Egyptian start-up SideUp secures $1.2 million to grow its e-commerce support platform

Egypt-based startup SideUp has raised $1.2 million in seed funding to venture into Saudi Arabia, where it will be headquartered henceforth.

This latest funding round had the participation of 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 TechCrunch he was inspired to link small merchants to e-commerce support, upon realising they were largely neglected by large service providers.

“There is a lot of talk about how e-commerce is scaling, but still, we are not empowering enough of those micro, small and medium enterprises that are selling online. Merchants need many services and a complete ecosystem to be successful,” said Mr Rashed.

“This is why I decided to empower small and medium businesses; SideUp is for the merchants in the village, or those selling products over Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp. They get accessibility to all the services starting from the courier company, warehousing and fulfilment, to marketing services.” 

SideUp’s partner service providers enable merchants to sell across 45 countries which has opened up new markets, previously closed to various SMEs.

Today, SideUp serves 2,000 e-commerce businesses, which can also access cash collection services and credit to expand their businesses. Its portfolio has seen a 30 per cent month-on-month increase, achieving more than $500,000 GMV monthly.

Riyadh Angels co-founder, Khalid Al Tawil, said: “E-commerce remains fragmented across most of the region, creating a number of challenges for business owners. 

“SideUp’s platform is a giant leap forward giving them a single place to access partners and technology to grow their businesses exponentially. We are excited to see them come to Saudi Arabia and support businesses through their next phase of growth.”

In addition, the start-up has announced its plans to diversify its clientele base by scaling in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and expanding to a minimum of two other countries before the end of next year, to efficiently capitalise on the flourishing e-commerce sector in different regions.

The Mena e-commerce markets are forecasted to grow above 11.5 per cent in the next five years prompted by internet and smartphone penetration, urbanisation and mobile shopping, with more businesses embracing e-commerce, according to a recent Mordor Intelligence report.