Wadi.com gets the largest series A funding in the tech history of Middle East.By PTI | 16 Feb, 2016, 05:53 AM IST.
Wadi.com, a Middle-East focussed e-commerce platform, has raised USD 67 million (about Rs 456 crore) in funding led by Al Tayyar Travel Group.Founded by Ankit Wadhwa, Pratik Gupta and Kanwal Sarfaraz, the Dubai-based firm will use the series A funding to expand operations in the region, ramp up headcount in India and Middle East as well as strengthening technology platform."This is the largest series A funding in the tech history of Middle East and will further accelerate our growth. Wadi.com is currently active in UAE and Saudi Arabia and is expanding soon to other countries like Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain," Wadhwa told PTI.Wadi.com was set up last year by the Middle East Internet Group ( MEIG) as a joint venture between German firm Rocket Internet and MTN, a South African telecommunications provider.A general merchandise marketplace, Wadi.com has strong growth and has already reached the number three spot in the category by revenue in the GCC region in 10 months of operations, Wadhwa said.The company offers more than 1.5 lakh products from over 2,000 international brands including Apple, Samsung, Lacoste and Hugo Boss.Citing third party data, he said the eCommerce market in the Middle East is expected to grow from USD 15 billion in 2015 to USD 40 billion in 2020."Middle East has a huge potential. The average cart sizes are larger and discounting is limited. One can reach profitability sooner. We are very bullish on the market here," he said.Wadhwa added that India is playing an important role in the company's growth."Of the 180 people we have, 100 are in India. These people bring in industry experience from other eCommerce firms like Snaodeal, Jabong and Myntra across areas like marketing, technology and business analytics," he said.The company is looking at ramping up its headcount to about 360 people within a year as it expands its operations."India also plays an important sourcing destination for us. Over 50 Indian sellers are already shipping directly to the Gulf countries through us and we are looking at expanding that as well," he said.He added that the company is not looking at foraying into the Indian market currently.Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Dawood, Managing Director and CEO of Al Tayyar Travel Group, said Wadi.com has become one of the most important e-commerce players in the Middle East within a very short period of time."We are confident to see Wadi.com growing further, especially with the cargo and logistics support our group will be offering. With this investment, the Al Tayyar Travel Group covers the three largest and most promising areas in the online space: Travel, General Merchandise Marketplace and the shared economy," he added.