Pakistani start-up secures $1m seed funding

German portal expects local e-commerce market to reach $3.9b


Our Correspondent September 04, 2020
A Reuters illustration

LAHORE:

A local grocery start-up has managed to raise $1 million as seed funding from a Dubai-based group to further streamline its online operations for the Pakistani market.

The funding has been secured by GrocerApp, a platform that offers a full range of groceries, fruits, vegetables and meat at competitive prices. The funding round was led by Dubai-based Jabbar Group - a venture capital firm led by founders of one of Middle East’s largest e-commerce platforms Souq.com.

With the $1 million, the Dubai-based group has formally put its first-ever investment in Pakistan’s online market. Other investors in the round include Asif Keshodia, former Amazon executive for MENA region who has now joined GrocerApp as a board member, Middle East’s Nama Ventures, Nader Group, Karavan Ventures and 7Vals, along with participation from existing shareholders that include Pakistan-based Walled City Co, LeanBricks and Shehryar Ali of Treet Pakistan.

Speaking about the recent round, GrocerApp CEO Ahmed Saeed said, “With our recent funding injection, we are going to invest more to make our supply chain more efficient and expand into other cities.” Pakistan’s e-commerce market is expanding rapidly and young entrepreneurs, with the help of different angel investors, are now trying to discover and create a difference in new dimensions.

The local e-commerce market is still largely dominated by fashion apparel brands, followed by electronics.

According to Statista, a German online portal for statistics, Pakistan’s e-commerce market in 2020 is expected to reach $3.9 billion, post-Covid-19 impact.

Although the share of food and personal care segment in the overall e-commerce market of Pakistan is likely to remain around $370.9 million in 2020, global investors think that the size of grocery e-commerce in the country is around $48 billion.

“The size of grocery e-commerce in Pakistan is around $48 billion; it is a huge market with great potential for e-commerce companies to grow,” said Asif Keshodia, newly appointed director of the app. He said that collectively the investors brought lots of experience in e-commerce, which was going to help the company soar to new heights. “It is also going to develop the overall e-commerce market in Pakistan.”

Saiman Toukan, an executive of the Jabbar group, said his company saw a great potential for technology business in Pakistan. “To seize the opportunity, we have made our first investment in Pakistan. Now the Pakistani market is ripe for a digital revolution,” Toukan added.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2020.

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