Zarya, a Lahore-based B2B e-commerce startup, has raised $1.7 million in a pre-seed round led by Raed Ventures, with participation from Fatima Gobi Ventures, Class 5 Global of the United States, and Global Founders Capital.
The startup was founded by two brothers, Faisal and Saad Zahid, with the goal of enabling small sellers (mostly women) to source and sell various products through their network. Zarya manages the entire process, from product sourcing to delivery and payment, and even the overall profit transfer after a sale is completed. Additionally, the startup’s platform currently features over 3,000 products in a variety of categories, including home textiles, makeup, and footwear.
This is referred to as social selling,’ which was pioneered by Meesho in India and has since been adopted by a number of emerging market startups, including Brimore and Taager from Egypt. Meesho raised over $1 billion in total financing and was recently valued at close to $5 billion as a result of its social selling strategy.
According to Faisal Zahid, Zarya’s co-founder:
“Pakistan has a population of more than 100 million YouTube users and 45 million Facebook users. Pakistanis spend more than three hours per day on social media apps. With so much time spent online, it’s natural to begin buying and selling while using social media apps. We want to provide every opportunity for our sellers to succeed in this environment.”
Additionally, Wael Nafee, Principal at Raed Ventures, made the following remarks during the event:
“Raed anticipates that the social commerce space will continue to grow rapidly in the MENAP region. Similar markets such as India, China, and Latin America are already demonstrating its potential. Zarya’s early commercial success and product value in Pakistan demonstrate the company’s ability to provide the experience that independent sellers require. Raed is ecstatic to be collaborating with Zarya and its team.”
Zarya intends to use the funding to expand its seller base and further empower women-led businesses.