Colombian startup Tul raises $181 million, plans Brazil, Mexico expansion

By Aluisio Alves

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Colombian startup Tul, an e-commerce platform that sells construction materials to small-sized retailers, announced on Tuesday it has raised $181 million in a funding round as it prepares to expand to Brazil and Mexico.

The funding round, which was led by 8VC with participation of Avenir Growth, valued Tul at about $700 million. The Colombian firm already had Softbank Group Corp, Tiger Global, Lightrock, Coatue, Foundamental, Vine, Marathon Labs and H20 as partners.

Tul was founded in March 2020 and serves as a connection between small construction materials retailers and large suppliers of products such as steel and cement, including Gerdau SA, Henkel, Tigre, Bosch and Cemex.

The Colombian startup owns storage facilities in some Latin American cities and has a delivery network similar to those of iFood and Rappi, which allows it to deliver construction materials in one day.

Tul operates in five Colombian towns, in the Mexican cities of Mexico City and Guadalajara, and in Ecuador. It expects to start operating in Sao Paulo, Brazil, by March 2022, while also looking to expand to Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte later this year.

"We are going to be competitive in terms of prices, but the main attraction for retailers is the convenience of having their orders delivered quickly without having to pay a minimum price for it," Tul's head in Brazil, Bruno Raposo, told Reuters.

The company expects to reach 10,000 customers in Brazil by the end of 2022.

(Reporting by Aluisio Alves in Sao Paulo; Writing by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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