We Got Funded: MENA E-Commerce Platform Mumzworld.com Closes Fifth Funding Round
E-commerce platform Mumzworld.com continues to go from strength to strength as it announces the closure of its fifth round of funding to date. In its latest Series B round, Mumzworld has raised an undisclosed amount led by investors Wamda Capital and Swicorp, which brought a group of new investors including KSA-based healthcare firm Tamer Group. Moreover, seven of Mumzworld’s existing investors have joined the round including Precinct Partners, WSB Holding, and Saned, as well as new investors consisting of a KSA-based conglomerate, and other companies in similar segments with manufacturing and distribution capacities in the mother and child categories. In addition to all this, the enterprise claims to be also in advanced talks with two other investors that are interested in joining the round.
Mumzworld is a MENA enterprise that has certainly shown significant growth- launched in 2011 by founders Mona Ataya and Leena Khalil, Mumzworld.com is an e-commerce platform dedicated to everything in the mother, baby and child segment, enabling shoppers to source and buy products using an interactive online marketplace from the convenience of their own homes. As of date, according to Ataya, the site boasts a catalogue of 200,000 products, of which 20,000 are exclusive to Mumzworld.com. On its traction, Ataya says that, as of writing, 68% of their customers come back again, indicating their users’ loyalty. “Our gross merchandise volume (GMV) last year doubled again, and we are set to double [it] yet again this year.”
With GCC as its home base, the e-commerce enterprise ships to 20 countries and is seeking to expand further across MENA, and head to the Levant and North Africa region at the appropriate time- and the fundraising round is a step towards scaling their operations. When asked on how they’re preparing to enter and scale operations in new markets, Ataya asserts their readiness: “We have built a plug and play model, based on seven years of experience in what works in building vertical e-commerce leadership. While every market has nuances in its ecosystem, our marketplace model and technology platform and operations infrastructure can be used to scale into any market.”
As new and old players join the e-commerce market, in reference to Mumzworld’s strategy for continued growth, Ataya credits it to its first mover advantage and loyal cohorts, having one of the largest regional catalogue of baby and child and exclusive brands, distinct tech catering specifically for the mother consumer, plus a “marketplace hybrid model” (which Ataya says allows them to scale quickly and efficiently with smaller levels of inventory), and an extensive community of mothers under one umbrella. Moreover, Ataya states that the company’s marketplace model is very targeted to the mother, baby, and child needs, making it an obvious choice for brands to bring their products online to leverage the company’s logistics infrastructure and handling of their ecommerce needs. “We are laser focused on our vertical, and have built expertise and capabilities for our parent consumer, offering unique deliverables for all consumers,” says Ataya.
She adds that the investors they got on board were also a huge advantage for the enterprise, with its female investors representing consumer trends, institutional investors being “deep pocketed and strategic,” and brick and mortar investors enabling them to have access to retail infrastructure and know-how. As for the new investors, Ataya sees many benefits from partnering up with them too. According to the founder and CEO, the new investors are distributers of their top-selling stock keeping units (SKUs), giving them the advantage to deliver products faster than before, and with the best prices. Ataya also notes that the new investors have supply chains and last-mile capabilities in KSA, giving them quite the advantage, as logistics and last-mile is a key barrier to entry for many e-commerce players in the Kingdom.
As for the new investors, Amjad Ahmad, founder and Managing Partner of Precinct Capital, asserts that his enterprise’s support is due to Mumzworld’s “leading position in an attractive e-commerce vertical, its high growth rates, and the superior execution of its management team.” Karim Souid, Executive Director of Swicorp, commends that it was the founding team, which attracted Swicorp to invest in the company. “They are building a company where mothers are truly the main focus of every single process, from the sourcing of a product to the last mile delivery experience,” says Souid. “I think this is behind the impressive growth and unit economics.” The Mumzworld team already has its plans set for the newly acquired funds. Ataya emphasizes on their plan to continue the company’s “aggressive growth” across MENA, aiming to double their annual GMV and expanding their reach. According to Ataya, as of today, they’ve reached over 2 million mothers in the region.
Last year, the company shipped to 20 countries across the region, and they plan to strengthen their lead markets -UAE and KSA- and grow their footprints across the GCC where they already have presence (Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain). They plan to leverage the expertise of their new investors to continue streamlining operations, making operations smarter, and more efficient to offer better prices and deliver faster. Investing on their mobile and app tech is also a priority in their aim to provide a sublime online experience. “At the end of the day, we are a technology company that is driven by unique and superior value to our customer,” says Ataya. “We will continue to deliver this value through technology in 2018.”
Mona Ataya, founder and CEO, Mumzworld.com
What factors do you keep in mind as you enter new markets?
“We are driven, first and foremost, by what the customer wants. There are nuances in every market with customer habits and preferences that we need to take into account. Given that we are from the region, we are confident that we have our finger firmly on the pulse of what our consumers, across the entire MENA region, need. Secondly, infrastructure and political variances impact how we enter and how we operate. Again here, we have been in the region for over four decades, so we are all well-versed on the requirements.”
As an enterprise, which has raised its fifth round, what’s your advice to startups pitching to investors?
“Good unit economics drive smart investments. Build a business that is customer centric, that creates true consumer value with solid unit economics, and the money will come.” “our marketplace model,
THE INVESTOR VIEWPOINT
Karim Souid, Executive Director, Swicorp
Why did Swicorp decide to get on board Mumzworld as investors?
“The three pillars of our investment thesis are, first, an attractive market opportunity: Mumzworld is at the intersection of, one, a high-growth and still underpenetrated MENA e-commerce market, and, two, an attractive mother, baby, and child vertical, which is substantial in value and with strong fundamentals driving growth. Secondly, [Mumzworld has] a proven, scalable, and economically viable business model. The unique value proposition for both consumers and the brands represent a strong competitive advantage. Third, an attractive and still largely untapped Saudi market: KSA is a blue ocean opportunity for Mumzworld. With the support of Saudi strategic partners such as Tamer Group, Mumzworld is in a unique position to realize this opportunity faster and deeper. Based on [all mentioned factors], we invested with a clear purpose: support the founders in building the largest mother, baby, and child e-commerce company in the MENA region and beyond.”
Financially, what excites your firm in the deal?
“The alignment of interest between the founders and investors (who are also strategic partners), will help realizing the growth opportunity, and thus significantly increase the value of the company for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Pamella de Leon is the Startup Section Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is keen on the MENA region’s entrepreneurship potential, with a specific interest to support enterprises and individuals creating an impact.