AWOK.com – the leading UAE mass market e-commerce platform – has closed its first external round of financing to pursue its ambitious regional growth plans with the vision of providing consumers with timely and seamless access to value products across the Middle East and North Africa.
The US$30m financing round is jointly led by StonePine ACE Partners out of its StonePine ACE Fund – a joint venture between StonePine Capital Partners and ACE & Company SA – and Al Faisaliah Ventures, the newly created Corporate Ventures Capital arm of Al Faisaliah Group. Both are top tier regional investment companies. The deal is being co-invested in by globally renowned investment group Endeavor Catalyst.
The new capital raised will be mainly used for further geographical expansion into Saudi Arabia, to enhance the AWOK platform empowered by technology development, and to increase AWOK’s offering across multiple product categories to cater to the growing demands in the region. It will help reinforce Awok’s team, including attracting global talent and raising the level of customer experience and after sales support. In the near future, AWOK will also scale its operations across key growth markets in the GCC countries and North Africa, to bring the same outstanding level of timely service to these locations on the deal.
Commenting on the deal, Ulugbek Yuldashev, Founder and CEO of AWOK.com said: “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.”
Youssef Haidar, Founder and CEO of StonePine Capital Partners and Head of the StonePine ACE Fund, commented: “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.”
Alejandro Carbon, Chief Portfolio Officer of Al Faisaliah Ventures added: “The E-Commerce space in the region is set for exponential growth in the coming years. AWOK.com is ideally positioned to capitalize on that growth and further establish itself as one of the leading platforms for buyers and sellers in KSA and overall MENA region. 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.”
Allen Taylor, CEO of Endeavor Catalyst also commented: “We have followed Ulugbek’s journey for some time now as one of our handpicked entrepreneurs we support in the region. We know firsthand what he is capable of and are enthusiastic to continue being part of this journey.”