Souq.com has raised a funding of more than Dh1 billion, or $275 million that will support the company's future growth and help strengthen ecommerce in the Middle East, it was announced on Monday. Souq.com is the largest online retail and marketplace platform in the Arab world, featuring more than 1 million products across 31 categories such as consumer electronics, fashion, health and beauty, household goods, and baby. Often tagged as the "Amazon of the Middle East", the ecommerce site operates both as a retail site and as a marketplace for third party sellers. Today, Souq.com attracts over 45 million visits per month, with localised operations in the KSA, UAE and Egypt. The e-commerce market in the Middle East is growing very fast and is expected to reach $20 billion this year. Investors in this round include New York-based Tiger Global Management and South Africa's Naspers Ltd., both of which had invested in Souq.com in earlier funding rounds.
Souq.com also added new strategic investors to diversify its investor base, including Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), Baillie Gifford, and many reputable regional and tech-focused financial institutions. Allen & Company served as financial advisor to Souq.com on this latest round of financing. In a recent report published by Dubai-based integrated communications agency IHC, Souq.com ranked number five for brand awareness in the UAE. Successful completion of this latest round of financing is a testament to the sustained confidence in the brand and also makes Souq.com the most valued internet company in the Middle East.
"The funding will be used to drive further growth by investing in technology, scaling our marketplace operations, launching new product categories and recruiting the best talent.we focus on the value we bring through technology and job creation. We connect people to products through our retail and marketplace model. Through cutting edge technology, we enable our consumers to make smarter choices and access to mobile commerce is further empowering them," Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO & Cofounder of Souq.com says.
"We don't share annual turnover figure," Mouchawar told Khaleej Times during an interview. But market sources told this scribe that the ecommerce site touched Dh500 million turnover mark in 2014 and Dh1 billion in 2015. Mouchawar adds, "Further growth is inherent from being in a market with the highest mobile penetration in the world and continued adoption of mobile commerce by our customers. Souq.com is constantly enhancing its customer experience, for both buyers and sellers. SMEs in particular are true growth drivers in our economy and our aim is to empower merchants to reap the benefits of e-commerce and further drive growth via mobile. Capitalising on the step-change in consumer behaviour and business benefit towards mobile commerce, Souq.com will continue to lead the e-commerce industry in the region."