The startup has been touted as the next big disruptor in a business procurement culture that is still largely manual.
While we’ve often celebrated global investors’ increasing interest in the MENAP region, there’s something to be said for GCC investors that are investing internally more and more. In fact, xx percent of VC investments in Saudi startups in 2021 were from Saudi investors, a record high. It can only speak well of increasing trust in local innovation for a country whose investors have often looked outside of the region.
The latest example of ‘local backing local’ in the Kingdom comes in the form of Lawazem's newly announced $1.3 million seed round led by Merak Capital, a tech investment firm licensed by the Capital Market Authority of Saudi Arabia, with participation from Saudi VC, Merced.
Founded by Abdulhakim Albisher and Nasser Alshaya, Lawazem emerged in 2020 as a one-stop-shop digital B2B mall covering a range of business procurement needs, including ranging from VIP guests services, all the way to office stationery. The startup’s ultimate goal is to fulfil procurement needs in as efficient a way as possible, with the aim of decreasing the time, effort and costs of reactive operational procurement.
In targeting a wide variety of clients including corporations, government businesses and non-profit organisations, the startup recorded an average quarterly growth of 150% during 2021.
“We are proud to have been able in our short time of operation to be a reliable partner to our many business clients supporting their organisations’ operational needs, while focusing on increasing the efficiency of their operational procurement as the process is typically expensive and time consuming,” said co-founder Abdulhakim Albeshir, who also serves as Lawazem’s CEO. “This investment round comes at an early stage of Lawazem’s journey, and it will be pivotal for us as we move to further develop and enhance our technology as well as help in establishing the needed infrastructure to address the ever-growing demand for our products and services.”
That demand is arguably best served right now in the context of one of the region’s most rapidly growing sectors, e-commerce. After experiencing dips in volume of investments and number of transactions pre-2021, only to observe a Abdulhakim Albeshirz.
For its investors, Lawazem offers a long-needed solution, with Ahmed AlJabreen, Partner at Merak Capital, commenting that: “The market of operational procurement is largely done manually with little to no technology infrastructure. Lawazem is poised to be the technology-enabled disruptor for this vertical.”
That disruption will now be made all the more achievable, with the startup’s investment set to be channelled into expanding its staff and tech capabilities, as well as its marketing initiatives.