B2B Commerce Firm ShopUp raises $75 million led by Valar Venture & Others
This is Valar Ventures and Prosus Ventures' first investment in Bangladesh. Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, is one of Silicon Valley's wealthiest venture capitalists.
This round was also attended by Sequoia Capital and Flourish Ventures, both of whom made their first investments in the neighbouring market with ShopUp.
The company wants to digitise the fragmented retail business and solve problems in areas such as suppliers, lending, and transportation. Sujayath Ali, who co-founded Voonik, became a co-founder of ShopUp in February of last year.
ShopUp is comparable to India's Udaan in that it uses its major platform, Mokam, to connect small merchants and store owners with large manufacturers and distributors in order to obtain items. Redx, which powers the delivery of these goods, and Baki, which loans to the platform's shops, are the company's other two offerings.
“The new capital will be used to expand heavily across the country in more cities. Currently, more than 50% of Bangladesh’s ecommerce deliveries are through Redx. As we expand, we will also double our headcount in Bengaluru, which houses the product and tech teams of ShopUp,” Ali told. ShopUp has around 100 people in Bengaluru.
According to him, ShopUp is valued at $350-400 million following the recent fundraising, although this could alter due to a secondary share sale planned by some of the company's angel investors, as well as a proposal to raise loan capital.
ShopUp's CEO, Afeef Zaman, co-founded the company in 2016 with Ataur R Chowdhury, Siffat Sarwar, and Navaneetha Krishnan J of Voonik.
According to Ali, Mokam currently has 50,000-100,000 stores and will continue to grow as the company spreads across the country. Bangladesh has an estimated 4.5 million shopkeepers but no organised retail market, according to him.
“The leadership team at ShopUp has shown strong execution capabilities over the last 12 months,” said James Fitzgerald, founding partner, Valar Ventures. “They became clear market leaders with double-digit growth across three products built for the underserved small businesses in Bangladesh. In fast-growing frontier economies like Bangladesh, small businesses are the primary driver of the economy.”