JOKR evaluates strategic options for Mexican unit; could sell it in 1Q23 - CEO

Interview 14 February

JOKR evaluates strategic options for Mexican unit; could sell it in 1Q23 - CEO

JOKR, a New York-based grocery and retail delivery company, could sell its Mexican business unit in 1Q23, CEO Ralf Wenzel said.

The company, which is backed by Softbank [TYO:9984], is currently reviewing strategic options for its Mexican unit, including a potential sale, a stake sale, or a merger with a local peer, he said. It does not plan to hire external advisors to help with the review, he added.

It is currently in talks with three strategic investors interested in taking over, acquiring a stake, or merging with its Mexican unit, the executive said.

The move follows JOKR’s decision to exit all its other markets to focus exclusively on Brazil, where it is closer to profitability and the only country where it is vertically integrated and can buy directly from local farmers and producers, the CEO said.

JOKR has launched 40 own food and beverage products, including wine brand INO, as reported. 

The company has invested more than 60% of all the capital it has raised in Brazil, which last year represented more than 70% of JOKR’s sales, Wenzel said. It plans to move its headquarters from New York to Sao Paulo later this year.

Investors in JOKR´s Series C round were “excited” about JOKR’s pivot to focus solely on Brazil, he said. The round was led by Chicago-based G Squared. Menlo Park, California-based GGV Capital, New York City-based Tiger Global, and Munich-based HV Capital also participated in the round.

Last year, JOKR halted its operations in Europe, Chile, Colombia, and the US, Wenzel said. And earlier this month, it sold its Peruvian unit to retailer InRetail Peru.

Wenzel co-founded JOKR in March 2021 alongside North LATAM CEO Peralta, CCO Ben Bauer, COO Aspa Lekka, Chief Marketing and Data Officer Konstantin Sorger, Chief Product and Tech Officer Sven Grajetzki, and South LATAM CEO Gonzalo Pozo, he said.

Other online grocery and retail delivering companies operating in Latin America include Mexico City-based Justo, Colombia’s Rappi and Merqueo, Sao Paulo-based Supermercado Now, and Uber Technologies [NYSE:UBER] Cornershop, according to Mergermarket data. 

Mergermarket reported last year that Justo planned to take advantage of its war chest and the pullback in venture funding and the resulting drop in startups’ valuations to pursue acquisitions.

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