Dubai, UAE: 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.”
AWOK.com is a dynamic UAE based E-Commerce business that was founded by Ulugbek Yuldashev in 2013 and is headquartered in Dubai. AWOK has grown rapidly to become one of the leading online shopping destinations in the UAE that attracts approximately 10 million visitors per month. The website, which commenced business by selling electronics, currently offers approximately 300,000 products across over 50 categories which include mobiles, fashion accessories, home appliances, kitchenware, cameras as well as health and beauty products. It manages its own fleet of delivery trucks and employs over 700 employees.
About StonePine ACE Partners Limited
StonePine ACE Partners Limited is a joint venture between StonePine Capital Partners (www.stonepine-capital.com), a Dubai-based asset manager with primary focus on private equity investments, and ACE & Company SA (www.aceandcompany.com), a Geneva-based and FINMA regulated global private equity group. It manages the StonePine ACE Fund, a Middle East-focused growth equity fund (2017 vintage) investing across multiple sectors. StonePine ACE invests in established, high growth organizations with strong management teams. Its investment approach draws on a combination of strategic insight, financial acumen, operational capabilities and a cultural understanding to support businesses to fully achieve their potential. Central to its approach is an ecosystem of investors, advisors and partners who complement its value proposition to build market-leading companies.
About Al Faisaliah Ventures
Al Faisaliah Ventures (AFV) is the newly created Corporate Venture Capital arm of Al Faisaliah Group (AFG), which aims at investment in global and regional disruptive players in key sectors ready for transformation in Saudi Arabia and the larger MENA region. AFG is a privately-held holding company headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, operating across the wider Middle East. Founded in 1971, the Group holds leading positions in multiple industries including Dairy, Electronics, Healthcare and Food Service. The Group is recognised across the region for its strongly held values, professional management and decades-long strategic partnerships with leading local and global firms including notably Sony, Danone, Philips, and Accenture.
About Endeavor Catalyst
Endeavor Catalyst is an innovative co-investment vehicle designed to support Endeavor Entrepreneurs with their equity financing rounds and contribute to the long-term sustainability of Endeavor. Following a disciplined, rules-based investment process, Endeavor Catalyst invests alongside professional venture capital and growth equity firms into the equity financing rounds of Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Launched in 2012, Endeavor Catalyst has US$115MM+ in capital under management across three entities: Endeavor Catalyst Philanthropy (donated funds from 15 anchor donors), Endeavor Catalyst I, LP (invested capital from 90+ Limited Partners), and Endeavor Catalyst II, LP (invested capital from 150+ Limited Partners). As of March 2019, Endeavor Catalyst has made 106 investments across 24 Local Offices.
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