Investments

Riyadh-based Retailo raises $6.7 million seed to grow its B2B marketplace in MENAP

Riyadh-headquartered B2B ecommerce marketplace Retailo has raised $6.7 million in the largest seed-round-ever for a Saudi startup, it announced today. The deal comes just seven months after Retailo raised $2.3 million in what was one of the largest pre-seed rounds of the region.

The seed round that takes Retailo’s total financing to date to $9 million was led by returning investor Shorooq Partners and London-based private equity firm Abercross Holdings which is backed by multiple Saudi family offices, and joined by San Francisco-based AgFunder and regional VC firm Arzan Venture Capital. Some individual investors including former Careem executive Junaid Iqbal also participated in the deal.

Founded in 2020 by a team of former Careem leaders; Talha Ansari, Muhammad Nowkhaiz, and Wahaj Ahmed, Retailo enables grocery store owners to buy inventory for their stores using its mobile app. In their own words, Retailo’s mission is to simplify retail by using cutting-edge technology and increasing access by making complex supply chains beautifully uncomplicated, streamlined and efficient.

Currently available in Riyadh & Karachi, Retailo offers next-day delivery for thousands of SKUs from the leading FMCG brands. The startup has its own fulfillment centers and last-mile delivery network to fulfill the orders in both cities. Its logistics department employs over 250 direct and indirect employees which makes up over 60 percent of the total workforce of the company.

In addition to Careem, Retailo’s founders and senior leadership have also built and scaled products and teams for companies like Foodpanda, Daraz, Ebay, Amazon, and McKinsey across different countries in the region.

According to its website, over 30,000 retailers have used Retailo to date. The Saudi startup has been growing at 35 percent (in terms of GMV) month-over-month on average since closing its pre-seed round in October 2020, its co-founder Talha Ansari told MENAbytes, adding that it currently does over 100,000 orders a month in Riyadh & Karachi.

“With this investment, Retailo is geared for hyper-growth to rapidly build on what we have already achieved in a short time. The current round of $6.7 million will not only help us expand our existing verticals across MENAP but also build new, much-needed technology products for the highly underserved SME market and bring us closer to achieving our grand vision of unlocking the earning potential of 10 million SMEs,” added Talha in a statement.

Issam Hamid, the Managing Partner of Abercross Holdings, said, “Abercross is pleased to partner with the Retailo team in building a modern, efficient, technology-led supply chain across the Middle East and Pakistan region which will bring real benefits to hundreds of thousands of consumers and small retailers.”

Michael Dean, Founding Partner at AgFunder said, “Informal retail is an extremely large market that is the backbone of employment and consumer spending in the MENAP region. We were impressed by the Retailo team’s blend of experience and domain expertise and their ability to leverage technology to build a compelling and fast-growing B2B Ecommerce Marketplace to service these markets.”

Retailo plans to use the latest funds to deepen its reach in the existing markets, grow its team, and further improve its products.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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