“ICYMI (in case you missed it) What’s New in SMB Tech” is a periodic series on LSA Insider that curates and offers brief commentary on recent events related to the emerging SMB SaaS ecosystem that you may have overlooked. This week we feature Muy Tech, Facebook, Greytip Software, and more.
Colombian Cloud Kitchen Muy Tech Raises $15 Million
Muy Tech, a Colombian company that one of its investors describes as “cloud kitchen meets Chipotle”, has raised a $15 million B round to further develop its technology and expand into Mexico and Brazil, according to TechCrunch.
The company has developed technology that uses AI to produce food based on forecasted demand, reducing food waste. Muy currently operates 20 physical dining locations. Consumers can place a personalized food order at one of its locations or through its mobile app.
While Muy does have physical locations where consumers can sit down and eat, it’s end game seems clearly focused on creating a cloud kitchen platform where consumers can have customized meals delivered to their homes. Food delivery apps are very popular in congested Latin American cities. Muy’s founder José Calderón is a seasoned restaurant tech entrepreneur, having founded food ordering app Domicilios.com, which was acquired by Delivery Hero.
In April Muy Tech raised a $4 million Series A round, which followed a $1 million angel round.
We’ve covered the cloud kitchen movement extensively on The LSA Insider. The concept, a natural result of the popularity of food delivery apps like GrubHub and Postmates, involves creating kitchens that do not serve physical restaurant locations but rather produce food at maximum efficiency exclusively for home delivery. Cloud kitchens are seen as a threat to chain restaurants and QSRs, though these organizations may also embrace cloud kitchens as a way to serve more customers with fewer physical locations.
Facebook Usage Down by 26% Since 2017
A new report from Activate Inc. says Americans are spending less time on Facebook than before. In fact, usage is off by 26% sine 2017. The reports says that in 2017 Americans spent an average of about 13 hours a month on Facebook. By this year, Americans have whittled it down to nine and a half hours. The combination of Facebook and Facebook Messenger grew by 2% during the same two-year period.
The gradual shift, particularly among younger consumers, away from Facebook in favor of newer, more image or video-driven platforms like Instagram (owned by Facebook), Snap, and TicToc, has been widely reported. The new Activate report shows Snap and Instagram usage up modestly and TicToc usage exploding. This makes sense given TickToc is the hot new thing.
The chart below doesn’t answer is to what degree Facebook’s privacy scandals and its role in the “fake news” drama have impacted the usage declines.
Indian Cloud HR Startup Raises $4.9 Million
Greytip Software, an HR and payroll SaaS player serving SMBs in India and the Middle East has raised a $4.9 million Series C round. InfoEdge is the lead investor with participation from including existing investor MegaDelta Capital.
India’s SMB sector is enormous, estimated at 42.5 million, which accounts for 95% of the industrial units in the country. Greytip has barely scratched the surface of its opportunity in India. It currently operates in 150 cities, has 9,000 customers and processes one million payslips each month.
Tech Makes This a Very Good Time to Start a Small Business
An article in USA Today asserts that today isn’t just a good time to start a business. It is the best time ever in history to start a business. And the reason is technology.
This point of view was a big part of why the LSA began researching small business tech adoption starting in 2017. We saw the emerging tech ecosystem that is empowering small businesses with tools that were once only available to enterprises. Now SMBs routinely access this power through their smartphones.
USA Today name drops a long list of tools that have made it easier for SMBs to find customers, manage operations, borrow money, get paid, and so on. The list includes Keap, UpWork, GoDaddy, PayPal, Yahoo Small Business (for its new Business Maker tool), and others.
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