Egypt’s SideUp raises $1.2M to expand its e-commerce support platform • TechCrunch
After four years of activity mainly as a logistics market, the Egyptian Voo has changed its name to side-up and transformed its strategy to offer a full range of e-commerce support services, including payment gateways, API integration for shipping, warehousing, fulfillment and consulting.
The startup has also expanded to Saudi Arabia, where it will now be headquartered, after raising $1.2 million in seed funding. This latest round had participation from Launch Africa VC, 500 Global, Riyadh Angels, Alex Angels, Al Tuwaijri Fund and Saudi angel investor Faisal AlAbdulsalam.
Founder and CEO of SideUp Walid Rashed told TechCrunch he was inspired to tie small merchants to e-commerce support, after realizing they were being ignored by large service providers.
“There is a lot of talk about the evolution of e-commerce, but we are not empowering enough those (micro, small and medium enterprises) who sell online. Merchants need many services and a comprehensive ecosystem to be successful,” Rashed said.
“That’s why I decided to empower small and medium enterprises; SideUp is for village traders or those who sell products on Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp. They have access to all services, from courier, warehousing and fulfillment to marketing services,” he said.
Rashed first ventured into entrepreneurship in 2012, after a career in banking, when he founded Ingez, an errand company that gave him first-hand experience running a e-commerce business.
“During the four years, I understood a lot about logistics, operations and e-commerce. I saw how small businesses, because they lacked volume, were not a priority for large logistics companies,” said Rashed, who after leaving Ingez, founded SideUp to address the challenges faced by small businesses and help them scale.
SideUp’s partner service providers allow merchants to sell in 45 countries, which Rashed says has opened up new markets that were previously inaccessible to small businesses.
SideUp currently serves 2,000 e-commerce businesses, which can also access collection service and credit to grow their business. His portfolio grew 30% month-over-month, reaching over $500,000 in gross merchandise volume per month.
Riyadh Angels co-founder Dr. Khalid Al Tawil said, “E-commerce remains fragmented across most of the region, which creates a number of challenges for business owners. SideUp’s platform is a giant leap in giving them a single place to access partners and technology to grow their business exponentially. We are excited to have them come to Saudi Arabia and support businesses in their next phase of growth.
The startup now plans to expand its customer base by expanding into Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and expanding to at least two other countries before the end of 2023, to tap into the booming e-commerce sector in different regions. .
E-commerce markets in the Middle East and Africa are expected to grow by more than 11.5% over the next five years, supported by internet and smartphone penetration, urbanization and mobile shopping, and as that more businesses are embracing e-commerce, according to Mordor Intelligence report.