Lahore-based grocery delivery startup GrocerApp has raised USD 1 million in a seed round led by Jabbar Internet Group, the startup said in a statement send to MENAbytes. It is Jabbar’s first investment in Pakistan and comes just days after it won big with the USD 360 million sale of Dubai-based grocery startup InstaShop to Delivery Hero.
The investment takes GrocerApp’s total funds raised to USD 1.5 million, and includes the participation of former Souq/Amazon MENA executive Asif Keshodia (who has joined GrocerApp’s board), Saudi Arabia-based Nama Ventures, Jordan’s Nader Group, Pakistan-focused VC Karavan, and local software company 7Vals. Some existing investors, including Pakistan-based Walled City Co, LeanBricks, and Shehryar Ali of Treet Pakistan, also joined the round.
Founded in 2016 by Ahmed Saeed, Hassaan Sadiq, and Bilal Zafar, GrocerApp is one of the leading players in the online grocery space in Pakistan, enabling users to order their groceries through its web and mobile apps and have them delivered to their doorstep on the same day. In addition to groceries, it also delivers fruits, vegetables, and meat.
GrocerApp was founded in Pakistan’s second-largest city Lahore in 2016. It has recently also expanded to Islamabad and Rawalpindi with 1,500 SKUs available on its app, it’s co-founder and CEO Ahmed Saeed told MENAbytes. In Lahore, its products include 4,000 SKUs.
GrocerApp uses a pure-play model, with its own inventory and logistics network. When a user places an order on its app, the products get picked and packed at its fulfillment centers and delivered to customers using its network of freelance drivers. It originally maintained its own fleet, but has recently switched its logistics model to rely more on freelancers as it scales its operations.
The startup achieved multi-fold growth in the last few months. Right now, even though GrocerApp is not experiencing the same level of growth as during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan, it is still growing at 20–30% month-over-month, said Saeed in a conversation with MENAbytes.
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In a statement regarding on the investment, Saeed said, “GrocerApp is equipped with sophisticated technology, smart fulfillment centers, and an efficient logistics network that make it the leading e-grocer in Pakistan.”
“Our success in this round is twofold. Asif [Keshodia], Hussam [Khoury], and Samih [Toukan] have shown confidence in GrocerApp and decided to back us, which reinforces our position as a promising e-commerce leader. Secondly, the tons of experience these investors bring will usher in a new era of growth for GrocerApp,” he added.
Ahmed told MENAbytes that they will use the latest investment to make their supply chain more efficient, automate processes to help it scale, and fuel its expansion in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. GrocerApp will also explore the option of expanding to Karachi next year.
Jabbar, the lead investor in this round, was founded in 2009 by Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury, two internet veterans of the Middle East who had previously co-founded the region’s leading e-commerce company Souq, which was acquired by Amazon in 2017 for USD 580 million, as well as Arabic portal and email service Maktoob, which was acquired by Yahoo for USD 164 million.
Samih Toukan, commenting on the investment, said, “We see great potential in Pakistan for technology businesses. To seize the opportunity, we have made our first investment in Pakistan in GrocerApp because of our confidence in the business and resilience of the co-founders. We are determined to see GrocerApp grow even further, now that the Pakistani market is ripe for a digital revolution.”
Asif Keshodia, the former Souq/Amazon MENA executive who had overseen Souq’s sale to Amazon, said, “Pakistan is a huge market with great potential for e-commerce companies to grow. GrocerApp has shown that promise and I am thrilled to become a part of an amazing team that is leading this company. Collectively, the investors bring weights of experience in e-commerce which is going to help the company soar to new heights. It is also going to develop the overall e-commerce market in Pakistan and I look forward to this exciting journey ahead.”
Pakistani mass transit startup Airlift has also recently expanded into grocery delivery, but GrocerApp is not too concerned about the competition. In a conversation with MENAbytes, the CEO of GrocerApp explained that the market is big enough for multiple players to co-exist. “Yes, we want to become the leading player in the online grocery space in Pakistan, but that doesn’t mean that we’ll capture the entire market. It is just too big and has to be served by multiple players,” he said.
This article first appeared in MENAbytes.