B2B ecommerce marketplace Bazaar has raised an unprecedented $1.3 million in a pre-seed round from US and Pakistan-based institutional and angel investors, the company said in a statement.
The investment round was led by Pakistan-focused fund Indus Valley Capital started by Aatif Awan, former VP of growth at LinkedIn, that led early investments in Airlift. The round was co-financed by Alter Global – a Silicon Valley-based emerging markets fund (making this their first investment in Pakistan) and other strategic angel investors.
The amount raised is unusually high, particularly by Pakistani standards. If Bazaar’s claim is true, it would be the largest ever pre-seed round raised by a Pakistan-based startup, ushering in a new era of growth for startups in the country. Bazaar co-founder Saad Jangda says that because of the idea, the team they built around it and the market size helped them get backing of investors and eventually score a significant round.
In a primarily offline and massive retail industry, small business owners source inventory from wholesale markets and dozens of selling agents which often results in opaque pricing and product shortages. Bazaar’s mobile app gives these small business owners access to a large assortment of goods from multiple local and international brands as well as unbranded products on a single platform – which can be ordered at any day of the week with free next day delivery to storefronts.
“Bringing the fragmented B2B retail market online is one of the biggest startup opportunities in Pakistan. I have tracked it for over a year and have been waiting to back the right team to go after it. Bazaar’s founding team is phenomenal on all fronts – product, strategy and execution. Indus Valley Capital is really excited to partner with them,” said Aatif Awan.
Co-founded by Saad Jangda and Hamza Jawaid in April 2020, Bazaar started a closed pilot in Karachi during extreme lockdown conditions due to Covid-19. “We saw great potential to digitize this market and give more power to small businesses. During the lockdown we noticed that due to shorter operating hours, the problems for retailers became even more severe, it was an added impetus for us to launch even sooner.” said Hamza.
“I am fascinated with this business model, as we have been lucky to work with ventures pursuing it around the world. Pakistan is a great market flying under the radar right now, and we think this team can be the ones to put the Pakistan tech ecosystem on the map. We support only high character role model founders, and Saad and Hamza perfectly embody those criteria,” said Jesse Sullivan, CEO and Founder of Alter.
Bazaar is using this pre-seed financing to build out the tech, hire its early team in commercials, growth and operations roles and grow its retailer base across Karachi. Bazaar has already made some headway with setting up a strong team with diverse backgrounds from the tech and retail industry.
While their goal is to use technology to solve this industry-wide problem faced by millions of retailers in Pakistan, Saad and Hamza’s ultimate vision is to materially contribute to Pakistan’s tech ecosystem. “So much of Pakistan’s best talent has helped build great products and companies globally. We want to assemble and nurture the best talent to build something incredible in and for Pakistan. We know that with the right team, our underlying purpose, our self belief and a lot of hard work, we can build a company that can create a massive impact for our ecosystem.” said Saad.