VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), through VEON Ventures, has joined Sequoia Capital India and Flourish Ventures as investors in ShopUp, Bangladesh’s leading full-stack B2B commerce platform for small businesses, becoming ShopUp’s first strategic corporate investor.
The investment enables VEON Ventures to support ShopUp’s fast-growing digital ecosystem for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), which form a vital backbone of Bangladesh’s economy, as well as providing significant opportunities for developing mobile financial services for ShopUp’s users.
As Bangladesh’s leading full-stack B2B commerce company, ShopUp provides B2B sourcing, logistics and financial services to MSMEs through its mobile-first digital platform and market-leading last mile logistics service, RedX. ShopUp is already used by a large portion of Bangladeshi local businesses, helping neighbourhood shops and online sellers overcome the supply chain challenges of Bangladesh’s highly fragmented wholesale, retail and distribution channels.
ShopUp’s embedded financial services product provides MSMEs with access to digital credit through partnerships with leading local financial institutions, broadening financial inclusion to communities of small businesses that often lack access to basic banking services.
Sergi Herrero, VEON’s co-CEO, said: “Our investment in ShopUp offers VEON Ventures a fantastic opportunity to back one of the leading digital players in a strategic market for VEON and one of the world’s fastest growing economies. By combining VEON’s expertise in digital financial services with ShopUp’s unique sourcing and logistics capabilities, we look forward to serving the business needs of Bangladesh’s vibrant MSME community while helping to promote financial inclusion throughout the nation’s millions of small business owners.”
Afeef Zaman, co-Founder and CEO of ShopUp, said: “We knew we would witness massive adoption of the internet and technology by Bangladesh’s small businesses and founded ShopUp because we wanted to play our part in redefining the nation’s growth story through this transformation. COVID-19 makes this shift even more critical for Bangladesh’s smaller businesses as supply chain pressures intensify. An investment from a leading international digital player such as VEON is an important step in our ongoing support of the MSME community, allowing us to increase our reach with retailers, suppliers and manufacturers.”
VEON’s investment was led by the VEON Ventures division, which pursues investment opportunities across digital assets and businesses with the ability to scale VEON’s capabilities in mobile financial services, adtech and next-generation media content in order to enrich the experience of VEON’s 205 million customers worldwide.
VEON’s investment in ShopUp was made alongside Flourish Ventures and Sequoia Capital India. Both investment firms co-led the current investment round for ShopUp, with additional participation from Speedinvest and Lonsdale in what is the largest Series A round of its kind for a Bangladeshi start-up.