Frogtek: Helping Shopkeepers in Mexico and Colombia

Frogtek is a social enterprise which helps small shopkeepers in emerging markets in Colombia and Mexico to control and improve their business by tools in mobile devices. Frogtek main product is called Tiendatek, which consists of a tablet or a mobile phone and a barcode scanner, which register transactions and provide metrics.

Frogtek main objective is to help shopkeepers to better manage their inventory and improve their profits. Currently, there are about 800.000 shopkeepers in Mexico and 500.000 in Colombia. They are usually micro entrepreneurs without education, purchase power and business knowledge. Most of them cannot afford a cash register or other electronic tools. This way, they cannot record their transactions or track their sales or expenses despite they use a notebook. As a consequence of these limitations, shopkeepers generally do not know how to optimize their decisions and improve their profits. Moreover, this lack of technology also creates management problems with suppliers and customers.

For these reasons, Frogtek designed Tiendatek, a simple Android app which offers various services to store owners. This product allows shopkeepers to record their expenses and revenues, track their inventory, register card payments, manage supply orders and access to financial personalized recommendations. The latter works with a Marketing Analytics tool, which provides answers to critical business questions and procures data to evaluate their competitive position. To obtain this product, micro-retailers have to pay around 300€ by installments for the equipment and the training to use it. Besides, Frogtek has a partnership with Kiva, which allows shopkeepers to receive funds to acquire the product through crowdfunding initiatives in the whole world.

The project was launched in 2008 by David del Ser while he was a student at Columbia Business School, based on a collaboration with Women’s World Banking. David is a Spanish social entrepreneur who has been named Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. During 2008, Frogtek formed its team and was looking for potential customers and funding. The second year, the prototype was created and they started working with shopkeepers in Bogotá. In 2010, Frogtek started offering the service and launched its first big project in México. In 2013 they had almost 300 active users, registering half a million sales each month. Currently, they have presence in around 700 shops in Mexico and Bogota. Frogtek’s team is formed by more than 35 people working from Mexico, Colombia, Spain and the United States.


During this process, Frogtek main partners have been mobile operators, hardware providers, integrators, banks (BBVA-Bancomer), payment providers, consumer-goods companies (Unilever or Bimbo) and shopkeeper associations. One of their most important partnerships is with some consumer-goods companies, as they are trying to contact new shopkeepers through them and ease the selling process. For the upcoming years, they are planning an international expansion to new countries. Regarding the fund collection, economic resources come from the selling process and from the different awards which they have received during those years. Some of them are Echoing Green Fellow 2009, Open Talent BBVA 2010, Vodafone Mobile Clicks 2011 or GSMA’s Global Mobile Awards Women Base-of-the-Pyramid Apps Challenge in 2011.

The stakeholders  benefited more from Tiendatek are shopkeepers. However, Tiendatek also influences positively to their customers and suppliers, as Frogtek seeks to target the entire value chain. On one hand, customers are receiving more advanced development techniques when acquiring goods at these shops. On the other hand, suppliers get more reliable and up-to-date information about what to provide to their clients. Additionally, Frogtek have always been directly working close to micro retailers, including their suggestions and experiences into their strategy. This way, Frogtek tries to achieve the best bottom-up approach possible. Other stakeholders are their partners, the shopkeeper’s employees or their donors.

As a result, important improvements have been achieved during those years. Firstly, shopkeepers know best their needs and command their business. Having more control over their inventory has allowed them to maximize their profits. Secondly, they know who the best suppliers are; and who offer the best and the cheapest product. Moreover, as a result of the knowledge that Tiendatek provides, they have more ability to negotiate with them than before. Thirdly, micro-retailers have improved their image towards its customers, as they are seen as “modern businesses”. Additionally, robberies from their employees have decreased as a consequence of the greater control over their products.

Nevertheless, the short life of the project needs to be taken into account to measure Frogtek success. This way, it is important to analyze how the impacts of this product on micro-retailers evolve, promoting a real change on how shopkeepers operate during the next years and achieving to empower them.

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