Markaz raises $2.4M in SEED funding to build a trustworthy platform and a community of resellers to make e-commerce easy and accessible for most people in Pakistan.
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Islamabad-based reselling platform Markaz Technologies has secured $2.4M in SEED funding led by Indus Valley Capital. The investment round also saw participation from angel investors including Kyane Kassiri from Suya Fund and others. The startup was also backed by Y-Combinator earlier this year.
Markaz was founded by Shoaib Khan, Fawad Hussain, Sameel Hayat and Umair Aslam in the last quarter of 2021. It provides an online reselling platform to help anyone in Pakistan source wholesale products from across the country and sell with a profit through their own social media stores on Whatsapp and Facebook without investing any money, from the comfort of their home. Markaz is on a mission to supercharge the rails of ecommerce and make it accessible for masses in Pakistan by empowering these micro-entrepreneurs.
The E-commerce industry has had a strong start across EVMs, as recorded in our E-commerce Q1 2022 Venture Investment Report. Recording a 348% QoQ growth in capital invested, the E-commerce industry raised $260M over 36 deals in Q1 2022, reaching a new quarterly record high since Q2 2021. While the MENA region closed the lion’s share of E-commerce deals, the E-commerce industry in Pakistan has been scouring great heights since the past year and has continued with the momentum this year too. The industry has already garnered most of the capital raised last year in just the first 3 months of this year, largely driven by Bazaar’s $70M Series B round making it the top funded industry in Q1’22 in Pakistan.
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Pakistan has a $170Bn retail market out of which only ~2-3% is online, presenting a significant opportunity in ecommerce. The Covid-19 pandemic pushed for online shopping and a lot of purchases started happening through social media like WhatsApp and Facebook. However, trust is a huge concern when it comes to shopping online, especially amongst the mass market consumers. There are also a lot of inefficiencies like consistency of product quality, delivery times and payments that limit online shopping from growing fast. With Markaz, the resellers can source wholesale products from across the country and sell them with a profit through their own social media stores on Whatsapp and Facebook without investing anything in inventory.
Commenting on the occasion, Aatif Awan, Founder & Managing Partner at Indus Valley Capital said, “Markaz is building for all of Pakistan, with the ambition of enabling those in smaller cities & villages to source products directly from wholesalers and suppliers. Something they didn't have access to before. They will also create hundreds of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs along the way and bring them into the financial ecosystem, both of which will be truly transformative. We, at Indus Valley Capital, are thrilled to partner with Markaz in helping them realize their mission.”
Markaz will utilize the investment to further scale and develop its mobile platform and improve user experience by enhancing delivery operations, payments and customer servicing. The company is also actively expanding its team in Islamabad, Lahore and Faisalabad by onboarding young talent from across Pakistan. The startup aims to empower the middle-class segment, with special focus on women in tier-2 cities, who are currently underrepresented in Pakistan’s financial ecosystem, whilst enabling online micro-entrepreneurs in the process.
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