The procurement process today in Latin America is complicated and expensive, co-founder and CEO Jorge Vizcayno told TechCrunch. He explained that restaurants, hotels and catering companies typically have to go to crowded markets, negotiate with several vendors, verify the quality of the products and arrange for transportation — often having to drive hours to pick it up themselves.
On the other side, farmers and distributors face uncertainty about the quality of their products once they leave their facilities, having enough quantity to meet demand and if they are getting a fair price.
The market for fresh produce in Mexico is expected to grow by $4 billion over the next four years, so Vizcayno and co-founder Blanca Espinosa started Alima in June 2021 to help solve these problems in anticipation of that growth.
Vizcayno’s background is in mechatronics engineering, machine learning and data science, and he co-founded Tuibo, a smart wearable device for cyclists, and was former chief technology officer of Byprice, a price comparison platform in Mexico, before forming Alima. Espinosa, who is Alima’s chief marketing officer, previously held growth and marketing roles with Coca-Cola FEMSA, Amazon and Uber.
Alima’s platform digitizes and optimizes procurement, transport and traceability using artificial intelligence and analytics integration so that less food is spoiled. Now instead of going to the market each morning, businesses can order items as late as 10 p.m. and have it delivered to their shops by 7 a.m.
The company currently offers 800 product SKUs, but Espinosa says Alima is willing to do the homework for customers so they don’t have to go to more than one place to find items.