Dubai E-Commerce Aggregator Raises $42M in Series A
Opontia, a Dubai e-commerce aggregator which enables online sellers to realize the full value of their brands, has raised $42 million. It has raised the capital in the Series A funding round that was a mix of equity and venture debt with STV, Mena’s largest venture capital fund, leading the equity investment. Ahmad Alshammari, general partner of STV, and Saed Nashef, founding partner of Read Ventures, will join the board of Opontia.
More about Opontia
Established in early 2021, Opontia buys smaller e-commerce businesses and scales them up. It has expanded quickly into new geographies and the largest online retail economies of the Middle East, with offices across Riyadh, Dubai, Istanbul, and Warsaw. The company says it will use the funds to acquire exceptional e-commerce brands, and to invest in a team of experienced e-commerce experts in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, who will be responsible for managing and growing brands after acquisition. The company has already recruited a top-tier team with notable experience from Amazon, Noon, McKinsey, Uber Eats, and Namshi.
“We are committed to continuing to support e-commerce entrepreneurs in realizing the potential of their brands. Through Opontia’s support, entrepreneurs can achieve scale and development as we lead their daily operations and enable them to reap the benefits from the growth in their brands,” said Philip Johnston, chief executive of Opontia.
Where Did the Funding Come From?
The proceeds from venture debt account for more than 50% of the company’s $42 million round. It has been funded by Partners for Growth, a billion-dollar San Francisco venture debt fund. Last year, the e-commerce aggregator raised $20 million in seed funding, one of the largest seed rounds in the Middle East and Africa region.
“The e-commerce market is rapidly augmenting across central and eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. But the pace of innovation, entrepreneurship, and growth remains less mature than in some western markets. Opontia will continue to enable entrepreneurs and brands to grow and solidify their market share while generating sustainable economic returns that will enable Oponita to continue to grow and support more brands,” said Manfred Meyer, co-chief executive of Opontia.
Regional E-Commerce Overview
In the post-Covid era, the region’s e-commerce market has seen an unprecedented expansion with the exponential growth of online consumers. Start-ups in the Mena region secured $1.03 billion in funding last year, up 13% compared to 2019, according to data platform Magnitt. E-commerce start-ups, along with FinTech companies, received the bulk of the funding. Together, e-commerce and FinTech garnered almost a quarter of all deals in 2020, according to Magnitt. Investment in healthcare start-ups more than tripled to $72 million during the pandemic. Within the region, the UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia accounted for 68% of total deals disclosed in 2020.
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