Wysada, an online home furnishings store based in Amman, Jordan, announced today that it has raised a $5 million Series A led by Badia Impact Fund, a venture capital fund owned by Silicon Badia. Strategic investors from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and existing investors also participated.
Wysada says that the funding is one of the largest Series A rounds raised by an early-stage e-commerce startup in the Middle East to date. It will use the capital to expand in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia. The site uses a flash-sales model and has sourcing offices, warehouses, and fulfillment centers in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jordan, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, Wysada founder and CEO Mohammed Musleh said that online users [in the Arab World] is increasing from 74 million users today to well over 100 million by 2015. Around 70 percent of current transaction come from repeat buyers. With “e-commerce growing by 30 percent annually in our geography, we are well positioned to dominate the market. Give the incredible traction we’ve experienced since launch, we pursued this round combining local, regional, and global expertise to capitalize on this market opportunity,” said Musleh.
Online sales in the Middle East currently account for less than one percent of total retail sales and only 15 percent of businesses in the region have an online presence. But business-to-business ecommerce sales are expected to reach an estimated $15 billion in 2015, up from $9 billion in 2012. Mobile commerce is another sector that is expected to enjoy strong growth, reaching $4.9 billion by 2015.
Other companies and investors that have taken note of the Middle East’s online commerce sector include Rocket Internet, which recently held its IPO. Rocket Internet has repeatedly made investments in the region, including a partnership with MTN Group, one of Africa’s largest telecom operators, to form a $410 million joint venture that will focus on e-commerce startups in the Middle East.
“The ecommerce home goods market is trending all over the world and Wysada has fast established itself as the leader in the Middle East that is continually amplified with comparisons to Wayfair Inc. and One Kings Lane in the United States,” said Namek Zu’bi, Silicon Badia’s managing partner, in a statement.