Dubai-based e-commerce AWOK.com has taken a step toward meeting its ambitious regional growth plans with the announcement of its first external round of funding.
The $30 million financing round is jointly led by StonePine Ace Partners and Al Faisaliah Ventures. The deal is also being co-invested in by investment group Endeavor Catalyst. The e-commerce platform intends to pursue its vision of providing consumers in the MENA region timely and seamless access to value products.
"These are truly exciting times for Awok and its entire ecosystem. We founded AWOK.com in 2013 and have been pioneers in servicing a previously untapped segment of the market with a unique product selection. Our success was built on providing our customers with the best experience we could, and with this round of financing we will be able to provide an even better experience to an even larger market," said Ulugbek Yuldashev, Founder and CEO of AWOK.com.
Expansion amid competition
The funds raised are expected to further geographical expansion into Saudi Arabia, AWOK confirmed, and to enhance the e-commerce platform's offerings empowered by technology development. AWOK also intends to reinforce its team by attracting global talent and enhance customer experience, focusing on after-sales support. The company is also looking to scale up operations across key growth markets in the GCC countries and North Africa.
Founded in 2013, the platform entered the e-commerce foray with consumables and then went beyond the UAE into Saudi Arabia in 2017. AWOK.com now aims to capitalize on the exponential growth in the e-commerce space and establish itself across the GCC and the MENA regions.
"What has been achieved by Ulugbek and his core team at AWOK.com with the resources they had is nothing short from outstanding. Not many companies, even amongst the well-known success stories we celebrate in the region, have shown such a level of resourcefulness and outstanding execution with no external funding. We are excited to help accelerate what has already been an impressive growth," said Youssef Haidar, Founder and CEO of StonePine Capital Partners and Head of the StonePine ACE Fund.
E-commerce has seen a boom in the Middle East and North Africa region with an increasing demand for same-day deliveries, higher implementation of technology, a larger number of warehouses, and the need for fulfillment centers to be closer to population centers.
"The Al Faisaliah Ventures team scanned the market for the best end-to-end e-commerce capabilities – from sourcing to last-mile delivery – and found AWOK.com to be right player to become the next unicorn while supporting small and medium retailers in the region entering online space through AWOK.com marketplace platform," said Alejandro Carbon, Chief Portfolio Officer of Al Faisaliah Ventures.