Riyadh-based online Recommerce marketplace Soum emerges out of stealth with a $4M in Seed financing to build a seamless and transparent secondhand buying experience starting with consumer electronics in KSA.
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Riyadh-based E-commerce startup and C2C marketplace Soum has emerged from stealth with $4 million in seed funding. The round was led by Outliers Venture Capital and Mazen Aljubeir and recorded participation from Khwarizmi Ventures, Ammar AlKhudairy, and multiple key strategic angel investors.
Launched in July 2021, Soum has set forth to reimagine the recommerce space in the MENA region and beyond by building a convenient, trustworthy, and transparent recommence marketplace, starting with consumer electronics in Saudi Arabia. The KSA-based startup aims to capitalize on the rapidly growing secondhand global market by refining the user journey and building trust on its platform.
Recording more than 200% YoY growth in capital invested in the sector, the E-commerce space across EVMs raised north of $600M in 2021, for the first time since 2017, with 72% backing MENA-based E-commerce startups. As recorded in our E-commerce 2022 Venture Investment Report, this was in part driven by the success of B2B solutions, raising almost 90% of all investment in the sector in geographies like Egypt over 2021. This signals a VC market ready for diversification and a pivot for E-commerce ventures emerging in the region. The success of the B2B proposition which included the highest funding round of the year closed by Saudi B2B platform Sary regained investors’ focus and confidence in the sector. This trend also took center stage across Emerging Venture Markets, wherein Pakistan for example, major rounds closed by B2B startups Tazah Technologies and Bazaar accounted for 70% of all capital raised in the Pakistan-based E-commerce startups in 2021.
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Secondhand electronics, in particular, is growing at more than 10% annually, driven by an increasing consumer price sensitivity and longer hardware lifespan. However, this comes at a slower pace in MENA with challenges in the user experience as a result of ad-heavy platforms and ambiguous online transaction processes. Soum is addressing this market pain point by introducing a better user experience and “productizing trust” in transactions to unlock what they value as a $40Bn opportunity. Soum's Co-Founder and CEO, Fahad Al Hassan, commented, "We are tackling a serious customer pain point and offering a solution that is an order-of-magnitude better than any other substitute. Although we have grown exceptionally fast, we are still in the very beginning of capturing a huge market opportunity. The key to unlocking this opportunity is building a highly independent and capable team of doers and problem-solvers pursuing a common goal of building a category-defining company that delights buyers and sellers. I am very proud of our team, and I am thrilled to go through this journey with every Soumer."
The startup's growth to date speaks to the unmet customer needs in the region. After only eight months, the KSA-based team claims to have already processed millions of dollars of annualized sales. Spearheaded by a highly experienced team, Fahad Al Hassan, Fahad Albassam, and Bader Almubarak, the three Co-Founders coming from PwC, BCG, and McKinsey, are building a highly entrepreneurial organization with a strong focus on experimentation, iteration, and rapid execution across all functions. Outliers' managing partner Mohammed Almeshekah shared, "Today, only 12% of second-hand consumer electronic sales happen digitally today, and more than 80% of digital sales are captured by the incumbent. Soum is unlocking the opportunity both on the supply side as well as the demand side and is led by three outlier founders who are exceptionally positioned to build Soum, bottoms-up, into a multi-country and multi-category successful business. We are thrilled to partner with Bader, Fahad & Fahad."
The startup will be able to channel its newly acquired funds to further support its platform and market expansion efforts on the path to becoming the region’s next big player in recommerce. In light of this platform-boosting transaction, Soum's investor Mazen Aljubeir concluded with high hopes for the team, "Soum is pursuing a massive opportunity and growing very rapidly. Most importantly, the Soum founders have assembled one of the best teams in the region and built an incredible culture of teamwork, execution, and customer focus. It’s been inspiring to watch their progress and they’re only getting started.”
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