Dubai: Awok, the local online marketplace founded in 2013 to sell gadgets and electronic goods, has raised $30 million in funding to fuel the company’s expansion into Saudi Arabia.
The Series A funding round, led by venture capital funds StonePine ACE Partners, Al Faisaliah Ventures, and Endeavor Catalyst, will also help to develop Awok’s e-commerce platform and add new product categories, the company said in a statement.
According to founder Ulugbek Yuldashev, the company was entirely self-funded until this capital injection, which ranks as one of the largest Series A rounds in the region to date.
Comparatively, Careem — which recently sold to Uber for $3.1 billion — raised around $12 million in its early stage investments.
“These are truly exciting times for Awok and its entire ecosystem,” said Yuldashev. “We founded [Awok] in 2013 and have been pioneers in servicing a previously untapped segment of the market with a unique product selection.”
The company will focus on talent acquisition in the coming months, bolstering its technology team in Dubai with global hires. It will also grow its customer services team, in anticipation of a push in to the wider Gulf and North African markets, which it said will come “in the near future.”
“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,” Yuldashev added.
One of the company’s financiers, StonePine ACE Partners, called Awok’s success story “nothing short [of] outstanding.”
Not many companies, said Youssef Haidar, founder and CEO of StonePine Capital Partners, “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,” he added.
Endeavor Catalyst, meanwhile, has previously invested in fellow regional start-up’s including Fetchr and Mumzworld.