Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures leads $75 Mn Series B round in Bangladesh-based ShopUp
Photo Credit: Reuters

Bangladesh-based B2B commerce platform ShopUp, which merged with Bengaluru-based fashion retailer Voonik last February, said on Tuesday it has raised $75 million in a Series B round of funding led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.  With this round, the company has now raised over $110 million. It also marks the first investment by Valar Ventures and Prosus Ventures in Bangladesh.

The round also saw participation from Prosus Ventures along with existing investors Flourish Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, and VEON Ventures.  

Founded by Afeef Zaman, Ataur Rahim Chowdhury, Siffat Sarwar, and Sujayath Ali, in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, ShopUp connects small retailers and shop owners to source goods from large manufacturers and distributors.  The company offers Mokam, which is its B2B ecommerce app. It has two other products – RedX, which is a logistics arm, and Baki, a buy now pay later (BNPL) product for small retailers.   

The company said it has witnessed over 13X growth in revenue and 11X growth in the number of total shipments. Headquartered in Dhaka, ShopUp opened an office in Bengaluru last year, with a large part of its tech and engineering talent based out of India.  

“They became clear market leaders with double digit growth across three products built for the underserved small businesses in Bangladesh. In fast-growing frontier economies like Bangladesh, small businesses are the primary driver of the economy”. James Fitzgerald, founding partner of Valar Ventures, said. 

In 2020, ShopUp set up an India presence, merging with the B2B business and tech platform of Sequoia-backed ecommerce company, Voonik Technologies. Founders of Bengaluru-headquartered Voonik, Sujayath Ali, and Navaneetha Krishnan had joined ShopUp as founders in February, following the merger.   

Founded in 2013, Voonik had bagged close to $47 million from marquee investors since inception, according to data available on VCCEdge. Its backers included venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital, media conglomerate Bennett Coleman, and Co, Kunal Shah of CRED, CureFit co-founder, Mukesh Bansal.  

Started as a personal stylist platform, it pivoted to an online marketplace for unbranded fashion in early 2016 and has made half a dozen acquisitions.   

ShopUp also competes with well-funded B2B companies like Udaan, which has a network of over 25,000 sellers, connecting to more than 3 million users in 900 cities. India has more than 15 million small manufacturers, and over 30 million traders, retailers, and service businesses. 

Reliance Industries backed Jio Platforms has also emerged as the largest contender for fulfilling the supply chain needs for small retailers and mom and pop stores. Facebook’s investment in Jio Platforms also plans on onboarding small businesses and kiranas on to WhatsApp platform for commerce.

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