Karachi-headquartered sixteen-month-old B2B ecommerce startup Bazaar has raised $30 million in the largest Series A round for a Pakistani startup. The deal that comes just seven months after Bazaar’s seed round, was led by California-based early-stage VC Defy Partners and returning investor Wavemaker Partners.
It also included participation from US-based Acrew Capital, Japan’s Saison Capital, Zayn Capital, B&Y Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based growth fund, and existing investors; Indus Valley Capital, Global Founders Capital, Next Billion Ventures, and Alter Global. Several angel investors including current and former leaders of Antler, Careem, Endeavor, Gumroad, LinkedIn, and Notion were also part of the deal.
Bazaar was founded in mid-2020 by Saad Jangda and Hamza Jawaid, with a mission to build an operating system for traditional retail in Pakistan, allowing retailers to directly connect with wholesalers and manufacturers. Its mobile-only B2B ecommerce marketplace enables retailers in Karachi and Lahore to procure inventory for their stores. The startup had also launched a digital ledger app Easy Khata earlier this year to help retailers all over Pakistan manage their bookkeeping. In a statement, Bazaar said that both the apps have served over 750,000 merchants to date.
The statement also noted that the startup has a loyal customer base with 90 percent retention, “The strong engagement and retention comes as a result of its deep focus on simplicity and delight in its products.”
Kamil Saeid, a Partner at Defy Partners, said, “What Bazaar has managed to accomplish in the last year is incredible. We are extremely impressed by the speed and robustness with which they build and deploy. As Defy’s first investment into Pakistan’s burgeoning tech ecosystem, we feel Bazaar is on its way to create a category-defining company for the country.”
The Pakistani startup has also been testing its lending offering, a buy now pay later service for its retailers, in private beta. The early results have been phenomenal, said Bazaar in a statement, explaining that the wallet share of the retailers who have used the service has doubled and the repayment rates are close to 100 percent.
In a statement, its founders said, “Bazaar is going after a massive opportunity with the ultimate aim of creating a generational story in and from Pakistan. In a country with incredible talent and huge market opportunity, it’s about time we create an inspirational story that brings together the country’s best talent who can go on to create many such stories in the future.”