Lahore-based B2B ecommerce marketplace Tajir has raised $17 million in a Series A round led by one of the leading American VC firms Kleiner Perkins, it announced today. It is the first investment by the American VC in a Pakistani startup. The round also included the participation of Y Combinator Continuity Fund, AAVCF, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Flexport, Golden Gate Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, VentureSouq, and angel investors including Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen and Figma CEO Dylan Field.
The investment comes a year after Tajir raised $1.8 million. Tajir had graudated from Y Combinator in March 2020. It was the first startup focused on Pakistani market to have gone through the American accelerator.
Founded in 2018 by brother Babar and Ismail Khan, Tajir sells inventory to mom and pop stores (aka kiryana stores locally) in Pakistan through its mobile app. The startup that serves retailers in Lahore (and some other areas of Central Punjab) has over 1,000 SKUs including soft drinks, biscuits, shampoo, and food staples like rice and wheat, on its app. With the latest funds, it plans to expand to Pakistan’s largest city Karachi as well.
Babar Khan, the co-founder of Tajir in a previous interview had told MENAbytes that they’re building the infrastructure for commerce in Pakistan, “That means Tajir should facilitate any store to increase their income. Right now, that means providing the largest selection, transparent prices, and next-day delivery. We are expanding our catalog continually with more brands and product categories.”
There are at least four other VC-backed startups in Pakistan working to solve the same problem, including Bazaar, Retailo, Dastgyr, and Jugnu. They’ve collectively raised over $20 million to date from international and local investors. With today’s raise, Tajir has become the best-funded player in the space in Pakistan, and one of the best-funded startups of the country overall.
Mamoon Hamid, Partner at Kleiner Perkins, said, “Their software and mission to improve that supply chain and availability of products and pricing and digitizing that process made a ton of sense. I thought that would be the first foray for a company to make an attempt at doing a lot more to be a consumer company, not just a wholesale company.”
“We’re proud to make Kleiner Perkins’ first investment in Pakistan, and partner with Babar, Ismail, and the entire Tajir team as they transform how stores in Pakistan source inventory and grow,” he added in a blogpost announcing the investment.