Startups

Egypt’s SideUp raises $1.2M to grow its e-commerce support platform

Comment

Egypt's SideUp team
Image Credits: SideUp

After four years operating primarily as a logistics marketplace, Egypt’s Voo has rebranded to SideUp and transformed its strategy to offer a complete spectrum of e-commerce support services, including payment gateways, API integration for shipping, warehousing, fulfillment and advisory.

The startup has also expanded to Saudi Arabia, where it will be headquartered henceforth, after raising a $1.2 million seed funding. This latest round had the participation of Launch Africa VC, 500 Global, Riyadh Angels, Alex Angels, Al Tuwaijri Fund and Saudi angel investor Faisal Al-Abdulsalam.

SideUp founder and CEO Waleed Rashed told TechCrunch he was inspired to link small merchants to e-commerce support after realizing they were ignored 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 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 fulfillment, to marketing services,” he said

New report examines Africa’s growth in the digital economy and VC investment landscape

Rashed first ventured into entrepreneurship in 2012, after a career in banking, when he founded Ingez, an errands company that gave him firsthand experience in running an e-commerce business.

“Through the four years I understood a lot of things about logistics, operations and e-commerce. I saw how small businesses, because they lacked volume, were not a priority for big logistics companies,” said Rashed, who after exiting Ingez, founded SideUp to tackle challenges faced by small businesses and to help them scale.

Growth

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

SideUp currently serves 2,000 e-commerce businesses, which can also access cash collection service and credit to expand their businesses. Its portfolio has grown 30% month-on-month, achieving over $500,000 Gross Merchandise Volume per month.

Riyadh Angels co-founder Dr. Khalid Al Tawil, said: “Ecommerce 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.”

The startup now plans to grow its clientele base by scaling in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and expanding to at least two other countries before the end of 2023, to tap the burgeoning e-commerce sector in different regions.

The Middle-East and Africa e-commerce markets are set to grow above 11.5% in the next five years, sustained by internet and smartphone penetration, urbanization and mobile shopping, and as more businesses embrace e-commerce, according to a Mordor Intelligence report.

Khazenly, an Egyptian on-demand warehousing and fulfillment platform, raises $2.5M seed funding

Egyptian venture capital firm Algebra Ventures hits first close of second fund at $100M

More TechCrunch

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

16 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

18 hours ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, launched an enterprise version of the prominent social network in 2015. It always seemed like a stretch for a company built on a consumer…

With the end of Workplace, it’s fair to wonder if Meta was ever serious about the enterprise

X, formerly Twitter, turned TweetDeck into X Pro and pushed it behind a paywall. But there is a new column-based social media tool in town, and it’s from Instagram Threads.…

Meta Threads is testing pinned columns on the web, similar to the old TweetDeck

As part of 2024’s Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is showing off some updates to Android that should be useful to folks with mobility or vision impairments. Project Gameface allows gamers…

Google expands hands-free and eyes-free interfaces on Android