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Dubai-based automotive retail startup Seez has secured a stellar $5M in its latest funding round. The Pre-Series B round, twice oversubscribed, observed participation from Nuwa Capital, Crealize from Germany, BY Venture Partners (BYVP), Alfa Partner Holding, and multiple key angel investors. In 2020 Seez raised a 5x oversubscribed Series A round of $6M and had previously raised $3.2M, bringing its total funding to date to $14.2 million.
Launched in 2016, Seez started as an AI-based image recognition app for cars, later developing it into a car listings aggregator app in five markets, also offering AI and data tools for car buyers. Through their Tech and AI-integrated platform, users can buy cars from official dealers or even from individual resellers, disrupting the predominantly offline car dealership dynamic and opening the potential for new leads and untapped revenue generation.
The UAE remains the largest VC ecosystem across MENA as most recently recorded in our August 2021 Venture Investment Dashboard. Closing the highest number of transactions (down 20% YoY) and raising the highest amount of funding, driven by a 67%YoY increase in funding volume in August 2021 YTD. However, what is even more interesting than the E-commerce sector being the second-most transacted and third-most funded ecosystem across MENA in 2021 YTD, is the online peer-to-peer application models that seem to be integrating into every industry from Real Estate with Nomad Homes & HotDesk, Delivery & Logistics with Cloud Fret, to even office management and recruiting with Saudi-based Sabbar. What makes the UAE-based platform offered by Seez unique, however, is the potential of their AI stack, the variety of their listing, and the almost 5 years of experience in the Automotive Industry.
The $3 trillion auto industry is one of the last global sectors to remain largely offline and in the past decades has seen almost no change in how consumers purchase cars and how dealers operate. Accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, growing demand for cars, a global new car chip-shortage that resulted in higher demand and prices on used cars. The startup has global potential, working together with auto dealers and manufacturers on digital solutions and data insights to essentially operate as a “Shopify” for these businesses. Seez has already gone live with Hessel, the second-largest auto dealership in Denmark and the country’s largest official Mercedes-Benz dealer, enabling it to sell Europe’s first car in a way that is truly omnichannel. Other markets are rolling out in the coming months.
In light of this recent investment Co-founder and CEO Tarek Kibrit highlighted “Seez is growing faster than expected so more capital will help us deal with our rapid growth as we continue our European expansion, before raising a larger Series B. Raising a smaller round now helps us avoid early dilution, given the expected uplift in valuation after our European launch."
In 2018 only 1% of car sales were made online, this increased to 10% in March 2020. In the next 15 years, 1 out of 3 vehicles purchased is projected to happen online, while already in 2020, it became possible to buy and register a vehicle fully online via blockchain, for the first time across the globe, thanks to a landmark partnership between Seez and the Dubai government. “Our time as an aggregator in the GCC gave us insights into the demands and behaviors of consumers, as well as the needs and concerns of dealers. Now we are moving towards a more comprehensive solution for both car buyers and dealers. As the world continues to change rapidly we need to keep evolving our offerings,” Kabrit concluded.
As Seez set forth to change the way people buy cars and how auto businesses operate, the UAE-based startup plans to utilize its newly acquired funding towards growing digital capabilities as well as expanding to new geographies, making Seez one of the very few Middle Eastern startups that have managed to break into the European market.
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