Da Mata looks for what was missing from the salad: a check for R$ 5 million
A little soup, a little salad. Da Mata, a delivery startup that already makes R$ 8 million in sales in the capital of São Paulo, wants to scale. In a market of capitalized rivals such as Olga Ri (who has just received a BRL 30 million contribution from Kaszek), Greentable and Livup, the startup founded by sisters Juliana and Isabella Siqueira is looking for the missing ingredient on the plate: a check for BRL 5 million.
Da Mata is in talks with potential investors to bring in the necessary resources for the expansion. In approaches with family offices and managers with experience in the food industry, the startup is making a pitch that explores the potential of opening new dark kitchens to cover the whole of Greater São Paulo by 2023.
The startup’s trajectory began in 2017, when the two sisters decided to start assembling salads for delivery to the kitchen of a house in Brooklyn — at the same address where the company’s office and the kitchen that receives the most orders are still located. At that time, Da Mata sold 20 to 30 orders a day – currently, there are more than a thousand – and ended up attracting the interest of Caio Ciampolini, who invested in the business to scale the brand, preserving the use of organic products as a differential.
“From the beginning, I understood that the differentials in this business were the brand and the product. Everyone has a platform: you get a white label, put it on iFood, use logistics with a similar format. The heart of the company is to have a strong and recognized brand, with a very clear purpose”, says Ciampolini, who became the startup’s CEO and controller. “When I found Da Mata, the company already had a relationship with small organic producers, good recipes. It was something very valuable that was being underutilized.”
At Da Mata, Ciampolini is not a first-time entrepreneur. After starting his career in the financial market, with a stint at Safra bank in New York, he founded Startando, in 2012. The crowdfunding platform raised R$ 2 million for cultural projects, but it didn’t last long. At the time, the executive ended up accepting an invitation to become a member of CluBeer, a craft beer subscription club later acquired by Wine. It was there, the chip fell: he really liked to undertake in the food business.
“At that time, I noticed three very strong trends: delivery, healthy eating and the demand for organic products”, says Ciampolini. Upon taking over Da Mata, the businessman brought in Giovanna Kalichtzuk as COO. Later, the two bought the share of the founding partners and, today, they are the only owners. Ciampolini holds 90% of the shares and Kalichtzuk 10%. Together, the two have already invested R$ 1.3 million in the company, which until today operates with capital from the partners.
Since then, management has become professional, but the product idealized by the sisters has remained. Da Mata still produces its salads and soups with organic products. In order not to leave anything to be desired in terms of flavor, the brand brought in chef Marcelo Felipe, formerly of Maní and Ema, to redesign the menu.
Currently, Da Mata has four dark kitchens in the center of the capital, one of them recently opened and a total of 50 employees. To also serve the ABC region, a plan that should be implemented by the end of next year, at least five more units will be needed. Still this year, the company is betting on the opening of another kitchen and a concept restaurant in the city center, for quick meals with self-service on site or take away. Expansion to other capitals and the interior of the state is for later, but no franchises: the idea is to continue opening their own kitchens.
Another pillar of the strategy is diversification. In the second half of last year, the soups, which were seasonal on the menu, gained their own vertical, Da Mata Sopas. The company is still preparing to launch a new brand in 2022, Da Mata Poke, which will serve the traditional Hawaiian dish.
In January, the company also launched Maialino, a brand of paninos — an Italian sausage sandwich recipe on ciabatta bread. Maialino already represents 15% of revenues and should be responsible for 30% by the end of the year, when the startup expects to reach revenues of R$ 20 million. Despite the separate menus and bills for delivery, everything is produced in the same kitchens.
To serve customers, the company has its own platform where orders for its brands Da Mata Salada and Da Mata Sopa can be placed. The proprietary system is responsible for 25% of sales. Most orders, however, still arrive through partner apps, such as Rappi and iFood.
For some time, the company has also been researching ways to reduce the waste generated by delivery – a real nightmare for consumers, exacerbated by the pandemic. Today, after two years of testing with Já Fui Cassava, Da Mata finally got rid of plastic. The startup now only uses packaging produced only with cassava fiber, water and air, which, when discarded in nature, becomes fertilizer in 20 days.
Source: Value Pipeline