Pakistan Bazaar B2B Marketplace and Digital Ledger Platform Raise $ 30 Million – TechCrunch
A one-year-old startup that is building a business-to-business marketplace for traders in Pakistan and also helping them digitize their accounting is the latest to get a mega ride in the South Asian market.
Bazaar said on Tuesday it had raised $ 30 million in a Series A round. The new round of funding – the largest Series A in Pakistan – was led by VC Defy Partners, a Silicon Valley-based startup company, and Wavemaker Partners, based in Singapore.
Numerous other investors, including current and former executives of Antler, Careem, Endeavor, Gumroad, LinkedIn and Notion, as well as new investors Acrew Capital, Saison Capital of Japan, Zayn Capital and B&Y Venture Partners of the United Arab Emirates and existing investors Indus Valley Capital, Global Founders Capital, Next Billion Ventures and Alter Global also participated in the new round.
One way to think of Bazaar is – especially if you’ve been following the Indian startup ecosystem – that it’s sort of a cross between Udaan and KhataBook. “That’s a good way to describe us,” Hamza Jawaid, co-founder of Bazaar said in an interview. “We had this hindsight advantage to not just look at India but other emerging markets,” he said.
“We saw a lot of synergies between these two. If you look at trading, you have to acquire each trader from each category differently. Whereas with Khata, merchants from any city and category can download it. So it’s a great customer acquisition tool for you, ”he said on a WhatsApp call, adding that it also helps you understand businesses better.
The Bazaar Business-to-Business Marketplace, which offers traders the ability to source inventory at a standard price and choose from a much larger catalog, is currently available in Karachi and Lahore, the country’s largest cities, while Easy Khata is present throughout the country. .
At stake is a booming market that has yet to see much technology deployment, said Saad Jangda, the other co-founder of Bazaar. The two have known each other since childhood and reconnected in Dubai a few years ago. At the time, Jawaid worked at McKinsey & Company while Jangda worked with Careem as a product manager for ridesharing and food delivery products.
There are around 5 million micro, small and medium enterprises in Pakistan. As in India, although a significant portion of the population has connected, most traders are not connected.
“We have been investing in FMCG B2B marketplaces across the region since 2017. After working with Hamza and Saad over the past year, we have been impressed with their customer-centric approach to product development and the speed of learning and executing them, ”said Paul Santos, managing partner of Wavemaker Partners, in a statement.
“It’s no surprise that they’ve received rave reviews from their customers and partners. We are delighted to support Bazaar as they strengthen their market leadership and digitize Pakistan’s retail ecosystem, ”he added.
The startup said it has amassed more than 750,000 merchants since launching last year. And he seems to have solved an issue that many of his South Asian peers still grapple with: retention. Bazaar claimed to have a 90% retention rate.
I asked Jangda if he was planning to expand to the “dukaan” category. Several startups in Asia are currently building tools to help merchants set up an online presence and accept digital orders. He said the market is currently not yet ready for a dukaan product. “The B2C market is still developing, so there is not yet as much demand from the consumer side,” he added.
Instead, the current new focus is financial services. Over the past few months, the startup said it has tested a buy now pay later product and initial results have shown a 100% refund.
“Bazaar is looking for a huge opportunity with the ultimate goal of creating a generational story in and out of Pakistan. In a country with incredible talent and huge market opportunities, it is time for us to create an inspiring story that brings together the best talent in the country who can continue to create many such stories in the future, ”said The founders.
The startup eventually wants to become a super app or larger operating system for retail in Pakistan. It plans to deploy the new funds to expand its services to more cities across Pakistan and create and develop more products.
“What Bazaar was able to accomplish last year is incredible. We are extremely impressed with the speed and robustness with which they are built and deployed. As Defy’s first investment in Pakistan’s burgeoning tech ecosystem, we believe Bazaar is well on its way to building a category defining business for the country, ”said Kamil Saeid – Partner at Defy Partners.
Tuesday’s announcement comes a week after Airlift, another Pakistani startup, announced a big round.