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Startup Story

São Paulo startup Liv Up pivots to bring hope and healthy food to people across Brazil

Liv Up team is posing for a group photo.

How the team leveraged Google for Startups Accelerator to reach—and retain—more customers

You can spot a founder by their approach to lunch: while most people will simply choose from preselected options, an innovator will want to rewrite the menu. When Victor Santos looked at food delivery options in São Paulo, he noticed a host of highly-processed, unhealthy dishes. This inspired the engineer and former investment banker strategist to change how Brazilians eat on a daily basis. In 2016, Victor joined his friends Henrique Castellani and Marcelo Canovas to found Liv Up, a startup committed to delivering healthy, fresh, ready-to-heat meals right to customer’s doors.

In 2018, Marcelo applied for the Google for Startups Accelerator at Campus São Paulo with a goal of improving customer retention. Over the course of three months, he attended Google mentoring sessions and industry talks, bonded with fellow founders, and received technical project support from industry and subject matter experts. Through the program’s web mentorship sessions, Marcelo learned how Liv Up could implement Google Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to improve their web response times by 50 percent, increase Android conversion rates by more than 200 percent, and allow users to add PWAs to their mobile home screens. Combined with enhanced organic blog traffic, these efforts boosted conversions by more than 900 percent.

Two years after completing the program, Liv Up continues to partner with Google teams to understand the impact of their brand in the marketplace and develop actionable insights for their content teams. They were selected for Google for Startups Brazil’s inaugural Growth Academy, where they’re receiving support to scale their user base with Google tools and products. Liv Up’s business analysts already use Google Cloud Platform’s BigQuery on a daily basis to clean, integrate, and transform data so they can adapt the company’s business model and respond to changes quickly. Stella Brant, Liv Up partner and CMO, is the representative of the startup at the program.“Working with Google to change our operations was a win-win for all parts of our supply chain,” Stella says.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, Liv Up helped people in more than 40 Brazilian cities adopt healthier eating habits. However, the company realized the food supply chain was unraveling during the pandemic. People already struggling to make ends meet were being pushed into extreme poverty and hunger, and farmers who sold to schools and large retailers were left with rotting produce. Liv Up leapt into action and within two weeks, they pivoted from their core business and adjusted their e-commerce platform to purchase surplus products from farmers and sell that produce to end customers.

The farmer's surplus ended up being larger than the demand for this operation. Aligned with the startup’s purpose of providing healthy food for the greatest number of people, Liv Up took its action to another level, partnering with NGOs and charity institutions to donate organic food to people in need. In the first seven months of this program, they were able to donate 30 tons of organic food to 22,000 people. Liv Up has committed to continuing their donations of at least one ton per month in order to keep giving back and growing in this critical moment in time. “It’s not just about sales, but also about helping people in need,” Stella explains. “The key to a startup is bringing a real solution to a real problem. With this initiative, we’re putting people at the center, solving a problem, and helping to impact hunger.”

Learn more about Liv Up