"We Got Funded!" UAE-Based Cartlow Raises US$18 Million Series A Round With The Aim To Dominate The MENA Region's Recommerce Ecosystem
With this latest round of funding, Cartlow aims to expand further into Saudi Arabia and other emerging markets while keeping a keen focus on ensuring greater sustainability.
Cartlow, a reverse logistics platform with offices in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has raised US$18 million in a Series A funding round that was led by its own strategic partner, AlSulaiman Group (ASG). Also based in Saudi Arabia, ASG has been known to have made investments in a plethora of sectors including omni-channel retail, logistics, and e-commerce.
Launched in the UAE in 2019 as a mobile application that enables users to browse and purchase pre-owned and refurbished products, Cartlow was built with a vision to "dominate the untapped multi-billion-dollar market of reverse logistics in the region." Today, it operates as a cloud-based technology platform that offers software-as-a-service (SaaS) to firms that are active within the reverse logistics ecosystem in the UAE and KSA.
With an impressive additional amount of capital now at its disposal, the company's future trajectory aims to build on that initial vision. "I believe that we are still at the start of our journey, and we are set to focus more on enhancing our operations and software solutions through this funding," Mohammad Sleiman, founder and CEO of Cartlow, said in an exclusive interview with Entrepreneur Middle East. "Our strategic partnership with ASG will highly support Cartlow's vision for the future. We will invest aggressively in technology and focus on expanding to KSA, capturing more market share in the region."
But Sleiman quickly points out that his future goals are not tethered to geographical boundaries or sectors it currently caters to. "We have not yet seen a mature recommerce platform in emerging markets, and hence part of Cartlow's vision now is also to dominate the recommerce ecosystem in the MENA region, and eventually expand globally," he said. "Cartlow's recommerce platform is focused on various categories ranging from electronics to toys and others. We have witnessed a steady growth in sales and believe this is due to the extra value propositions that we provide to customers, for example; warranty, delivery, and quality. So, buying and selling pre-loved through Cartlow comes with ease of mind to customers."
However, scaling and growth aside, another facet to what Sleiman hopes to achieve through Cartlow is one that is deeply tied to the essence of reverse logistics itself: sustainability. "While optimizing the recommerce model of buying and selling pre-loved products, Cartlow is also aiming to save the environment by reducing its carbon footprint," he added. "The reverse logistics sector empowers sustainable practices, and we have now started to see more companies push into sustainability in the region. This is where Cartlow has the opportunity to empower various partners and collaborate with them as the industry grows." It is worth mentioning here that, since its inception, Cartlow has saved over 10 million tons of e-waste.
And, according to Sleiman, this attention towards sustainability is something that Cartlow's users themselves reflect. "Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus has shifted greatly to e-commerce due to the increased demand for convenience, which Cartlow has been able to provide," he said. "People are becoming increasingly knowledgeable of the benefits that used products provide– both from a sustainability and savings point of view. We believe that people's trust in used products will keep rising to go into the future with the help of the value propositions provided by Cartlow– which takes used products to higher standards."
As Sleiman looks to bring these goals to fruition, he admits that he has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. "Everything is on the table for Cartlow in 2022," he said. "We will be empowering more brands and vendors with the help of our return management, buy-back, trade-in, and recycling solutions, to help ensure a steady positive future towards saving the environment. Cartlow also prides itself on its sustainability practices, and will continue to ensure that the platform's practices are aligned with the sustainability visions of the UAE and KSA."Related: Four Tips For Marketing Your Tech Brand To Content Creators