Brandverse, Pakistan's leading startup that is solving for the profitable and sustainable growth of small businesses by democratising access to e-commerce, announced that it has closed a multi-million dollar investment seed round led by the JS Group. The round also saw follow-on participation from seed investors, regional family offices and operator angels.
The company also announced the appointment of former Group COO of TCS, Faizan Siddiqi, as Co-founder & Managing Director, to support the next stage of Brandverse’s growth and expansion into foreign markets.
With this round, Brandverse will further strengthen its Chikoo app which enables both offline, hyper-local and on-demand e-commerce across the retail value chain. Chikoo is the e-commerce enablement platform for small businesses that is bringing neighborhood stores, at-home entrepreneurs and general traders to realise the promise of e-commerce, without the expense or capability requirements normally associated with going online. Chikoo enables any business, selling anything, anywhere, to start selling online, in less than 1 minute, with nothing more than a smartphone and internet connection.
Raza Matin, CEO of Brandverse said: "We knew we would witness massive adoption of the internet and technology by Pakistani small businesses and founded Brandverse because we wanted to play our part in redefining the nation’s growth story through this transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the criticality of this shift for Pakistan's smaller businesses, as competition in the last mile intensifies. We are also incredibly excited to welcome onboard Faizan, who will supercharge our growth efforts, as he has done so many times before."
Pakistan is home to one of the most fragmented retail markets in Asia, with the bulk of all retail consumption happening through more than 2 million small retail businesses spread out across the country. These shops face daily struggles with product and inventory classification and not having the ability to increase their reach by selling online or being discovered.
Problems such as product unavailability, lack of price transparency and unreliable delivery severely hamper their ability to manage day-to-day businesses. Chikoo adds a virtual window to small retail businesses, allowing them to find new customers and offer digital convenience instantly. Chikoo has partnered with 3rd-party payments, logistics and marketing providers to create a dependable ecosystem that provides an end-to-end solution.
With Brandverse's Chikoo app, a retailer can be online and ready to go in less than 3 mins, and start selling their existing in-store inventory backed by the Brandverse product data engine that has already codified over 100k domestic retail products, and provides access to a further 300 million international products, that can be added to any store by simply scanning a barcode of the product with the seller’s camera phone.
Salaal Hasan, Director — Venture Capital of JS Group shared “Investing in technology that fills institutional voids, where the customer maintains a long-term positive economic relationship with the product, platform or service are at the core of our belief. In Brandverse, we partner with an experienced management team that possesses a formidable pedigree in operations and unparalleled insights on product-market-fit for emerging markets.”
Founded in 2018, Brandverse aims to create the best-in-class solutions for the next-generation of e-commerce in Pakistan — one that is both hyper-local and on-demand. Realising that there was a massive gap and need in the market for product content, Brandverse has created the largest database of high quality, digital product content assisting some of Pakistan’s leading retail businesses and platforms on their digitisation journey.
Through the Chikoo app, Brandverse is now deploying the same data to build an orchestrating aggregator between retailers, logistics and fin-tech, allowing small and medium sized merchants to launch their e-commerce stores, connect with aggregator platforms and service their customers digitally.
With a strong focus on delivering merchant delight, Brandverse aims to grow the Chikoo offering into a seller-focused super app and small business operating system, providing millions of small businesses in the region with elegant and accessible solutions for digital payments, CRM, marketing, inventory management, invoicing, loan management, accounting, supply chain finance and procurement — all in the palm of your hand.
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