The e-commerce platform bags seed funding from Singapore
E-commerce has benefitted the most from the pandemic’s turbocharging of digitalisation. Which is why, investors are rushing to snap up a stake in e-commerce ventures.
Last week, ShopUp, Bangladesh's leading full-stack B2B commerce platform for neighbourhood shops and online sellers, raised a Series A round – which is an investment in a privately-held, start-up company after it has shown progress in building its business model and demonstrates the potential to grow and generate revenue -- of $22.5 million.
And now, PriyoShop, a local e-commerce platform, has raised seed money from a few angel networks of Singapore.
Seed money is a form of securities offering in which an investor invests capital in a startup company in exchange for an equity stake or convertible note stake in the company. The term seed suggests that this is a very early investment, meant to support the business until it can generate cash of its own (see cash flow), or until it is ready for further investments.
Founded in 2018 by Asikul Alam Khan, Dipty Mandal and Raisul Kabir, PriyoShop is a rural e-commerce platform enabling small town micro-entrepreneurs to sell a wide selection of authentic products to the customers without having to invest in working capital stock.
In 2018, it secured angel funding from Sonia Bashir Kabir, managing director of SBK Tech Venture, and from a few more angel investors a year later.
PriyoShop, which also enables small merchants to purchase various products and services from manufacturers and brands, currently has 500,000 monthly active users and 10,000 agents registered on its platform, who together cover 490 towns.
“2020 will be a significant growth year for PriyoShop,” said Khan, also its chief executive officer.
Its ambition is to build a complete e-commerce network that has the same buying power as Walmart, attracting 1 million retailers and 100 million customers in three to four years.
Following this funding round, PriyoShop plans to expand its agent network, small merchants, strengthen its products and technology and build new offerings covering multiple product verticals.
The investors include: Bansea, South East Asia’s oldest angel network and early-stage accelerator VC Accelerating Asia; Shoko Suzuki, managing director of Harbourfront Venture; James Ang, chief partner officer of Dropbox; Carington Invest Alternative Investment Management, Dropbox, Gilat Satellite, MullenLowe, Knapshot Inc., among others.
“As we are executing our vision to make digital commerce accessible to the next 170 million people in Bangladesh through small retailers, investors' experience and wisdom will be invaluable,” Khan said.
People in Bangladesh, especially those living in rural areas, still need assistance to go online.
“If you want to create something for the 170 million people, you need to think differently. The services are the same -- commerce, digital commerce -- but the channel matters a lot,” he added.
The e-commerce market in Bangladesh, especially in the rural area, is still relatively untapped, so there is a strong trajectory ahead in terms of growth and adoption in this space, Bansea said in a statement.
PriyoShop had built a strong brand presence and last-mile distribution network through its unique model of working with small retailers, it added.
“We see opportunities in the digitisation of traditional industries and solving inefficiencies in service and product delivery in Bangladesh,” said Craig Bristol Dixon, co-founder and general partner of Accelerating Asia.
And that’s where PriyoShop comes in.
“We have seen them expand their product offerings and market share considerably since joining our portfolio,” he added.
Going forward, PriyoShop is looking to raise series A money to further expand its business, develop its tech infrastructure and hire more people to manage its supply chain.