Daraz, an online retailer in Asian frontier markets, has secured €50 million ($55.9 million) in its first major financing round.
The investment comes from the CDC Group – the UK Government’s Development Finance Institution (DFI) focused on supporting and developing businesses in Africa and South Asia – as well as Daraz’s existing investor Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG).
APACIG is a joint venture of German startup incubator Rocket Internet and Qatari telecoms firm Ooredoo. The group’s network consists of 14 e-commerce and online marketplace companies, operating across 15 countries.
The funding will be used to continue to grow the business in existing markets and for expansion into other frontier markets in Asia, Daraz said.
“Although internet penetration is still relatively low, the market is developing fast and its potential is immense,” said Bjarke Mikkelsen, CEO of Daraz.
Daraz operates its e-commerce platform in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, where it is operating as shop.com.mm. The company started in Pakistan in 2012 as an online fashion business, but since then has expanded its business model to a general marketplace for brands within electronics, home appliances, fashion and other categories.
Hanno Stegmann, CEO of APACIG, said that Daraz is one of the “most promising” companies in their portfolio. “The markets where Daraz is active are inspiring for entrepreneurs. We are looking forward to supporting Daraz in its ambition to become the No.1 shopping destination in Asian frontier markets.”
David Osborne, CDC’s Investment Director, said his firm’s investment will enable Daraz to build an online trading infrastructure reassured the choice of investing in the company.
“We expect our investment to help Daraz create several thousand direct and indirect jobs over the next five years, and play an important role in the professionalisation and development of local retail sectors, logistics networks and technology industries.”
Source: Myanmar Business Today