The Karachi-based startup looks to simplify the supply chain and empower businesses through flexible warehousing and intelligent distribution.
Pakistan’s logistics sector holds a market opportunity worth approximately $3.5 billion. Yet that sector is outdated, fragmented and riddled with inefficiencies. Offering tech-enabled B2B and retail warehousing and distribution, Karachi-based startup, Oware, has taken a step closer to solving some of these inefficiencies following the raise of a $3.3 million pre-seed round that will be channelled into expanding operations into new territories and accelerate product development. The investment was led by Flexport Fund and Ratio Ventures, with participation from Seedstars International Ventures, The Osiris Group, Swiss Founders Fund, Reflect Ventures, +92 Ventures, Walled City Co. and several angel investors.
Founded in 2021 by Raza Kazmi and Adil Nisar, Oware looks to simplify the supply chain and empower businesses through flexible warehousing and intelligent distribution, lowering delivery costs and allowing for effective response to fluctuations in demand. Using fulfilment centres, the startup offers a one-stop solution with picking, packing and shipping, alongside store inventory.
"There is a huge opportunity in the B2B movement of goods across the region, but it remains immensely underserved,” Kazmi said. “The time to set up operations is too long, there is limited visibility or tracking of orders and the execution of processes is inefficient in terms of speed and cost, which we are on a mission to solve.”
Very much believing in that mission, Michel Friedman, Partner at Reflect Ventures, described Oware’s operations as taking “a huge archaic industry straight into the 21st century world,” while Charlie Graham-Brown, CIO & Partner at Seedstars, added that “Oware has a solid position to be an integral layer to an ecosystem that's becoming digitally enabled.”
That ecosystem has largely found most success in cosumer-serving last mile delivery, while B2B movement of goods has yet to be truly cracked. “To get to its end destination, a product has to move between several warehouses, fulfilment centres and trucks,” Nisar bemoans.
“This complex ballet is managed by multiple businesses without interconnected systems. Our vision is to build a large-scale connected world of distribution that enables a faster route to market for our customers.”
The investment comes off the back of a fruitful Q1’22 for Pakistan, with a total of $143 million in venture funding representing 408% QoQ growth when compared to Q1’21 and 81% QoQ growth since Q4’21. It’s numbers like these that have seen many predict that Pakistani startups could well hit the $500 million mark by the end of the year, which would be a record for an ecosystem that is drawing in more and more interest from international VCs
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