E-commerce Startup Raises $30 Million in Landmark Pakistan Deal

Bazaar Technologies Pvt., an E-commerce startup from Pakistan, raised $30 million from investors in one of the nation’s largest fundraisings by an early-stage tech company, its founders said.

Silicon Valley-based Defy Partners Management LLC and Singapore-based Wavemaker Partners LLC led the initial round of funding into the one-year-old firm, which operates a business-to-business market place for grocery stores, said Saad Jangda, one of its two co-founders. Acrew Capital Management Co., Japan’s Saison Capital, UAE’s Zayn Capital Ltd. and existing backer Indus Valley Capital also participated in the round, according to Jangda.

In the world’s fifth-most populous nation, fund raising by startups is taking off as investors trigger a frenzy for backing private tech firms in the region, including India. Bazaar, co-founded by friends Jangda and Hamza Jawaid, is tapping into a $170 billion domestic retail industry that operates mostly offline.

Since data about Pakistan’s traditional retailers was scarce, the company started out by going door-to-door across Karachi to survey shops. It found out that merchants spend most of their time purchasing inventory, and now helps mom-and-pop stores buy supplies from one marketplace instead of meeting 100 suppliers a week or physically browsing different markets, Jawaid said.

Bazaar also launched a digital ledger product about three months ago to record orders and is testing a buy-now-pay-later offering, the founders said. Its app also offers prayer timings and business cards, part of an effort to become the go-to place for traditional retailers.

The company intends to expand across ten major cities within the next year, build its technological back end, hire more staff and explore further fintech opportunities, according to the founders.