Interview with Federico Sargenti, Ceo at Supermercato24 and Key Speaker at the first Colazione iStarter/FoodTech.

Martina Di Paola / 22 Jan 2019

Federico Sargenti has been living and working in technology since ever: at the age of 18, he founded a web company (HwManiac), at 21 he created his own coin-op, at 24 he graduated Summa cum Laude in Electronic Engineering from “Università Politecnica delle Marche”.

With more than 10 years of experience in E-Commerce, Technology, Retail, Business Development, Negotiation and Supply Chain, Federico is the CEO of Supermercato24 since May 23, 2016.

From 2012 to 2016, he was Head of Amazon FMCG (Grocery, Wine, Beauty, Health & Personal Care) for Italy and Spain, Sales & Marketing, Procurement & Supply Chain.

Federico Sargenti has been working in international environments in 4 different countries (Italy, Australia, Switzerland and Luxembourg), first as an entrepreneur, then as a Logistic Director for manufacturing B2B companies (Prysmian Group, Elco and Ariston Thermo Group), finally as a Senior Manager and Head of FMCG at Amazon.

Federico will be the key speaker at our first Colazione iStarter dedicated to FoodTech. Let’s know better our special guest!

 

The European FoodTech startup raised $ 6.5 billion between 2013 and 2018, according to data from the report “The State of European Food Tech 2018” by Five Seasons Ventures and Deal Room. Therefore, this is a rapidly growing sector, above all for delivery.

What is your analysis of the FoodTech market at a European level? Will it continue to follow this growth trend in the future?

European investments in FoodTech startups are still low compared to the ones in the US or China. Still, we see positive sign in Europe where investors are starting to look at EU tech companies and startups as disruptors or enabler of traditional food business. On the other hand, traditional food and grocery players are understanding more and more that they need to move forward and integrate technology in their offerings/products.

Speaking specifically of the grocery industry, I believe the European context is in the early phase of a massive shift from offline to online. So far, growth, especially in southern Europe, has been limited by a lack of offer, but we’re noticing that things are changing fast with the entrance of new players and increasing investments from retailers. The successful model will be the result of a an integration between traditional grocery retailers and tech companies like us, enablers and able to scale both in big and small cities.

And how is it in Italy?
Italy is still a small market in terms of startup investment but is fast growing (more than $0.5B raised last year) and international investor are realizing that it is an undervalued market. Food in italy is almost a religion hence we are seeing many startup innovating in this area.

Regarding grocery market, the Italian grocery market is very fragmented: top 5 retailers own less than 40% of national grocery market and online penetration is still very low (<1%) but fast growing (+40% YoY). Moreover, in Italy only 13M of the total 60M inhabitants are located in big/high density areas addressable by competitors using traditional e-grocery models. This scenario creates the right environment to build a marketplace as Supermercato24, as Instacart has done in the US.

Now let’s move on to your specific project “Supermercato24″. How was your project born?
Supermercato24 was born in Verona (Italy), in 2015. Throughout these four years, we have established a leading position in Italy, growing revenues threefold every year and is now partnering with more than 14 grocery retailers including the top 3 Italian retailers (measured by turnover). Service is now active in 28 Italian cities, with some of them already profitable at contribution margin level, and we’ve just launched key partnerships as the ones with LIDL and Carrefour.

Our key differentiation factor is our logistics model, that allows us to scale in low density areas, provide customers with a huge selection of stores, offering the same store assortment and, last but not least, a personalized experience thanks to a community of “personal shoppers”, heading to the supermarket and carefully making the grocery ordered by the client.

In 2018, “Supermercato24” collected 13 million euros. We know that you would use part of the harvest for an internationalisation of your project. Where do you plan to expand? In which geographical regions and why?
Our focus will be on Europe, as Supermercato24 is already the biggest on-demand e-grocery marketplace in terms of revenues in the old continent. We’re already talking with current and prospects retailers to expand the service across Europe to successfully replicate the Instacart’s case.

Thanks Federico for your time and for your vision about FoodTech in Europe and in Italy. Good luck for the future of Supermarket 24!