PAKISTAN, November 2022: International early-stage VC fund, Accelerating Asia has announced its latest round of investments today including ten new companies joining Cohort 7 of the flagship program, which includes BizB, its third investment into a Pakistani startup, joining the likes of Godaam Technologies, a venture focused on warehousing tech, and Deaftawk, which provides online sign language services.
Founded by Sehrish Raza, BizB is ecommerce marketplace for buying and selling of preloved apparel and accessories. With over 12,000 transactions in 2021 alone, BizB is well positioned to seize the market for 17 to 32-year-old women looking to revamp their wardrobe as buyers, or looking to declutter seldom used clothing as sellers.
With 12,000 transactions in 2021 alone, BizB is well positioned to seize the one billion dollar untapped market of the 17 to 32 year old social women looking to constantly revamp their wardrobes as buyers or looking to declutter their wardrobes as sellers. This gives BizB the ideal opportunity to become synonymous with second-hand buying in Pakistan.
According to Craig Bristol Dixon, Cofounder and General Partner at Accelerating Asia, BizB is one of the most promising startups in not only Pakistan, but the region.
“The heart of BizB is sustainability. The marketplace makes it easier for sellers to declutter pre-loved items and for buyers to purchase them. This is not only a promising business model, as we’ve seen in BizB’s growth so far, but one that will make an enormous impact in Pakistan and in the other markets the organization will no doubt soon expand into,” said Dixon, adding that he would like to see even more high growth Pakistani startups apply to future cohorts.
Including BizB, the new investments take Accelerating Asia’s portfolio to 60 startups who have raised a total of over US$50 million, with Cohort 7 having raised US$5.2 million prior to joining the accelerator program. The new investments in Cohort 7 also have market traction and growth revenue with an average Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of over US$46,000 per month and an average monthly revenue of over US$13,000.
Cohort 7 startups cover a wide spectrum of verticals, including hospitality, enterprise software, telecommunications, entertainment, logistics, retail technology, healthtech, and ecommerce. The cohort has a market presence in 9 countries across East Asia (Korea), Southeast Asia, (the Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand), and South Asia (Bangladesh and Pakistan).
Like BizB, which targets Sustainable Development Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production), 100% of its fellow companies also address at least one SDG. The ten new startups also include 60% female co-founded startups, Easy Rice, Shoplinks, Kooky, BizB, Healthpro.id, and SafeTruck all have at least one female co-founder. This is significantly higher than the average portfolio given just 17.2% of private capital Southeast Asia was deployed to female founded startups.
According to Amra Naidoo, General Partner at Accelerating Asia, this cohort has some of the most mature startups to date.
“What we’ve seen in Cohort 7 is a kind of success inflation: The ten startups we invested in have even more significant milestones in revenue, user acquisition, and other metrics than you would typically associate with early stage startups. We believe this is a positive sign for not only Accelerating Asia, but the ecosystem in Asia Pacific as a whole: Our startups are finding product-market fit faster than ever before, allowing them to focus on scaling toward market leadership,” said Naidoo.
Naidoo stated that the impressive success of Cohort 7 is attributable in part to the application process for startups. Since the launch of Cohort 1 in 2019, Accelerating Asia has seen startup applications grow rapidly with each cycle, culminating in over 600 for this latest batch, a growth of 232% in applications from the inaugural batch to the current one.
“When we started operations a few years ago, the idea of Accelerating Asia was still very much a forward-looking vision for Asia Pacific. Now I’m happy to see that it’s well on its way: More and more startups are scaling up quicker, thanks largely to the support system they can turn to, which includes everything from events and conferences to angel investors and syndicates,” said Naidoo.
Dixon detailed how Cohort 7 continues the strengths of previous batches.
“Cohort 7 builds on our previous cohorts. We’ve got great founders, innovative products, and impressive financial traction. Teams like these are likely to succeed and deliver good investment returns for us and the other investors who back them. If you want to work with this caliber of founders, do consider partnering with Accelerating Asia - we are excited to work with stakeholders across the ecosystem,” said Dixon.
Since the current investment climate is a hot topic, Dixon also wanted to emphasize that Accelerating Asia always invests in businesses that can make money today and our investment lens is focused on intelligent financial plans and founders who can monetise gaps in the market in the shorter term.
“When it comes to investments, we follow a simple strategy at Accelerating Asia. One, we back organizations that can monetise in any economic climate, and two, founders who can navigate through any market conditions. The most innovative organizations, after all, will succeed in any era,” said Dixon.
Accelerating Asia launched Fund II in 2021, Cohort 7 is the third batch of investments for Fund II which will deploy capital across Southeast and South Asia pre-Series A startups. If you’re an accredited investor who is looking to build the best pre-Series A startups in the region, reach out to the Accelerating Asia team for more information about investing alongside us.
Accelerating Asia invests in startups with scalable technology solutions and revenue generating business models that combine purpose with profit.
In making an investment decision, investors must rely on their own examination of startups and the terms of the investment including the merits and risks involved. Prospective investors should not construe this content as legal, tax, investment, financial or accounting advice.