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Pakistan-based E-commerce builder and virtual store solutions provider Brandverse has successfully raised an undisclosed multi-million dollar amount to launch its Chikoo app. The SEED round was led by the JS Group and observed follow-on participation from seed investors, regional family offices & operator angels.
Founded in 2018, Brandverse aims to create the best-in-class solutions for the next generation of e-commerce in Pakistan - one that is both hyper-local and on-demand. Realizing that there was a massive gap and need in the market for product content, Brandverse has created the largest database of high-quality, digital product content assisting some of Pakistan’s leading retail businesses and platforms on their digitization journey. The company also announced the appointment of, former Group COO of TCS, Faizan Siddiqi, as Co-founder and Managing Director, to support the next stage of Brandverse’s growth and expansion into foreign markets.
With the rapid adoption of digital platforms and the facilitation of payment solutions, the Pakistan E-commerce and FinTech industries have observed a VC boom in 2021. As most recently recorded in our November Venture Investment Dashboard, the presence of E-commerce amongst the top-ranking industries came as no surprise, where despite closing 12% less deals in 2021 than full year 2020, the E-commerce industry raised 30% of all funds deployed across industries, marking an exceptional 325% YoY growth in funding. Amongst the top rounds raised by E-commerce startups in the scene were the B2B retail marketplaces Bazaar Technologies, and Tajir Pakistan, hyperlocalized online marketplace GrocerApp, and b2b marketplaces Tazah Technologies and Dastgyr.
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With this round, Brandverse will further strengthen its Chikoo app which enables both offline, hyper-local, and on-demand e-commerce across the retail value chain. Chikoo is the e-commerce enablement platform for small businesses that is bringing neighborhood stores, at-home entrepreneurs and general traders to realize the promise of e-commerce, without the expense or capability requirements normally associated with going online. Chikoo enables any business, selling anything, anywhere, to start selling online, in less than 1 minute, with nothing more than a smartphone and internet connection.
With a strong focus on delivering merchant delight, Brandverse aims to grow the Chikoo offering into a seller-focused super app and small business operating system, providing millions of small businesses in the region with elegant and accessible solutions for digital payments, CRM, marketing, inventory management, invoicing, loan management, accounting, supply chain finance and procurement - all in the palm of your hand.
Raza Matin, CEO of Brandverse said: "We knew we would witness massive adoption of the internet and technology by Pakistani small businesses and founded Brandverse because we wanted to play our part in redefining the nation’s growth story through this transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the criticality of this shift for Pakistan's smaller businesses, as competition in the last mile intensifies. We are also incredibly excited to welcome onboard Faizan, who will supercharge our growth efforts, as he has done so many times before."
Pakistan is home to one of the most fragmented retail markets in Asia, with the bulk of all retail consumption happening through more than 2 million small retail businesses spread out across the country. These shops face daily struggles with product and inventory classification and limited market exposure. Problems such as product unavailability, lack of price transparency, and unreliable delivery severely hamper their ability to manage day-to-day businesses. Chikoo adds a virtual window to small retail businesses, allowing them to find new customers and offer digital convenience instantly.
With Brandverse's Chikoo app, a retailer can be online and ready to go in less than 3 mins, and start selling their existing in-store inventory backed by the Brandverse product data engine that has already codified over 100k domestic retail products, and provides access to a further 300 million international products, that can be added to any store by simply scanning a barcode of the product with the seller’s camera phone.
The new investment will allow the Pakistan-based E-commerce builder to further develop the Chikoo app and expand into new markets. In light of this pivotal investment, Salaal Hasan, Director – Venture Capital of JS Group concluded “Investing in technology that fills institutional voids, where the customer maintains a long-term positive economic relationship with the product, platform or service are at the core of our belief. In Brandverse, we partner with an experienced management team that possesses a formidable pedigree in operations and unparalleled insights on product-market-fit for emerging markets.”
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