OneCart is a fast-moving consumer goods marketplace and logistics platform which was launched in 2016 by Lynton Peters and Ariel Navarro. The startup partners with retailers to enable fast, efficient and flexible online sales and home delivery countrywide.
The online startup provides access to products across frozen, dry grocery, fresh foods, alcohol baby, health and beauty, household, and pet supplies – all these categories are made available to consumers via a single shopping interface.
According to Peters, the company is as an “Uber” version for groceries and its main mission is to be South Africa’s most trusted and respected fast moving consumer goods market-place and logistics platform.
The startup aims to do this by providing the “ultimate convenience and flexibility” to the online customer.
OneCart has so far partnered with many retailers and the malls they belong to, this ensures that they readily supply this convenience and flexibility without an added price burden to the client.
The company makes sure that their selected shoppers are trained to pick the best ingredients as per your orders.
Lynton Peters was born in Durban and studied electronic engineering at UKZN. He’s always had the passion for creating services that fulfilled needs of society, while at the same time, disrupting the status quo.
At some point, Peters lived in Singapore and used to take a cab every week to buy his groceries.
During that time, he thought it would great if he could do groceries online and spend his time doing things he enjoyed, instead of wasting precious energy and time on grocery shopping. That was when the idea of OneCart was born.
When he moved back to SA, he felt the same way and saw an opportunity to build a platform for an effective way to do groceries and essentials online.
In 2016, OneCart’s co-founder, Ariel Navarro moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg to help streamline his family’s business systems, by introducing the company into the digital space.
During that period, Navarro used his expertise and network in the tech start-up space to link up with Peters.
When Peters presented the idea of OneCart, Navarro was very skeptical due to the complexity surrounding its business model. As time went on, the idea of them tackling OneCart grew into something more tangible.
According to Navarro, Peters brought so much enthusiasm around the idea of OneCart, so much so that it stuck with him and ultimately felt the synergy that existed.
The tough journey….
Prior to OneCart any getting any sort of funding, the business was bootstrapped by both Lynton and Navarro. In 2018, the startup landed an undisclosed seed investment from a South African investor based in the US.
According to Navarro, the startup has certainly grown beyond unimaginable limits but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
Things were so bad in 2018 that the startup only did 30 orders in an entire month but fast forward to 2022, they are now processing hundred thousands of orders in a month.
In 2019, they had run out of funds and were forced to take out a loan in order to pay their staff.
To keep the business afloat, they were both working two jobs during the initial phases. They weren’t drawing any salary as they wanted to put everything into the venture.
It was tough and the worst part is that they had some offers on the table but had to reject them because they weren’t anything concrete.
Peters and Navarro had so many sleepless as the two had to think of how they would expand their operations, while at the same time, ensuring the job safety of every one of their staff members.
The team were close to giving up several times but agreed with the, “let’s just try this for one last month and see what happens. Five days later, the startup secured their multi-million rand deal….
….It is the classical example of not giving up and grinding to the very end.
In August 2021, after 5 years of grinding, Massmart acquired 87.5% of OneCart for an undisclosed amount. This move expanded Massmart’s ability to serve consumers more effectively.
The acquisition forms part of Massmart’s e-commerce growth strategy.