Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Based Shorages Is Enabling Easy Inventory Storage For E-Commerce Businesses Across The GCC Defined as an "e-commerce fulfillment center," Shorages offers on-demand warehousing and storage services that enable e-commerce platforms to quickly grow and scale their businesses in the Middle East.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Rayan Osseiran

Developing an e-commerce platform comes with a number of obstacles, including how to store products in a way that ensures that they can be dispatched in a timely manner, as and when customer orders come in. To cater to this issue, Dubai-based startup Shorages was created by Rayan Osseiran in 2019. Defined as an "e-commerce fulfillment center," Shorages offers on-demand warehousing and storage services that enable e-commerce platforms to quickly grow and scale their businesses in the Middle East. Notably, the idea behind this startup was sparked due to the struggles Osseiran himself faced while running an e-commerce store. "Shorages is actually my second startup," Osseiran reveals. "My first startup was Limink, which revealed to me the problem of storage and fulfillment services for e-commerce companies in the UAE."

Shorages' business model is quite straightforward and simple to understand. In essence, it negates the need for any e-commerce business, regardless of its size, to rent out a warehouse specifically for storing its inventory. Osseiran further adds that his startup provides an efficient alternative to traditional storage options. "Traditional distributors and logistics warehouses are not designed for modern day e-commerce operations," he says. "Brands that want to sell online across the GCC face the problem of setting up a local presence for their online operations. Not only is this expensive, but also time-consuming. This is where Shorages comes into play! We help brands and online sellers spend less time and money in launching, by handling the storage and fulfillment requirements for them."

The products, which are sent over by the e-commerce companies Shorages works with, can be stored at any of its facilities across the GCC on a monthly payment basis. The startup also offers services like branded packaging, delivery to any location worldwide, as well as inventory count. "This enables global and local brands to instantly start selling online in the region through a direct-to-consumer approach," adds Osseiran. "It also offers customers a better journey by enabling next-day delivery, cash on delivery, returns, and lower shipping costs compared to orders being shipped from abroad." The direct-to-consumer approach that Osseiran alludes to is particularly interesting, because it enables individuals who sell through non-traditional channels, such as Shopify or Instagram, to also avail of these services and scale their businesses.

Related: Ready For 2022: Reimagining Business After The Repercussions Of The COVID-19 Crisis

Another point to be noted is that the startup's technology can easily integrate with diverse storefronts and websites, which entails that customer orders that come in on a particular e-commerce platform or website are immediately linked and updated on the Shorages platform as well. This ensures that there is no unnecessary time lag between the order placement and the delivery dispatch, and in turn enables seamless inventory management. "This is all made possible through Shorages' proprietary order fulfillment technology which aims at centralizing orders coming through different online channels, such as a website or marketplaces like Amazon and Noon," Osseiran explains. The startup is currently a team of 10, and has already serviced over 70 clients selling items ranging from cosmetics and fashion to electronics and home equipment. "To date, we have been financed by an angel investor, and we expect 2021 to be the year where we become profitable," concludes Osseiran.

'TREP TALK: Rayan Osseiran, founder of Shorages
What have been the biggest challenges and benefits you've seen in doing business in Dubai?

"The two largest hurdles we faced while growing the company were regulations and access to finance. When it came to regulations, it was very expensive for us to set up the company and obtain the necessary licenses, visa allocations, leases, and other pre-approvals required to do business in the UAE. On top of that, lack of access to financing made it more difficult to get these approvals and to afford the capex that comes with starting a business. Unfortunately, this region lags behind when it comes to the availability of angel and seed funds. This is the case particularly to individuals, such as myself, who are new to the UAE scene and don't have a track record or reputed backer within the ecosystem. This meant that we had to work twice as hard on a fraction of the budget to grow a sustainable business. That said, the key benefit of working within the UAE is the fact that it has become the go-to hub for a lot of brands and businesses that want to enter the GCC/Middle East market. Security, purchasing power, and seamless trade have made the UAE a primary choice for international companies. This is great for us because it means that there are more opportunities. Additionally, the UAE recognizes its position as a potential e-commerce trade hub that services the region, and is building products to accommodate for that demand."

You and your startup are a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program- how would you describe your experience through it?
"The MBRIF accelerator program was an eye-opening experience for us, as it exposed us to a lot of knowledge across several functions within the business. We got to hear and learn from industry experts within those functions and frame our business strategy accordingly. Attending these sessions was very refreshing and certainly gave us the helicopter view we needed to strategize our way forward."

Related: Five Reasons Why Dubai Is A Hub For Entrepreneurs Looking For Business Growth Post The COVID-19 Crisis

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.


Five Coaching Techniques to Level Up Your Leadership Style

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to leading your company and developing your employees into effective leaders. However, if you're looking for a place to start, harnessing these coaching principles and techniques in your communication and mentorship can help you achieve those goals.

Money & Finance

How to Make Money Online: 10 Proven Ways to Make Money Online

Need to know how to make money online as a side gig or new career? Check out this breakdown of the 10 top online money-making methods.

Growing a Business

How to Properly Manage the Cash Flow of Your Startup

Ever think financial planning and analysis is just for big businesses? Think again! Startups thrive on solid financial planning, which is key to staying ahead of your competitors.

Side Hustle

The Side Hustle He Started at Age 15 Led to a $4 Billion Boon for Small Businesses: 'They Would Take a Chance on Me With Their Hard-Earned Money'

Nic Beique asked his local barber, gym and more if they'd like him to build a website for their businesses.


Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.


Saudi Arabia-Based Beta Lab Launches The 2024 DeepTech Startups Program

Through strategic partnerships and a keen focus on the future of technology, the 2024 DeepTech Startups Program is expected to nurture talent and foster innovation within the Kingdom.