Editor’s note: This article by Dmitri Sarle originally appeared on ArcticStartup, an independent tech blog that reports on digital startups and growth entrepreneurship from the Nordic and Baltic countries.
After investing in three companies (VALO, FUSION, and RBN), Finnish IT company Reaktor announced a new investment arm of the company – POLTE. Just last week, they made their first investment into Ninchat and today they came out with the news that they invested into Avansera and their shopping list app – OstosNero. They claim that they will be able to save up to 40% on groceries and other fast-moving consumer goods.
When we last spoke to Oskari Kettunen, the head of the POLTE project, he did mention that they are evaluating many companies and that the pace will be fast. However we did not expect it to be this fast. This time around, the total investment is undisclosed as the seed round has multiple angel investors on board that prefer to stay anonymous.
Still, Kettunen was able to tell us that their participation in this round of investment is €55 000. As usual, POLTE will also provide mentorship and knowledge of the Reaktor team.
Avansera is aiming to create a shopping list application that will be able to recommend the best store for any day of shopping based on your grocery list and current prices. There are similar services already in place in the UK and Spain, where the annual savings have been as high as 40%, which is what the local team is trying to achieve.
The pricing data will be received from the retailers themselves, as many of them are willing to open their systems to provide the pricing information directly. In other cases, crowdsourcing might be the solution to get updated prices.
Worldwide this is a very competitive space, if you search for a grocery list app in either Android or iOS markets, you will find dozens if not hundreds of options. Kettunen commented that they chose Avansera because:
“It is a very practical advantage to anyone. Saving real money to anyone. So there is a very good chance of getting users”.
Which is definitely true, as most of the shopping list applications focus on a different problem altogether.
An additional hook, which might motivate the reatailers to work with the company is the fact that they are also going to supply them with with up-to-date analytical data on consumer behavior. They will be able to answer questions like “Does bad weather or perhaps a big local event affect shopping behaviour?” and this is enticing to the fast moving consumer goods retailers and producers.
Oskari Kettunen further commented that: “[they] have done a fantastic job in creating a useful service that has been eagerly awaited by primary producers and the entire food industry sector. Technical terms such as ‘metrics’, ‘analytics’ and ‘big data’ have become staples of online business in recent years. This application brings these to daily shopping, for the benefit of consumers. It is quite rare to get the opportunity to offer help in consumers’ everyday life and maybe even revolutionize the Finnish retail sector at the same time.”
In addition to saving money and providing analytics, there is of course the social responsibility aspect to consider. As Cormac Walsh, CEO of Avansera comments: “Every year, 70 million kilograms of food is thrown away at grocery stores. The Ostosnero service offers stores up-to-date information about consumers’ shopping behavior and helps cut wastage.”
Avansera is planning to launch this spring. While we wait, we are also going to keep a close eye on POLTE as we expect more investments to come. Should we expect another one next week?
“Could be,” said Kettunen.
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