Bazaar, a sixteen-month-old B2B eCommerce startup based in Karachi, has raised $30 million in the country’s biggest Series A investment. The deal was spearheaded by California-based early-stage VC Defy Partners and returning investor Wavemaker Partners, and comes only seven months after Bazaar’s seed round.
Acrew Capital, Saison Capital, Zayn Capital, B&Y Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based growth fund, and current investors Indus Valley Capital, Global Founders Capital, Next Billion Ventures, and Alter Global also participated in the round. Several angel investors participated in the deal, including current and former executives from Antler, Careem, Endeavor, Gumroad, LinkedIn, and Notion.
Saad Jangda and Hamza Jawaid established Bazaar in mid-2020 with the goal of creating an operating system for conventional retail in Pakistan, enabling merchants to interact directly with wholesalers and manufacturers. Its B2B eCommerce platform for merchants in Karachi and Lahore is mobile-only. Earlier this year, the company developed Easy Khata, a digital ledger software that helps merchants all across Pakistan handle their accounting. Bazaar stated in a statement that the two applications had served over 750,000 businesses thus far.
The company boasts a devoted client base with a 90 percent retention rate, according to the statement,
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.”
In private beta, the Pakistani company has also been testing its loan product, which is a purchase now pay later solution for its merchants. The early results have been spectacular, according to Bazaar, which claims that the wallet share of merchants who have utilized the service has quadrupled and payback rates are approaching 100%.
Paul Santos, the Managing Partner at Wavemaker Partners, said, “We’ve been investing in FMCG B2B marketplaces across the region since 2017. After working with Hamza and Saad over the past year, we’ve been impressed by their customer-centric approach to product development and the speed of their learning and execution. It’s no surprise that they’ve received glowing reviews from their customers and partners. We’re excited to support Bazaar as they solidify their market leadership and digitize Pakistan’s retail ecosystem.”
In Pakistan, at least 10 B2B eCommerce marketplaces are presently operational, with tens of millions of dollars (in venture capital) spent in the sector in the past year. With this new funding round, Bazaar has now received about $38 million, making it the best-funded competitor in the sector (and one of the best-funded startups overall in Pakistan). It plans to utilize the funds to grow its eCommerce platform into additional Pakistani cities, develop its product stack, and scale its financial business.
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.”