Egypt’s SideUp raises $1.2 million to scale e-commerce in the Middle East

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Egypt's SideUp raises $1.2 Million to scale e-commerce in the middle east
Waleed Rashed, founder and chief executive of Sideup start-up (seated on chair, fourth from left), with team members. Photo: Sideup

Egypt’s Voo has rebranded to SideUp and raised $1.2 million to transform its strategy to offer a complete spectrum of e-commerce support services to small business owners in the middle east.

SideUp currently serves thousands of e-commerce businesses which can access cash collection services and credit to expand their businesses. The startup’s portfolio has grown 30% month-on-month, achieving over $500,000 in Gross Merchandise Volume per month.

Some of the services SideUp offers include payment gateways, API integration for shipping, warehousing, fulfilment, and advisory across the Middle East and Africa.

Egypt's SideUp raises $1.2 Million to scale e-commerce in the middle east
SideUp Logo

SideUp founder and CEO Waleed Rashed told TechCrunch in an interview that he observed that large service providers of e-commerce support ignored small business owners, a gap he hopes SideUp would fill.

“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.”

Waleed Rasheed

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“This is why I decided to empower small and medium businesses,” he continued. “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 fulfillment, to marketing services,” he said

 This latest round had the participation of Launch Africa VC, 500 Global, Riyadh Angels, Alex Angels, Al Tuwaijri Fund and Saudi angel investor Faisal AlAbdulsalam.

How SideUp plans to scale operations in the Middle East

SideUp now intends to grow its clientele by scaling in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and expanding to at least two other countries before the end of 2023 to tap the growing e-commerce sector in different regions.

The startup has also expanded to Saudi Arabia, where it will be headquartered, after raising $1.2 million in seed funding.

SideUp’ has partner service providers that enable merchants to sell in 45 countries, which CEO Rashed said, has opened up new markets which had previously been inaccessible by small enterprises.

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Regarding the latest round of funding, Riyadh Angels co-founder Dr Khalid Al Tawil said: “E-commerce remains fragmented across most of the region, creating several 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 growth phase.”

Venture capital funding in Egypt more than doubled to $307 million in the first half of 2022 from a year earlier, ranking it third in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to start-up data platform Magnitt. The number of deals in the country grew by 22 per cent annually to 78 during the first six months of the year.

Read also: Kenya’s Badili raises $2.1M in funding to revamp re-commerce industry in Africa


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