February 7, 2023

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Egypt’s SideUp Raises $1.2M to Expand Its Ecommerce Support Platform • Eureka News Now

After four years primarily as a logistics marketplace, Egypt’s Voo has rebranded to SideUp and changed its strategy to offer a full spectrum of e-commerce support services including payment gateways, API integration for shipping, warehousing, fulfillment and consulting.

The startup has also expanded into Saudi Arabia, where it will be headquartered from now on, after raising $1.2 million in seed funding. This latest round featured Launch Africa VC, 500 Global, Riyadh Angels, Alex Angels, Al Tuwaijri Fund and Saudi angel investor Faisal AlAbdulsalam.

SideUp founder and CEO Waleed Rashed told Eureka News Now he was inspired to connect small merchants to ecommerce support after realizing they were being ignored by large service providers.

“There’s a lot of talk about how e-commerce is scaling, but we’re not empowering those (micro, small and medium-sized businesses) that sell online enough. Merchants need many services and a complete ecosystem to be successful,” Rashed said.

“That’s why I decided to empower small and medium-sized businesses; SideUp is for the village traders or those who sell products via Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp. You get access to all services, starting from the courier company to warehousing and fulfillment to marketing services,” he said

Rashed first ventured into entrepreneurship after a career in banking in 2012 when he founded Ingez, a procurement company which gave him first-hand experience running an e-commerce business.

“In the four years I have understood many things about logistics, operations and e-commerce. I saw that because small businesses lacked volume, they weren’t a priority for big logistics companies,” said Rashed, who founded SideUp after leaving Ingez to address small business challenges and help them scale.

growth

SideUp’s partner service providers enable merchants to sell in 45 countries, which Rashed says has opened up new markets previously inaccessible to small businesses.

SideUp currently serves 2,000 e-commerce businesses who can also access cash collection services and credit to grow their businesses. His portfolio has grown 30% month-on-month and has reached over $500,000 per month in gross merchandise volume.

The co-founder of Riyadh Angels, Dr. Khalid Al Tawil, said: “E-commerce remains fragmented in most parts of the region, presenting a number of challenges for business owners. SideUp’s platform is a giant leap forward by giving them a central place to access partners and technology to grow their business exponentially. We are delighted that they are coming to Saudi Arabia and supporting companies in their next phase of growth.”

The startup now plans to expand its customer base by scaling in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and to expand to at least two more countries before the end of 2023 to tap into the burgeoning e-commerce sector in different regions.

According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, e-commerce markets in the Middle East and Africa will grow by over 11.5% over the next five years, aided by internet and smartphone penetration, urbanization and mobile shopping and more companies use e-commerce.