Salla, MENA’s leading and fastest-growing e-commerce enabling platform, today announced it has closed an $8.5 million (~SAR 32 million) Series A funding round led by STV. The round also included participation from existing investors Raed Ventures and Vision Ventures. The company will invest in developing its product and expanding its geographical footprint within Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region.
Founded in 2016 by Nawaf Hariri and Salman Butt, Salla allows anyone to easily set up an e-commerce store in Arabic, among the first to do so in the region. The startup processed 8 million orders and over SAR 2 billion (~$533 million) in gross merchandise value (GMV) through the 10,000+ online stores on its platform – a number that is the highest in the region and rapidly growing.
“Our platform offers users inventory management and marketing tools, as well as detailed reports on store performance and automatic invoices for orders, which enables e-commerce merchants to set up, maintain, and increase sales through their stores without any fees or commissions. Furthermore, due to a variety of payment and logistic partnerships, e-commerce store owners who are using Salla do not have to worry about payment or delivery challenges once their store goes live – it is all taken care of.”Nawaf Hariri, Co-Founder, CEO, Salla
E-commerce penetration has long been lagging in the MENA region, but that has changed in recent years. According to a report by Bain & Company and Google, e-commerce in the MENA region has been growing ahead of the global average with an annual growth rate of 25%. The GCC and Egypt account for 80% of the e-commerce market and have been growing at a 30% annual rate, more than twice as fast as the rest of MENA.
With the e-commerce market growing quickly in Saudi Arabia and MENA, many offline businesses are looking to expand their scope and start offering e-commerce solutions to their customers. For certain companies, including startups and SMEs, this can be a challenge, as many aspects need to be taken into account, including inventory management, delivery, payments, and analytics.
“We are happy to have STV on board in our journey, as we continue to grow our proposition across the region. We believe that our easy-to-use and business-friendly platform, coupled with our Arabic offering and our flexible subscription plans, sets us apart from our competitors. With STV and our previous investors, we are confident that we will be able to capture an even larger part of the market.”Salman Butt, Co-founder, COO at Salla
Moreover, unlike some other e-commerce enablers in the same space, Salla does not charge the store owners for every order they receive. Instead, the company offers a freemium subscription model with three tiers. Accordingly, small businesses can set up their operations free of charge, and upgrade their subscription based on their needs and requirements.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Salla. It is our first investment in the space. Our thesis is based on the move towards software-enabled e-commerce, more than the digitization of traditional commerce. Salla, with its intuitive software and its app store, is not only enabling the creation and launch of new businesses with ease, but is building the backbone of the thriving e-commerce market in the region.”Ahmad Alshammari, Partner, STV
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