Retailo, the Riyadh-based B2B eCommerce startup, has announced $2.3 million of funding in a pre-seed round to go toward boosting small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the Middle East, according to a press release.
The round was led by Abu Dhabi-based Shorooq Partners, while 500 Durian (the 500 Startups fund for Southeast Asia) and 92 Ventures chipped in as well, along with angels from the region’s top startups and leading management consulting firms, according to the release.
This was the second-largest pre-seed round in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, as well as the largest for a Saudi-headquartered startup.
Retailo is only a few months old, founded by Talha Ansari, Muhammad Nowkhaiz and Wahaj Ahmed, alums of companies like Careem, Rocket Internet, Daraz and McKinsey. The company aims to boost retailers' ability to gather inventory for their stores. Currently, it works with grocery stores in the Saudi Arabia and Pakistan areas, and appears to have launched last month in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, in addition to the city of Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a new movement to reduce reliance on cash. Saudi Payments, the state-owned payment apparatus, recently partnered with stc pay to boost its mobile wallet and expand financial inclusion to more people not currently banked in the country.
The three founders of Retailo said they "strongly believe in creating impact in the lives of people by giving them opportunities to improve their earning potential."
"The MENAP region has a significant opportunity to increase its economic prosperity by unlocking the productivity delta that exists between the region and global benchmarks," they said in a statement. "MENAP is home to 700 million individuals and 10 million SMEs, and its unorganized retail sector presents the perfect opportunity to increase the efficiency of [the] supply chain by utilizing technology and real-time data."