Supermarkets’ bets on startups

Chains seek partnership or creation of internal initiatives to foster innovation


In recent years, startups have become leading players both in growth and in their ability to bring solutions to the world. They have entered the radar of several companies, which buy their operations with the expectation of growing market share or solving a repressed demand in-house. 

It has been no different in the supermarket sector, which sees in these young companies the possibility of bringing something new to the scenario and gaining competitiveness. The large chains have been investing in various ways to foster innovation in startups, as in the case of Carrefour. 

Carrefour launches incubator with focus on intrapreneurship

The French chain has a bold goal of becoming the leader in food sales in the world by 2022, and for this it depends heavily on its operation in Brazil – one of the largest of the company. Therefore, in 2019 the network created Carrefour eBusiness Brasil (CeBB) to accelerate the group’s Digital Transformation and get closer to startups. 

Recently, the company’s financial division (Banco Carrefour) launched an incubator to foster intrapreneurship – inviting Carrefour’s own employees to participate in the project to create innovative solutions and, at the end, receive a financial injection from the institution, which becomes an investor or customer of the created startup.

Grupo Shibata targets incentive and cryptocurrency startup

Also focused on bringing innovation and opening a competitive edge, Grupo Shibata Group made a bold move when it made a financial injection of R$15 million in the Wiboo startup. The supermarket chain, originally from Mogi das Cruzes, is now a partner of the online engagement platform responsible for creating the first Brazilian cryptocurrency, Wibx. 

The investment will be used to expand Wiboo’s participation in the retail market, to hire new employees and, mainly, to leverage the development of solutions focused on Artificial Intelligence and digital security for fraud prevention. 

GPA targets new channels, including marketplace

Since 2018, GPA has been approaching the universe of startups for the development of new digital products. In the same year, the group opened the GPA Lab, an innovation and digital transformation center to foster new ideas. At the end of 2018, the company acquired delivery startup James Delivery to expand the startup’s national market share in locations where GPA is present.

This past week, the company ended its exclusive partnership with James Delivery and expanded its range of digital channels with the announcement of its entry into the marketplace sector via Mercado Livre. The group seeks to increase the contact points with customers on the web to improve results in the first quarter of 2021, and to do so, it has increased the number of platforms where the Pão de Açúcar and Extra banners are present. 

In addition to Mercado Livre, the group has debuted its stores on Cornershop, Rappi and iFood, and by the end of the year it plans to reach Supermercado Now, a pioneering online supermarket startup acquired in 2020 by B2W.