The largest funding round in the South Asian market, $75 million was raised by ShopUp, a firm that is modernizing neighborhood shops in Bangladesh. This fundraising round was headed by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.
Additional investors in the round were current investors Sequoia Capital India, Flourish Ventures, Prosus Ventures and VEON Ventures. Besides, the new investment, which raises the startup’s total funding to over $100 million, marks Valar and Prosus’ first business ventures in Bangladesh, a country with over 100 million internet users.
In Bangladesh, local stores account for more than 95% of total retail sales. About 4.5 million mom-and-pop shops exist in the nation, yet the great majority of them lack a digital presence. They are unable to bargain for lower prices or quicker delivery, and they do not have access to a huge catalog of available merchandise.
ShopUp is making an effort to overcome these difficulties. It has created what it describes as a full-stack platform for business-to-business transactions. The start-up offers these retailers operating finance, a wholesale market to buy merchandise, and last-mile delivery to clients. ShopUp also offers banking and other services, just like many companies in India.
According to Afeef Zaman, co-founder and CEO of ShopUp, the business has increased its services and consolidated its presence in Bangladesh over the past 12 months. Like many other businesses, the company was impacted by the epidemic, but as the nation starts to open up, he added, ShopUp is starting to recover. He said that overall, the business has increased more than 13 times in the last year.
Over the past 12 months, the ShopUp leadership team has demonstrated great execution skills. In a statement, James Fitzgerald, founding partner of Valar Ventures, stated that we are thrilled to join with Afeef’s ambition of developing a linked ecosystem of goods to accelerate their transition to the online market. In addition to ShopUp, he mentioned chatting and virtual payments will continue in the future.
The business, which has its headquarters in Dhaka and an office in Bangalore where the majority of its IT and engineering expertise is located, intends to use the new cash in part to grow its staff. According to Zaman, the business has tripled the size of its employee stock option pool as a result of the latest financing.
With this investment, we officially enter Bangladesh, one of the last decade’s fastest-growing economies. ShopUp has proven to have a strong execution focus by addressing a range of small company demands in a fragmented market. Ashutosh Sharma, head of investments for India at Prosus Ventures, said in a statement that we are delighted to support their endeavors to inspire millions of shopkeepers and enable them to contribute to the country’s economic progress.