ShopUp is looking to step up its game.
The company, which bills itself as the largest B2B commerce platform for small businesses in its home country of Bangladesh, announced Tuesday (Sept. 7) it had raised $75 million from a Series B funding round headed by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.
The funds will help ShopUp expand across Bangladesh and double its team in Bengaluru, where it has about 100 staff members. The past year has seen a 13-fold increase in revenue for the start up, which is shipping 11 times more product.
The funding round, which brings ShopUp’s valuation to $100 million, follows an earlier $22.5 million Series Ar round. The round also included participation from Prosus Ventures, along with existing investors Flourish Ventures, Sequoia Capital India and VEON Ventures.
In an interview with PYMNTS earlier this year, VEON CEO Sergi Herrero used the company’s investment in ShopUp in an example of an effort to create more digital financial inclusion.
“As the developed world progresses further into cashless living, for the 1.7 billion people who don’t have bank accounts — the world’s unbanked population — going cashless is not an option,” he said.
“This is financial exclusion on a global scale, and as we emerge into 2021, I believe the private sector and governments everywhere must work more closely to improve financial inclusion and reduce the world’s unbanked population,” Herrero added.
Founded five years ago, ShopUp works to help small retailers and shop owners with large distributors and manufacturers through its Mokam platform. ShopUp has also worked with Bangladesh’s larger manufacturers and distributors to secure and supply inventories to smaller businesses.
Among the challenges facing these smaller businesses are: lack of price transparency, lack of access to a large inventory catalog, the inability to negotiate acceptable prices or faster delivery and a dependence on credit rather than cash or online payments.
“Our mission is to put 4.5 million small retailers in the driving seat of Bangladesh’s economic growth,” ShopUp Co-founder and CEO Afeef Zaman said. “We are building best-in-class infrastructure to support retail operations all over the country, adding new categories to serve the underserved small retailers and launching new financial products to meet the unarticulated needs of the retailers we serve.”