Zarya raises $1.7 million pre-seed to build a ‘Meesho for Pakistan’

Lahore-based business-to-business ecommerce platform Zarya has raised $1.7 million in a pre-seed round led by one of MENA’s leading VCs Raed Ventures, with participation from Fatima Gobi Ventures, U.S.-based Class 5 Global, Global Founders Capital. Egyptian social commerce startup Taager that had raised $6.4 million in a seed round earlier this year also joined the round.

Founded by brothers Faisal and Saad Zahid earlier this year, Zarya enables small sellers (mainly housewives) to source different products, including apparel for women and children, through its platform and sell them in their network. The startup takes care of the entire process, from sourcing products to delivery and payments, and transfer the profit of every seller when a sale is completed.

This concept of social selling was pioneered by Meesho in India and has been adapted by different startups from emerging markets, including Brimore and Taager from Egypt. Started in 2015, Meesho has raised over $1 billion in total financing to date and was valued at close to $5 billion in its most recent funding round.

Zarya currently has over 3,000 products on its platform with plans to add many more by introducing categories like abayas, shoes, home textiles, and makeup.

Faisal Zahid, co-founder of Zarya, commenting on the occasion, said, “Pakistan has over 100 million YouTube and 45 million Facebook users. Pakistan’s social media users are spending more than 3 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.”

He was previously director of product at Careem. Prior to starting Zarya, Faisal was senior director of product management at Saudi grocery delivery startup Nana.

Wael Nafee, Principal at Raed Ventures, commenting on the investment, said, “Raed sees the social commerce space growing rapidly in the MENAP region. Similar markets such as India, China and LATAM are showing early signs of its 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.”

The startup plans to use the funds to broaden its supply for sellers.

Sami Awa

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