Online delivery startup Mercato closes fresh funding to connect consumers with independent grocers and local specialty food shops
In the U.S., the percentage of consumers who purchased groceries online this last year surged from about 23.1% to 36.8%, according to Coresight Research. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, the 2019 percentage equates to about 93 million online grocery purchasers, a gain of nearly 35 million from last year. According to eMarketer’s Grocery Ecommerce 2019 report, U.S. grocery e-commerce is estimated to be at $19.89 billion in 2019 to rank as the fastest-growing product category online.
Enter Mercato, an eCommerce startup founded by Bobby Brannigan, an entrepreneur who grew up working in his parent’s grocery store in Brooklyn, New York. He created Mercato to level the playing field by bringing online shopping and delivery to independent grocers and their valued customers.
Mercato is an online grocery marketplace that connects consumers with local merchants. Consumers can order fresh local groceries online from the stores they love, and have them delivered to their door. Grocery e-commerce and delivery is becoming more and more in demand by consumers and Mercato is working to ensure independents can compete in this growing segment. What differentiates Mercato from other online grocery companies is that the platform was designed specifically to meet the unique e-commerce needs of independent grocery stores and specialty food retailers.
Today, the New York-based Mercato announced it has closed a funding to expand its market base of over 750 independent grocers across the U.S., increase sales and marketing, and further develop analytics and services for grocery retailers. The total amount of the funding was not disclosed. The round was led by Greycroft, a leading venture capital firm focused on investments in the Internet and mobile markets, among others. Others backers in the funding round is previous investor Loeb Enterprises, managed by Michael Loeb, who was instrumental in the development and funding of Priceline.com.
Founded in 2015 by Bobby Brannigan, Dave Bateman, Edward Politis, Jesse Villanueva, Matthew Alarie, and Michael Mason, Mercato is an online ordering and delivery platform for independent grocery stores. The eCommerce startup Mercato offers ecommerce and same-day delivery of high-quality groceries and specialty foods from more than 750 independently owned stores across the country.
“My family is in the grocery business and I grew up working in our family store. This experience highlighted to me the real disadvantage independents have when it comes to technology, innovation, and marketing. We want to level the playing field and allow these great local businesses to win against their competition, whoever it is,” said Bobby Brannigan, tech entrepreneur and Mercato founder and CEO. “Mercato is the only platform that allows consumers to discover the best local grocers and specialty food retailers in their area. Besides all of the traditional pantry staples and packaged foods, customers get access to the freshest produce, fish, meat, ethnic and prepared foods, and can have them delivered to their home or business in about an hour.”
Mercato enables merchants to throttle orders, define delivery lead times, communicate directly with their customers, and easily add items and change prices in real time on their Mercato storefront. Mercato also allows merchants to access product and pricing analytics to determine trends and manage inventory. Mercato handles the deliveries through its nationwide courier network and can often deliver up to 15 miles, or more.
“Mercato has been successful based on two important factors: its technology and its unique ability to serve the needs of independent grocers,” said Ian Sigalow, co-founder of Greycroft. “We believe in the company’s disciplined vision, strong management and vast market potential and look forward to working with them as the team continues to expand into new markets across the country.”