Karachi-based B2B warehousing and distribution start-up Oware Technologies has raised US $3.3 million in pre-seed funding in a round backed by Silicon Valley investors.
Co-founded in June 2021 by Maersk and Careem alumni Raza Kazmi and Adil Nisar, the company offers clients a flexible warehousing and intelligent distribution solution in response to fluctuations in demand – and to support faster and more affordable delivery of goods.
Its initial financial backers include the Flexport Fund and Ratio Ventures, alongside global investors Seedstars International Ventures, The Osiris Group, Swiss Founders Fund, Reflect Ventures, +92 Ventures and Walled City Co.
Oware offers businesses scalable and tech-driven warehousing and distribution for B2B and retail through its connected fulfillment centers and third-party logistics providers. Companies can quickly start operations from more locations to reach more customers, unhindered by operationally intense and complex logistics planning and capital investment restricting business growth.
Raza Kazmi, co-founder at Oware, explains: “There is a huge opportunity in the B2B movement of goods across the region, but it remains immensely underserved. Local businesses remain trapped in an archaic and opaque environment dealing with antiquated supply chain systems that are no longer fit for purpose and remain slow, limited, and capital intensive. 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”.
Pakistan’s logistics industry represents a US $35 billion+ market opportunity and provides approximately 6 per cent of total employment. According to Oware’s founders, a lack of warehouse flexibility and insights has led to overspending on warehousing and inventory, which results in expensive and late deliveries with poor visibility into operations in a market that is fragmented and ridden with outdated process. They also cite the impact of changing customer expectations and service requirements on Pakistan’s fulfillment and distribution industry.
Oware continues to build momentum and is growing its customer base working with a healthy mix of start-ups, manufacturers, traders, and retailers who are using the platform to store inventory close to their customers, along with picking, packing, and shipping to give them a one platform solution.
Over time, the technology transformation has revolutionized the last mile delivery space to consumers. However, B2B movement of goods is still done through manual, unintelligent, and antiquated processes. Oware has built a FedEx equivalent for B2B. This is a game changer for B2B warehousing and distribution.
Co-founder Adil Nisar says. “To get to its end destination, a product has to move between several warehouses, fulfillment centers, and trucks. 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.”
Oware has grown its network to 5 cities that provide distribution to 75 per cent of Pakistan’s population with same-day delivery and 85% of the population with next day delivery. Oware is opening additional fulfilment centers to meet demand and increase coverage.
“Most warehouses in Pakistan today are run on paper or Excel. Companies must lease or buy a property, hire staff, and manage them. Expansion into new territories or capacity increases to support inventory fluctuations are slow and costly. This increases businesses’ cost of entry and cost of expansion.
The company offers Pakistani businesses a solution by offering an otherwise archaic local marketplace on-demand flexibility and management insight.
“We are excited to be among Oware’s investors and expect great success,” comments Michel Friedman, a partner at Reflect Ventures.
As the company scalesits operations to more geographies, the recent funding will further fuel product development and talent acquisition to innovate and simplify supply chains across Pakistan and beyond.
“Pakistan has a massive opportunity in logistics presented by the 2 million SMEs and the rise of e-commerce in the region. We believe that Oware has a solid position to be an integral layer to an ecosystem that’s becoming digitally enabled. We are proud to have been Adil’s and Raza’s early backers and thrilled for the journey ahead,” says Charlie Graham-Brown, CIO & Partner at Seedstars.
Founders Adil Nisar, 28, and Raza Kazmi, 39, met after Nisar had left Careem to start his own company, sourcing, manufacturing, and distributing lights in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Raza was Group CFO at a large multinational distribution house and an advisor to another regional tech start-up.