E-commerce marketplace Tajir raises $1.8m for its B2B operations

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LAHORE: Tajir, a B2B e-commerce marketplace for neighbourhood convenience stores, has raised $1.8 million in a recent financing round from a cohort of institutional and angel investors.

Tajir, which was started in 2018 by brothers and co-founders Babar and Ismail Khan, is backed by Y-Combinator – an American seed money startup accelerator, considered to be the most prestigious in the world.

The announcement, which was originally published in TechCrunch, was confirmed to Profit by Ali Mukhtar, managing partner at Fatima Gobi Ventures that invested investors in Tajir. Other investors in the company include San Francisco-based Pioneer Fund — an investment fund created by Y-Combinator (YC) Alumni to support fellow YC companies, GoldenGate Ventures, Karavan, VentureSouq and a few angel investors.

Tajir is focusing on fixing the problem of informal and fragmented retail in Pakistan. According to the company’s website, 91 per cent of retail in the country flows through small, family-owned convenience stores.

Owing to the problem of fragmentation, these stores struggle to buy inventory and spend hours every week dealing with dozens of different suppliers, besides dealing with late, incorrect and uncertain deliveries. As a result, stores overpay for inventory, fail to get stock when they need it, and suffer lower incomes, while suppliers miss out on sales from eager customers.

Through Tajir’s application, storeowners can order inventory whenever they want, receive on-demand delivery, enjoy transparent, competitive prices, and choose from the largest selection of products available.

“In essence, Tajir connects these small convenience stores directly to FMCGs and wholesalers and distributors. It is a better platform of distribution for FMCGs and a better and transparent platform for small stores allowing better price discovery, selection of products and timely deliveries,” said Ali Mukhtar.

2020 looks like a promising year for startups. Only a few days ago, another B2B e-commerce marketplace Bazaar announced raising $1.3 million in what they claimed was the country’s largest-ever pre-seed round from foreign and local investors. The overall ticket size of funding has seen an increase and foreign investors are showing trust in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem. But will these startups remain successful in keeping this trust is what remains to be seen.

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