Starting a small business in a country like Bangladesh can be a difficult task. Traveling around the globe to sourcing wholesale products, arguing with shopkeepers over prices, stockpiling products, looking for customers' homes in the city's alleys for delivery, and much more! Now, if you are told that you can get all the solutions from online business sourcing to delivery without any investment by downloading a free app on the phone! Isn't that cool?
More than 6 lakh entrepreneurs have already succeeded in their online business using a single platform. There is a platform where you can get a huge collection of more than 1 lakh wholesale products spread across the country sitting at home! ShopUp has accomplished this impossible task. Now, they have raised $75 Million in new funding to reach more people in Bangladesh as well as abroad.
What is ShopUp?
ShopUp works toward bringing different small and medium traders under one roof. In addition, ShopUp connects the manufacturer with the wholesaler, further, the wholesalers are connected with the retailer and the retailer with the buyer. ShopUp offers a variety of online business services, including promotion of products, timely delivery of products, and high-quality packaging. Besides the website, the platform also has three apps in the Google Play Store.
Afeef Zaman, Siffat Sarwar, and Ataur Rahim Chowdhury launched the ShopUp in February 2016 with the aim of turning the country's potential entrepreneurs, especially women, into successful entrepreneurs by using various services of Facebook and information technology.
Before that, Ataur Rahim Chowdhury, who has passed Computer Science and Engineering from East-West University, started the smashboard, which used to work with query management through social media. During that time Ataur came to know about the various problems of product delivery services of e-commerce companies in Bangladesh. He discussed the matter with his friends Afeef Zaman and Siffat Sarwar, who graduated from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) of Dhaka University.
All three agreed that the solution to the delivery problem would change the face of Bangladesh's e-commerce business. Soon after, they started ShopUp in a small office in Lake Circus, Kalabagan. In the beginning, they used to provide service on managing Facebook pages as well as order and manage products.
Later, they added the merchant delivery service. Gradually ShopUp also started giving loans to entrepreneurs for business development. Later, the company also launched a mobile app. That's how today's ShopUp was started.
How ShopUp works?
ShopUp works through a few simple steps, but you will need to put some effort into it. However, you can find out whether the product has been delivered or not from the ShopUp app, sitting at home. ShopUp will do all the work for you, which can make your business successful easily and hassle-free.
Firstly, you will need to install the app on your phone. Register in a few easy steps and get more than lakhs of wholesale products for boys and girls, including fashionable dresses, cosmetics, gazettes, and accessories. Download pictures of your favorite products and share them on your business page or do online marketing. When the customer places an order, you will need to place the order in the app and enter the delivery address. Fill out the delivery details, selling price, and other relevant information.
You can find out the real-time updates and payment details of delivery through the app. Profits on full-week sales will go directly to your bKash account next week.
ShopUp offers different types of services to make the business easier. Services include delivery, shop management, and ShopUp assist.
Own delivery service
Delivering products on time to buyers is a challenge for any entrepreneur. That is why ShopUp has its own delivery service to provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to deliver products all over the country quickly.
Shop management services
Entrepreneurs have to update their Facebook pages regularly to make their products attractive to buyers. But everyone cannot do that on their own. Hence, ShopUp has shop management services to solve the problem. The service provides the opportunity to create a business-friendly page on Facebook as well as add up-to-date information.
There is no substitute for product promotion to reach online business buyers. But due to a lack of direction, many people cannot promote the product properly. Many also annoy the buyers by promoting the same product over and over, which later becomes a threat to the business.
ShopUp Assist can give a solution to that. Through the service, an entrepreneur can post product promotion or page promotion on Facebook. Even if you need a credit card for that, ShopUp offers the opportunity to pay through a bKash account.
To accelerate the business, ShopUp has three additional services, Mokam, REDX, and Baki. ShopUp delivers daily necessities to the grocery store in the neighborhood in 24 hours through the B2B business app Moka. For this, the startup has entered into agreements with various product manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers.
Apart from that, the products are delivered to the traders through REDX. Launched last year, RedX is currently serving 493 Upazilas. And small traders can buy products on credit through the Baki service.
How did they start raising investment?
Over the last 4 years, ShopUp raised investments in several steps. Their investment came from an Angel round in 2017, and they raised $120k. Next, the company proceeded to the seed round in 2018 and received $1.6 million funding from Omidyar Network, USA.
After that, ShopUp participated in three more seed rounds in 2019 and raised $4.2 million in total. Their second largest investment came in October 2020 from Flourish Ventures, Sequoia Capital India through Series A, and the company received $22.5 million. Finally, ShopUp raised $75 million last week from the Series B round.
How did ShopUp raise $75 million from Bangladesh?
Basically, when a new venture shows good results in the market with initial capital, they become eligible for Series A investment. After that, they can proceed to Series B investment. ShopUp has proved its ability through footprint in all 64 districts in Bangladesh and Bengaluru, India.
As a result, they received $75 million from Series B financing led by Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures. The investment also includes, from "Proses- the investment arm of Naspers, Pierre Omidyar's family office, as well as existing investors Sequoia Capital India, VEON Ventures, and Flourish Ventures." As a Series B, it is the largest investment in any startup based in South Asia.