Calii is a Monterey, Mexico-based marketplace that automates the food supply chain, connecting producers to restaurants and end consumers—from farm to city. Though it’s a Latin American owned and operated company, Calii has roots in Silicon Valley. Its founders graduated from Stanford University, took Calii through the well known Y Combinator start-up incubator, and secured funding from top US based investors.
Monterey, Guadalajara, and Mexico City, Mexico
Focus on core competencies and offload security overhead to the experts. Get payment functionality and compliance in place quickly as Calii expands their offerings.
Set up a secure, compliant, and automated way to process B2B payments, like ACH transactions.
By using Very Good Security’s infrastructure, Calii was able to automate ACH transactions for B2B customers, with enterprise-grade security and PCI Level 2 compliance.
Not only did Calii save time and accelerate their product development since they didn’t need to hire data security engineers or maintain compliant infrastructure, but they were also able to save money and resources they could put back into the business.
Calii was founded in early 2019, to connect farmers directly to consumers in Mexico. By condensing and automating this supply chain, Calii not only ensured fresher produce for consumers in large cities in Mexico, they also brought costs down by up to 30%.
Launched with the consumer in mind, Calii’s app was set up to take orders from individuals and households, and accept cash or credit card payments. In an unsurprising turn of events, restaurants and retailers quickly learned of Calii’s reputation for delicious fruits and veggies and started buying from them too—and buying in bulk. They also consistently turned into repeat customers.
Just one little problem... the Calii platform wasn’t really made for business buyers.
“Businesses wanted to pay through ACH transfer, and we could only process those manually. As a company with a mission to automate, this wasn’t going to cut it—not to mention the huge security and compliance issues.”
- Maurizio Caló Caligaris, Chief Technology Officer
While it was exciting that large restaurants and businesses were turning into huge customers, it quickly became apparent that businesses had different expectations than individual consumers. Not only did they need different tools, they also expected to pay differently. “Businesses wanted to pay through ACH transfer, and we could only process those manually. As a company with a mission to automate, this wasn’t going to cut it—not to mention the huge security and compliance issues,” Maurizio said.
““VGS’ value was clear. It would give us the business payment tools we needed, with enterprise-grade security and compliance, and we could get it up and running quickly and easily—it was a no brainer.”
- Maurizio Caló Caligaris, Chief Technology Officer
As the B2B line of business took off, the Calii team knew they had to change the way they were handling payments. Not only were manual ACH transfers not scalable, they weren’t secure.
In talking to VGS, Maurizio realized all of his problems were easily remedied. With VGS’ Zero Data platform, where data never touched Calii’s systems, they could quickly become PCI Level 2 compliant. All of the data Calii handled would immediately be secured, and there were a number of ways VGS helped them in automating ACH transfers specifically.
First, VGS helped Calii build a custom, Calii-branded form to securely collect payment data. Then the platform enabled Calii to orchestrate real-time ACH payments with 3rd party payment aggregators and banks. Finally, using VGS helped Calii orchestrate the transmission of ACH batch files securely.
In turn, each vendor they talked to had these same limitations around vendor lock-in and expandability. Ramona said, “We had these teams trying to sell their products to us. And what wasn't really clear from them was how the whole picture was going to come together. Every vendor had a gaping hole—except VGS.”
“The cost savings [versus building in house] was a nice benefit, but for us it was more that we wouldn’t even be able to hire the right talent to get it done in-house. VGS let us provide the payment options our business clients demanded, with the necessary security and compliance.”
- Maurizio Caló Caligaris, CTO
From the very beginning, there were two principles the Calii team kept at the center of operations: you can’t take short cuts with security, and as a start-up you have to move really fast (and lean). Maurizio shared, “We focus on the things that are core to our business. If it’s not something that will differentiate us, we don’t devote in-house resources to it.” In fact, Maurizio went on to share that it didn’t even cross their minds to hire a data security engineer. They work using a lean methodology, and resist anything that will slow down their product development, company growth, and customer experience.
By using VGS, within a short period of time after the restaurant and retail side of the business began growing, Calii had an enterprise-class payment system in place. What could have been a massive business constraint was quickly turned into an opportunity to unlock the B2B market and foundation for future business endeavors.