Piensa Digital

Arturo Quiroz and Nicolás Aramayo were working together in a consulting company and came across a fact that caught their attention: in large retail chains, the in-store pick-up option covered 50% of online sales. In other words, half of shoppers would rather pick up their product in store than wait for it to arrive at their doorstep. Investigating the reasons for this phenomenon, they found that one of them was that the last mile was deficient, since one had to wait several days or even weeks for an order, the schedule was uncertain and, moreover, , there was a perception that it was an expensive service. .

“And what about small stores that have e-commerce and cannot offer this alternative?” was one of the questions Quiroz and Aramayo asked each other in 2019. In fact, Quiroz experienced this scenario up close. “I have always been linked to the world of e-commerce, which I founded a year ago, and of which I am still a member, and I could not offer a withdrawal in store. Many do not have the number of stores that retail companies have,” contextualizes the co-founder and CEO of Wareclouds.

For this reason, in May 2019, they started to develop a solution: to offer different locations, such as private offices or homes, as pick-up points. This meant that a customer could buy online and pick it up from a neighbour, a location closer to them. This is how they launched Wareclouds in September 2019.

Over the months and the confinement, the project has been transformed. First, because it wasn’t profitable to operate solely as a pick-up point, so they added a warehouse service to cut costs.

It is currently a logistics service for e-commerce that combines storage, assembly of orders and home delivery, but with a particularity: everything is done through a collaborative model, where, instead of investing in warehouses, people are in charge of storing the products. at home, they pack them and then the distributors take them to the end consumer. “To be honest, at the beginning, and without thinking too much, we abandoned this idea because we thought it was impossible for it to work well, but we were surprised. People are much more responsible than expected, higher numbers to those of a traditional winery. People have the feeling of being part of something,” adds Quiroz.

Between May and September 2019, they spent almost every weekend working on the idea. As Arturo Quiroz was part of the e-commerce ecosystem, he was part of a WhatsApp group where there were about 300 others and he took the opportunity to offer his services. About thirty people replied that they were interested, but in the end there were two who dared to try. They started making deliveries to their work office, but then two more joined them and there came a time when they were told they couldn’t do it there anymore.

The Wareclouds equipment began to move with increasing force. In February 2020, $25 million was awarded through Corfo’s Start-Up Chile, and they were able to rent a small office in Vitacura and hire a person. This place also served as a retreat point, as did Quiroz’s house and that of a cousin of Aramayo. But in March 2020, when they already had five clients, they had to put everything on hold. Given the uncertainty, they decided, instead of laying off their worker, to revamp the scenario: bring everything home and operate as a warehouse and fulfillment center, assemble orders and then forward them to the dispatcher. This was a turning point for Wareclouds, as the service became more efficient in terms of time and money.

Arturo Quiroz sat next to Nicolás Aramayo in the consulting firm where they worked and it was there that they saw the possibility of occupying offices or houses in order to cover the last mile more efficiently.

“We were in a central location, we had a warehouse in the heart of Las Condes, so the last mile was done faster and cheaper. After a month, this person sold out and referred a friend. That’s how it started to take off,” says Quiroz, who details that if you buy from one of the 197 stores that work with Warecloud before 11 a.m., the order arrives the same day, and if not , she arrives the next day. “We start making deliveries in 90 minutes,” he adds.

Nicolás Aramayo and Arturo Quiroz took advantage of the fact that the consulting firm where they worked had a great affinity with entrepreneurship and encouraged workers to read and learn from this world. “We knew the way to start something was as cheap as possible, building it the way we found out,” says the CEO.

That’s how it happened. They started with Google Sheets forms, where customers had to record orders, view them, and put them together. The second breakthrough was to create a form so that these spreadsheets could be populated faster. But as the process demanded more and more automation, they had to implement more advanced software, which would speed up the processes, and they brought a technology specialist into the team. For example, they have special inventory software that integrates with all areas.

They currently have four platforms, all connected to each other: one for e-commerce, another for the warehouse, another for the offices and another for them. The first is for the brand and allows it to be integrated into its page and to connect to its sales system, such as Shopify or Jumpseller, and from there all orders are recorded in real time, in addition to to be able to see its status. The second informs the person in the house/warehouse of the order and all the details, as well as the inventory. The third platform is for the dispatcher, which works similar to the previous ones: he receives notification of shipments and delivery details, but it also allows him to see and choose different route options to make the trip more Efficient and delivers the goods, higher number of orders. The last one is intended for the internal administration of Wareclouds which aims to ensure that the previous ones work correctly.

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Arturo Quiroz explains that his first customers were SMEs and entrepreneurs looking for this logistics solution. “They are the ones who dared to try such a disruptive model. In the beginning, it was almost impossible to convince a medium or large company to use our model because no one had validated it. Today, although we have SMEs, we now have more medium and large companies, because our model is very profitable and we can do deliveries in 90 minutes much cheaper than any other company”, details- he.

The process that a brand or company must follow to work with Wareclouds is simple: access the platform and register. “Two things can happen, depending on the size of the brand: I can offer you available cellars so you can choose the one you like the most, like Airbnb, who goes on the platform, see the cellars, people’s photos, meet a bit of his story, the brands he has worked with; Or maybe the brand says to me, “I have a lot of orders in Arica and I would like to be able to deliver the same day”, so we open a warehouse for that,” says Quiroz.

The CEO of Wareclouds says the process to join as a warehouse is just as easy. “For a person to register, we ask him for information on his place and his availability, this is the first filter. That it is not outside, that the sun does not reach it all day or that pets do not access it. Afterwards, we do an interview to find out more and find the profile, because it happened to us that people arrive in the pandemic, but to be there sporadically, and what we want is for them to see that as a full-time job,” says Quiroz.

So far, the experience has been satisfactory for the founders. Arturo Quiroz comments that “it’s something that makes us proud, especially when it comes to the houses, telling us how happy they are and how much they love Wareclouds. We’ve seen cases that move from a house to a bigger apartment to be able to take on more orders, or who have changed their travel plans to be able to continue working.

For the CEO of Wareclouds, there are two turning points in the development of the startup: when they went from simple home pick-up points to home distribution centers, and when they obtained funding to expand.

To be part of Wareclouds, users must meet certain space and availability requirements. “What we want is for them to see this as a full-time job,” Quiroz says.

When they decided to go all out with Wareclouds, they quit their jobs and gave themselves three months to raise funds. They set out to find angel investors in Chile, but found it difficult to convince them. “We had a lot of meetings, but they asked us for positions on the board of directors, weekly meetings, and even if we didn’t get along so much, it was a bit noisy”, says Arturo Quiroz. The amount they were looking for was US$100,000.

It was then that Nicolás Aramayo found the key: he had worked with Peter Fader, an American scholar from Wharton, and told him that they had quit their jobs. “Call me, I want to know what they’re doing,” he told her. It was a Tuesday. The next day they spoke on the phone, he asked for some time to talk to his partner Daniel McCarthy. On Friday they presented him with the pitch deck, on Saturday he replied that they were delighted, and on Monday the money was in the account.

This first investment took place in September 2020. The idea was to invest this money in six months, build a team and strengthen the business model. “We went from two who did everything, and who did a lot of harm, to an organized team. Today we are 24 people in five areas: growth, which is related to sales and marketing; operations, which sees day to day, that orders arrive in a timely manner; technology, which sees the platform; client experience, who sees problems with brands, offices or warehouses; and finances,” he collapses.

A year later, another Corfo fund was awarded and they closed an investment round of US$1.4 million and the aspirations grew significantly: to consolidate the business in the country and seek expansion overseas. foreign. By the way, the growth has been exponential: in 2020 they charged 205,000 dollars and in 2021 they recorded 700,000 USD, so for this year they plan to charge 2 million of the North American currency.

In Chile, its operations are in Santiago, Viña del Mar and Concepción, waiting to open Arica and other regions. Of course, also abroad, such as Mexico. “We think we can scale that, just like Airbnb has. It’s a business that doesn’t depend so much on us, but on this community that we generate; therefore, the expectations are global. We don’t see not Latin America as our target market, we see the world as our target market,” says the CEO.

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