to this point,” said Kamara. “Grovara is transforming global commerce for US consumer brands with the first B2B global marketplace for US natural and organic brands. When you lower barriers and simplify exporting to a marketplace, you create tremendous opportunities for brands and retailers to grow their business. It’s a game-changer.”

Grovara online marketplace

Grovara claims its platform is built on a decade of exporting experience. It has been designed to bring access, visibility, and transparency to both brands and buyers via pricing, brand and market insights, and a modern business-to-consumer user experience for B2B business.

The new investment will be used to expand sales and support resources in key regions worldwide and appoint leadership for brands, sales, and business development.

Grovara will also invest in additional supply chain team members, roll out marketing initiatives, develop global partnerships, and continue with product enhancements to its first-to-market technology platform.

The company argues that nine out of 10 US wellness brands do not export their products, primarily due to the complexities and risks of international business. Grovara’s technology platform is built to manage the export lifecycle and provide wellness-focused, insights-driven data that accelerates growth and scale.

Grovara was recently named a finalist for the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT) Enterprise Awards, to be held on June 28, in the Technology Startup category.

Date published: 26 March 2021

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