Washington, D.C., June 10, 2014
—IFC, member of the World Bank Group, is investing along with other firms in Scanntech, a Uruguay-based firm that is revolutionizing the way independent and traditional retail sectors in emerging markets professionalize and integrate with providers. The company's technology platform connects independent stores with global consumer products companies, financial and telecommunications firms, and government services.
IFC’s investment will help fuel the roll-out of Scanntech’s technology across emerging and developing markets, which has the potential to professionalize traditional retail sectors by making information more accessible and transparent along the entire supply chain.
Scanntech’s platform drives growth of small mom-and-pop and independent stores by connecting them directly to large consumer products companies and allowing them to access the same promotions as large retail chains. The company has developed an innovative point-of-sale system that helps stores manage their transactions, optimize inventory levels, and view professional reports on store performance, giving owners more clarity and assertiveness in their operations.
Through integration with services companies, stores also have access to a variety of value-added products (e.g., card payments, mobile top up, social assistance benefits) to end-consumers which drive foot traffic and promote financial inclusion.
To partners from the consumer products and services industries – including the telecommunications, banking, payments, government / social assistance, and transportation sectors – the Scanntech system offers an unparalleled understanding of real-time stock-keeping unit (SKU) information and integration into the traditional store channel, which drives more than 60-70% of retail sales in emerging markets, and which without the platform is extremely fragmented and difficult to reach.
Scanntech is present in 5 countries with more than 35 million monthly transactions and is in the process of expanding to new countries, including Brazil, Peru, and Colombia.
Raul Polakof, co-founder and CEO of Scanntech, said, “this investment is a major step along Scanntech’s path toward a global presence, and we are proud to have the IFC join our vision of integrating independent and traditional retailers across the emerging world with providers into a single platform.”
Scanntech will also be able to leverage IFC’s vast experience in the financial technology (FinTech) and electronic payment sectors. IFC has a dedicated team focusing on the industry and has a portfolio of 16 investments worldwide, making IFC one of the institutional investors with the deepest expertise in these areas.
“IFC’s support is recognition of Scanntech’s innovative business model and our commitment to help small retailers succeed through the use of new technologies and working in cooperation with consumer products companies. I believe that with IFC’s deep experience in key expansion markets, we will be able to have a large impact together,” said Polakof.
Irene Arias, IFC’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said that through this investment “we expect to help Scanntech expand its business model to other markets, with the end goal of raising the productive capacity of the region.”
“We look forward to our partnership with Scanntech and to using our industry expertise to support its regional expansion,” Arias said.
Sequoia Capital, which made its first investment in Latin America with Scanntech in the previous round, and other undisclosed investors have also participated in the round.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit