Mobile commerce in Latin America is expected to continue a healthy growth streak over the next few years, and Leadsales, a Mexican startup, wants to help small and medium businesses in Latin America manage all of those potential sales via WhatsApp and social media channels.
The conversational commerce company already has Meta as a business partner and has developed a customer relationship management tool that provides customizable columns and sales funnel automation.
Here’s how it works: Companies can store customer information and then centralize into columns chats that come in, for example, billing, product inquiries or random questions. Those chats can be assigned to the best sales leads and configured to provide recommendations and instant messages.
Roberto Peñacastro, Leadsales’ founder and CEO, started the company in 2020 after working with co-founder David Villa Cañez at Villa Cañez’s previous startup mienvio, providing logistics SaaS for LatAm e-commerce businesses. Prior to that, Peñacastro worked for Google to help small businesses scale their sales via ads.
“We quickly noticed a trend that small businesses were transitioning to selling via WhatsApp without the right tool to scale their business,” Peñacastro said via email. “Our native chat integration on our pipeline view is truly unique as no other CRM does this integration for chats, and on top of this, we’ve built a platform that is built for non-tech savvy users that takes less than five minutes to ‘plug & play.’”
Peñacastro and Villa Cañez bootstrapped the company to more than 1,400 customers, a presence in Mexico, Colombia and Perú, and $1.6 million in annual recurring revenue, before deciding to go after venture capital.
Leadsales recently closed on $3.7 million of seed funding, led by Ulu Ventures and Blue Pointe Ventures, to make more hires and expand into Brazil. The country is a big user of WhatsApp and is where Meta is piloting native payments integration via WhatsApp, Peñacastro said.
Leadsales joins a growing group of conversational commerce startups raising capital in the past few years; for example Yalo, Whym, Charles and Wizard. Even Walmart is doing it. However, Peñacastro said Leadsales’ closest competitors are the more traditional customer relationship management companies like HubSpot, Salesforce and Pipedrive.
“Our moat is that current CRMs are becoming old for the new trends of conversational commerce through instant chat,” he said. “The way we are different is on our native integration with chat for small businesses that rely on WhatsApp communications to get the sales closed.”
In addition to Brazil, the company has plans to expand into India, Africa and Southeast Asia with a Series A in the near future.
Peñacastro expects to double Leadsales’ customers by the end of 2023 following the launch in Brazil next month and then 10x the company’s annual recurring revenue in 2024.