Lahore-based B2B e-commerce platform Zarya has raised USD 1.7 million in a pre-seed round led by one of MENA’s leading VCs, Raed Ventures. The round was joined by Fatima Gobi Ventures, US-based Class 5 Global, Global Founders Capital, and Egyptian social commerce startup Taager.
Founded by brothers Faisal and Saad Zahid earlier this year, Zarya enables small sellers (mainly homemakers) to source and sell different products through its platform, including apparel for women and children. The startup takes care of the entire retail process, from sourcing products to delivery and payments.
This concept of social selling was pioneered by Meesho in India and has been adapted by different startups in emerging markets, including Brimore and Taager. Launched in 2015, Meesho has raised over USD 1 billion in total financing and was valued at nearly USD 5 billion in its most recent funding round.
Zarya currently has over 3,000 products on its platform. The startup plans to use the fresh funds to broaden its supply base for sellers. It wants to introduce new categories like shoes, home textiles, makeup, and abayas, an outer garment worn by women in some parts of the Middle East.
“Pakistan has over 100 million YouTube and 45 million Facebook users. Pakistan’s social media users are spending more than three hours per day on social media apps. If you’re spending so much time online, it’s quite natural to start buying and selling while on social media apps. We aim to give our sellers every opportunity to thrive in this environment,” said Faisal Zahid, co-founder of Zarya.
Zahid was previously director of product management at ride-hailing company Careem. He also served as senior director of product management at Saudi grocery delivery startup Nana.
Wael Nafee, principal at Raed Ventures, said that the social commerce space is growing rapidly in the MENAP region. “Similar markets such as India, China, and LATAM are showing early signs of their potential. Zarya’s early commercial traction and product value in Pakistan demonstrate its strong ability to deliver the experience that independent sellers need. Raed is thrilled to partner with Zarya and its team.”
This article first appeared in MENAbytes.