Brazilian healthy food startup is expanding in Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian healthy food startup Liv Up will start operations in Rio de Janeiro, replicating the business model of São Paulo.

Liv Up, a healthy food startup, is ready to start operations in Rio de Janeiro, with an initial investment of R$4 million ($760K). The operation will follow the business model of the capital city of São Paulo, with online orders via the website or application and home deliveries in Barra da Tijuca, Niterói, Parish, Centro, Jacarepaguá, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Ilha do Governador, São Conrado and Zona Sul. 

For sustaining the expansion, the company projects a 50% increase in the local team, going from the current 20 employees to 30 by the end of October. 

Rio de Janeiro: A healthy city for business

Rio de Janeiro appears in fifth place in the Ranking of Brazilian Capitals Friend of Physical Activity, developed by researchers from PUC-PR (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro). “Since our foundation, in 2016, the website’s data indicate that many users are from Rio and that there is a demand in the region”, says Castellani. Liv Up expects to double last year’s revenues, from $19 M to $38 M in 2021.

People live a very healthy lifestyle in Rio de Janeiro, mainly because of the appreciation of the sport”

Henrique Castellani, co-founder of Liv Up

The expansion is driven by the investment of R$ 180 million, announced in June, led by the Lofoten Capital fund, with participation by the funds ThornTree Capital Partners and Kaszek Ventures. With the reinforced cash, the company intends to advance its national expansion strategy, arriving in Brasília (DF), Belo Horizonte (MG), Curitiba (PR), and Campinas (SP) next year. Yesterday (21), Liv Up announced a R$50 million extension of the series D round made by Globo Ventures, raising the total raised to R$230 million. “This new round should support us in expansion, portfolio diversification and new investments in technology and staff”, says Victor Santos, CEO of Liv Up.

The company’s next steps are already outlined. Liv Up, which already offers frozen meals and an online market (with fresh vegetables, bread, meats, fish and dairy products), is expected to expand its delivery of pizzas and salads for immediate consumption, incorporating new cuisines. “This is one of the fronts that we have the most feedback from customers. The advantage is that it can be incorporated into any urban environment, where people have little time and need to be practical when eating,” says Castellani. For the next few years, he does not rule out an international expansion, to be structured probably from 2023 onwards. “It is something we want, but we are going to focus on Brazil first, and then think about global expansion.”

The strategy to expand and maintain the appeal is to invest in family farming. “Food is very regional. It’s no use applying a formula throughout Brazil because there are many tastes and specificities”, says Castellani. The company has been working with small producers to build its supplier base, which will be incorporated into the 40 farming families that already have the startup in São Paulo. The partnership follows a dedicated planting model, in which producers supply their products exclusively to Liv Up.