The global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic put thousands of companies and businesses around the planet in check. The mandatory social distancing and isolation measures complicated the operation of bars and restaurants, which had to rearrange their business models. Thousands of them could not cope with the situation and had to close their doors.
So great was the change that, in just two months of quarantine, 7 out of 10 Argentines had already changed their way of paying in the different shops. According to a study by DAlessio-Irol, 44% started or intensified the use of online payments and 24% started or intensified the use of virtual wallets.
In Latin America, 35% of those surveyed for a Mastercard report declared that they use contactless payment methods with increasing frequency..In Argentina, meanwhile, the QR is positioned as the predominant solution thanks to the growth of players like MercadoPago.
In that sense, According to a survey by Coca-Cola, 95% of restaurants in the United States innovated or added a new service to their business after the pandemic.
Over the months, from the fitting out of patios and terraces, the gastronomic sector began to reinvent itself through technology.
How? An Argentine and an American developed Parra Payments, a digital solution that is committed to overcoming the crisis through innovation and thanks to the possibility of organizing in the best way what the exits will be, even post-pandemic.
Who are they?
Augusto Hassel, 32, is founder and CEO of Parra. He studied Economics at the Universidad de la Plata and worked for the main securities firms in Argentina specializing in data analysis and technology implementation.
Jonathan Rivas, 35, for his part, is the other founder and current CFO of Parra. Born in Washington, she studied finance at the University of Maryland and developed her career building bridges between entrepreneurs, finance, and technology. In 2012, Rivas joined the DCDB Group to work in Consulting and Advisory, and the following year he created DC Ventures, a Seed Capital and Advisory firm for Startups.
How was the app born?
Hassel and Rivas were in a brewery in Buenos Aires and saw the continuous movement of customers going from one queue to another, talking to each other or looking at their cell phones, while enduring a tedious wait.
At the time they agreed that this should not be the case. I mean, the idea for Parra Payments appeared almost instantly.
Instead of stopping to pay a ticket, Both began to devise a system so that customers could place their order on their cell phones: an available online menu and a payment button could solve that process in seconds.
The two met in the trading world. Augusto wrote his blog about investments and Jonathan landed in Argentina as a venture investor. They had already become friends when, in 2014, Augusto created Puerto Finanzas, the first social investment network in Argentina.
Jonathan was one of their first investors and for four years they forged a special bond: Puerto you fail, but the experience was practically a doctorate, Hassel explained, who during the following years was behind the data development of two key companies in the Argentine financial market such as Bull Market Brokers and MatbaRofex and currently works at Cohen.
The reunion of these two entrepreneurs was in the same bar where Parra’s idea was born. That day created a society with opposite but complementary profiles: Jonathan thinking about the future, Augustus with his feet more on the ground. Thus, between bold ideas and robust technical solutions, they sketched the business model that already works in Buenos Aires.
What is Parra Payments about?
Parra’s solution benefits customers and benefits bars and restaurants at the most critical moment in their history: it streamlines purchasing and consumption, optimizes human resources, improves movement within the premises, minimizes contact and organizes customer service. space with comfort as a priority.
According to the developers, the key in this new way of thinking and managing gastronomy is digitization and that is why they both prefer to talk about gastrotech.
Entrepreneurs designed Parra before the outbreak of the pandemic and planned their business model projecting to five years. In that sense, for this year, they foresee a billing of 0 pesos.
The new normal only confirmed their concerns: gastronomy can improve and technology is the way.
With a initial investment of $ 1 million of equity capital, incorporated developers, specialists from the foodie world, marketing and UX experts to their team, and focused on the design and communication of the platform.
The development The platform took about 6 months until an MVP (in March we finished it) with a dev (developer) and from then on we continue building the project, adding 2 devs (developers) along the way and another two executives for the Commercial area.
Jonathan Rivas (CFO) and Augusto Hassel (CEO), co-founders of Parra Payments
What I value most about my training in economics is statistics because it gave me tools to get into data analysis, Hassel explained.
On the other hand, updating the price list is much more efficient and organized in the mobile menu that the application incorporates.
What are the next steps for Parra Payments
In a first stage, payment processing is done by third parties, through an API. In the long term, Parra plans to process payments inhouse to optimize the financial management of its clients.
In 2021 we want to process payments outside of the Mercado Pago integration and also get the connection with the establishments’ back office, Hassel completed.