Tajir, a Lahore-headquartered B2B ecommerce marketplace for mom-and-pop stores has raised $1.8 million, TechCrunch reported today. The investment came from San Francisco-based Pioneer Fund, Singapore’s Golden Gate Ventures, Pakistan’s Fatima Gobi Ventures, Pakistan-focused VC Karavan, Dubai-based VentureSouq, and different angel investors (with some from the Middle East).
To the best of our knowledge, it is the first investment of all the three international institutional investors in a Pakistani startup.
This comes less than three months after Tajir’s graduation from Y Combinator. It is the first YC-backed startup that’s targeting the Pakistani market.
Founded in 2018 by a brother duo, Babar Khan and Ismail Khan, Tajir makes it easy for the mom and pop stores (also known as kiryana stores locally) in the country (for now in Central Punjab mainly Lahore) to procure inventory for their stores through its Urdu-only app-based marketplace. It currently sells FMCG products including soft drinks, biscuits, shampoo, and food staples like rice and wheat.
For suppliers on its platform, Tajir makes it easier to sell directly to stores, helping them earn higher margins without any additional investment.
Tajir claims to be serving 15,000 stores right now and has over 1,000 SKUs.
Babar Khan, the co-founder of Tajir, speaking to MENAbytes, in an interview earlier this year had said that they’re building the infrastructure for commerce in Pakistan, “Tajir should facilitate any store to increase their income. Right now, that means providing the largest selection, transparent prices, and next-day delivery. We are expanding our catalog continually with more brands and product categories.”
Ali Mukhtar, the General Partner of Fatima Gobi Ventures, speaking to MENAbytes today, said, “The retail market in Pakistan is at $151 billion and growing at over 8% per annually. The market with over 2 million stores remains fragmented and inefficient, creating a big opportunity for tech-based solutions. We believe Tajir is best positioned to be a leading player in Pakistan backed by a strong team, experienced mentors, and leading investors.”
The startup, according to TechCrunch, plans to use the latest investment to expand its offering including a wider catalog of inventory and access to financial services, to help stores grow their business.
Bazaar, a Pakistani B2B ecommerce marketplace that was founded just two months ago and raised $1.3 million in country’s largest pre-seed round last week is another major player going after this market. Both the startups, at least for now, are operating in different markets inside the country, with Tajir already working with a large number of store owners in Lahore and Bazaar trying to win Karachi.