Brazilian strategic participations organization HFPX Participações has wasted little time getting started with its investments. Having already selected MeCasar and Foome to join its portfolio, it has now chosen a third enterprise: Área Central.
Área Central is an online tool designed to manage purchases and the exchange of information in a network of businesses, logistics associates and cooperatives. The SaaS product is based on an e-procurement system that processes the sale and purchase of goods and services online. Its web-based communications keep all parties involved up-to-speed on the goings on within each specific network and allow them to track progress, changes and events.
Though Área Central is applicable to a wide range of markets, it was born out of the supermarket industry, specifically, organization-dependent supermarket chains. The first version of the Área Central product was prepared in 2006 specifically for the rubric, and after testing the market as a whole, the decision was made to move into other verticals.
The Área Central team spent months developing the solution that characterizes its product today. It provides a full built-in infrastructure and licenses for each network to utilize the platform on a web environment.
Now, Área Central hosts over 30 networks, totaling 650 companies that use the system on a daily basis. It has set out to attack a market with relatively few direct competitors in management and purchasing and is a pioneer in its niche.
Jonatan Costa, Director of Área Central, discussed the company’s product, market and plans.
Emily Stewart: You have set a goal of reaching 30% market share in the domestic market. How do you plan to get there?
Jonatan Costa: We have set out a timeline of three years to reach this market share. Our planning is based on being the best system for this niche market. We will continuously improve our tool and implement targeted marketing campaigns and events to promote the segment and professionals who want to create a commercial center.
ES: For what industries has Area Central proven most effective thus far? For what sectors does the product work best?
JC: We made a system to meet the needs of the most varied market segments. Today, we have customers in various sectors: agricultural, supermarkets, educational institutions, clinical laboratories, pharmacies, building materials, furniture, electronics, bakeries and cooperatives.
The more significant industries are supermarkets and building materials, as the market currently has the largest number of networks in these segments.
ES: E-commerce has grown significantly in Brazil as of late. To what extent is your product tied to the country’s e-commerce boom, and what role does it play within it?
JC: Our system is certainly related to e-commerce. Though it is a tool for use in a closed group, it contributes to incentivize shopping online among entrepreneurs in participating networks.
ES: Right now, you’re concentrated on the Brazilian market. Moving forward, what are your plans in terms of expansion? How may you evolve technologically?
JC: While we are focused on the Brazilian market, we have had contact with interest acquisition tool companies Portugal and Paraguay.
Of course, we want Área Central to reach these countries in the long term. But first, we must rise to the challenge of the domestic market, which is expanding and in need of solution-focused communication and shopping.
Product evolution will happen gradually, based on the experience of our customers. They are part of the whole improvement process and the inclusion of new features in the platform. The things we’ll be doing for future versions are related to video communications and visual integration between users.
Having been in existence since 2006, Área Central is a solid bet for HFPX investors, who have demonstrated openness to a wide range of proposals in the nature of their decisions to date. To learn more about Área Central, take a look at the video below.