ShopUp, the Dhaka-based startup that helps micro, small and medium businesses, and home-based entrepreneurs run their businesses using Facebook and automate their online sales and get access to microloans, has been selected for the first cohort of accelerator program Surge, an initiative of famed venture capital firm Sequoia India. As part of the program, ShopUp gets an investment of US$1.5 million among other venture building facilities.
Surge is a four-month-long accelerator program during which each startup will "get access to the kind of capital, community, company building support and cross-border experience they need to launch or accelerate their company."
Sequoia India launched Surge in January 2019 with an ambition to find and support early-stage startups in India and Southeast Asia. 17 startups from five different countries have been selected for the program, which is the first cohort of the program. ShopUp is the only Bangladeshi company in the program.
The selected companies will receive first-hand exposure to startups and trends in the global technology markets, mentorship support from successful founders, business leaders, and technologists and an investment of US$1.5 million from Surge along with opportunities to raise more from a dozen of seed funds and institutional co-investors.
Surge takes place twice a year and is open to companies who are based in or building for, the India and Southeast Asian markets. Each cohort includes 10 to 20 companies and runs for 16 weeks.
ShopUp was founded in 2016 by Afeef Zubaer Zaman, Siffat Sarwar, and Ataur Rahim Chowdhury. ShopUp started as a social commerce and marketing company enabling small f-commerce companies to streamline their promotion, order management, and delivery. The first problem ShopUp solved for its customers was allowing small f-commerce entrepreneurs to manage their orders, promote their products regardless of whether they have a credit card or not and then eventually helping them to better manage their logistics, for which ShopUp partnered with logistics companies like DHL. For small facebook shop owners who could not afford independent agency to promote their product and often struggle to put together every tiny bit of their operation in an efficient manner, it was a godsend. ShopUp grew quickly, thanks to the rapid growth of Facebook-based f-commerce companies in Dhaka between 2015 and 2018. The company says, it currently has over 95,000 micro-entrepreneurs on its platform and evolved into much more than a social-commerce support platform.
In 2018, ShopUp raised USD $1.62 million in seed funding led by Omidyar Network, the impact investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, The new funding from Surge takes ShopUp's total funding to US$3.2M.
Go Deeper: Read our in-depth coverage of ShopUp here.
Cover photo courtesy: Sequoia India