Bazaar Technologies Pvt., an e-commerce startup, raised $30 million from investors in one of the country’s largest fund raisings by an early-stage tech company, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
Silicon Valley-based Defy Partners Management LLC and Singapore-based Wavemaker Partners LLC led the initial round of funding into the one-year-old firm, which operates a business-to-business market place for grocery stores, said Saad
Jangda, one of its two co-founders. Acrew Capital Management Co., Japan’s Saison Capital, UAE’s Zayn Capital Ltd. and existing backer Indus Valley Capital also participated in the round.
The new financing round is the largest Series A in Pakistan.
In the world’s fifth-most populous nation, fund raising by startups is taking off as investors trigger a frenzy for backing private tech firms in the region, including India.
Bazaar, co-founded by friends Jangda and Hamza Jawaid, is tapping into a $170 billion domestic retail industry that operates mostly offline. Since data about Pakistan’s traditional retailers was scarce, the company started out by going door-to-door across Karachi to survey shops.
It found out that merchants spend most of their time purchasing inventory, and now helps mom-and-pop stores buy supplies from one marketplace instead of meeting 100 suppliers a week or physically browsing different markets, Jawaid said.
Bazaar also launched a digital ledger product about three months ago to record orders and is testing a buy-now-pay-later offering, the founders said. Its app also offers prayer timings and business cards, part of an effort to become the go-to place for traditional retailers.
The company intends to expand across ten major cities within the next year, build its technological back end, hire more staff and explore further fintech opportunities.
The one-year-old startup that is building a business-to-business marketplace for merchants in Pakistan and also helping them digitize their bookkeeping is the latest to secure a mega round in the South Asian market.
Bazaar’s business-to-business marketplace, which provides merchants with the ability to procure inventories at a standard price and choose from a much larger catalog, is currently available in Karachi and Lahore, the nation’s largest cities, while Easy Khata is live across the country.
There are about 5 million micro, small, and medium-sized businesses in Pakistan.
The e-commerce startup said it has amassed over 750,000 merchants since launch last year. And it appears to have solved a problem that many of its South Asian peers are still grappling with: Retention. Bazaar said it has a 90 percent retention rate. Tuesday’s announcement comes a week after Airlift, another Pakistan’s startup, announced a big round as high-profile global investors begin to explore the South Asian market.
Originally published at The news international