Italian grocery comparison shopping site gets $550K

Faith Merino · October 3, 2011 · Short URL:

Risparmio Super raises seed funding for grocery store comparison shopping

In a down economy, you’re stuck with two options: hoard your money like Donald Trump hoards what remains of his hair, or start spending like crazy to buy up everyone else’s offloaded assets.  The average consumer seems to prefer the former, which is probably why comparison shopping sites have become all the rage.  A new Italian grocery store comparison shopping site, Risparmio Super, announced Monday that it has raised $550K in seed funding and has plans to launch in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2012.

The round was co-led by Zernike Meta Ventures, an Italo-Dutch joint venture that manages the Ingenium Provincia di Catania Fund, along with Italian VC firm LVenture.

As you might expect, the site aggregates and compares both online and offline product prices from grocery stores throughout Italy.  Risparmio Super currently compares prices from 45 national retailers, which represent over 10,000 supermarkets across the country.  Shoppers can also customize the comparison experience according to their location and price range.  

Maybe I’m just buying into a stereotype, but I assumed Italian food was just inherently better than the rest of the world’s, which is why I was surprised when I clicked on Cheeses and saw Kraft as the top brand listed on the page.  Maybe that’s just the equivalent of eating ethnic food in Italy.  In the U.S., we eat bland pasta with old sausages and call it Italian cuisine, and when Italians want to try something exotic and foreign, they eat Kraft macaroni and cheese mixed with chopped up hotdogs.  Buon appetito!

The company says that over the last two months, it has tripled its user base to 100,000 from 30,000 and helps consumers save up to €1,000 a year.  Revenue growth is currently confidential, a company spokesperson tells me, adding that the sudden spike in Risparmio Super's user base is due to a revamping of the website back in July.

Risparmio Super was founded by Barbara Labate following her stint as a grad student at Columbia University, during which time she was forced to make severe cutbacks on her grocery budget.  She later took the idea back to Italy, where she met fellow co-founder Zion Nahum and launched Risparmio Super.

Labate and Nahum say they’ll use the capital from this round to support Risparmio Super’s international expansion to the U.S. and Europe, as well as increase the number of retailers it monitors.

Risparmio Super is not the first to jump into this category.  Last October, we covered mySupermarket, a British comparison shopping site for grocery store items that lets users compare not only prices, but nutrition facts as well, and lets them swap out individual items or their entire cart for another store's prices.

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