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BD startup raises $22.5m from foreign investors

FE REPORT | October 21, 2020 00:00:00

ShopUp, a Bangladeshi business-to-business digital commerce platform for micro and small entrepreneurs, has raised $22.5 million from foreign investors, several global media outlets reported on Tuesday.

The amount is Bangladesh's largest 'Series A' financing round, according to the US-based TechCrunch.

The finance is co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Flourish Ventures, the report said, adding that both the venture firms are backing a Bangladeshi startup for the first time.

Besides, some other global venture capital firms Veon Ventures, Speedinvest, and Lonsdale Capital also participated in the four-year-old ShopUp's 'Series A' financing round.

The 'Series A' financing is the name typically given to a company's first significant round of venture capital financing.

The report said almost 95 per cent of all retail in Bangladesh goes through neighbourhood stores. There are about 4.5 million such mom-and-pop stores in the country and the vast majority of them have no digital presence. ShopUp is trying to get those businesses onboard to its full-stack digital platform.

The startup provides three core services to neighbourhood stores: a wholesale marketplace to secure inventory, logistics (including last mile delivery to customers), and working capital, co-founder and chief executive of ShopUp Afeef Zaman told the media outlet.

The number of neighbourhood shops transacting weekly on the ShopUp platform grew by 8.5 times between April and August this year, he said.

ShopUp sees immense opportunity in serving neighborhood stores, he added.

The startup plans to deploy the fresh capital to deepen its partnerships with manufacturers and expand its tech infrastructure, Mr Zaman said.

The digital commerce platform opened an office in India's Bengaluru earlier this year to hire local tech talents there.

Indian e-commerce platform Voonik merged with ShopUp this year and both of its co-founders have joined the Bangladeshi startup as its co-founders.

ShopUp has raised about $28 million to date, according to the report.

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