Dubai-based mas-market ecommerce platform Awok.com has closed its $30 million Series A, the startup announced in a statement today, saying it is their first external round. The investment is co-led by Dubai-based StonePine ACE Partners (a joint venture between StonePine Capital Partners and ACE & Company SA) and Saudi-based Al-Faisaliah Ventures, the newly created CVC of one of country’s leading conglomerates Al Faisaliah Group. Endeavor Catalyst also joined the round.
It is ONE of the largest investment rounds raised by an ecommerce startup in the region.
Founded in 2013 by Ulugbek Yuldashev who had started the company with his life savings of $30,000 and three employees, Awok.com sells affordable products mainly in UAE & Saudi focusing on the low to mid-income segments. The platform currently offers over 70,000 products across 30 plus categories products and has its own fulfillment center and logistics.
Awok.com also sells in at least 120 countries through its cross-border services. The platform features products that priced as low as 1 dirham ($0.3) as part of its ongoing clearance sale. These clearance sales make regular appearances on the platform throughout the year.
Ulugbek Yuldashev, Founder and CEO of Awok.com, commenting on the occasion, said, “These are truly exciting times for Awok and its entire ecosystem. We founded Awok.com in 2013 and have been pioneers in servicing a previously untapped segment of the market with a unique product selection. Our success was built on providing our customers with the best experience we could, and with this round of financing we will be able to provide an even better experience to an even larger market.”
The startup plans to use the investment for further geographical expansion into Saudi, enhancement of the platform and their tech, and to increase their offering across multiple product categories.
It will help reinforce Awok’s team, including attracting global talent and raising the level of customer experience and after sales support. In the near future, AWOK will also scale its operations across key growth markets in the GCC countries and North Africa, to bring the same outstanding level of timely service to these locations on the deal,” said the startup in the statement.
“The new capital raised will be mainly used for further geographical expansion into Saudi Arabia, to enhance the AWOK platform empowered by technology development, and to increase AWOK’s offering across multiple product categories to cater to the growing demands in the region.
Youssef Haidar, Founder and CEO of StonePine Capital Partners and Head of the StonePine ACE Fund, said, “What has been achieved by Ulugbek and his core team at Awok.com with the resources they had is nothing short from outstanding. Not many companies, even amongst the well-known success stories we celebrate in the region, have shown such a level of resourcefulness and outstanding execution with no external funding. We are excited to help accelerate what has already been an impressive growth.”
Alejandro Carbon, Chief Portfolio Officer of Al Faisaliah Ventures, said, “The ecommerce in the region is set for exponential growth in the coming years. Awok.com is ideally positioned to capitalize on that growth and further establish itself as one of the leading platforms for buyers and sellers in KSA and overall MENA region. The Al Faisaliah Ventures team scanned the market for the best end-to-end e-commerce capabilities – from sourcing to last-mile delivery – and found Awok.com to be right player to become the next unicorn while supporting small and medium retailers in the region entering online space through AWOK.com marketplace platform.”
Allen Taylor, CEO of Endeavor Catalyst, added, “We have followed Ulugbek’s journey for some time now as one of our handpicked entrepreneurs we support in the region. We know firsthand what he is capable of and are enthusiastic to continue being part of this journey.”