According to recent stats, there are over one million Kiryana stores without access to convenient inventory procurement in Pakistan. This number further attenuated after the advent of the pandemic. Additionally, over two-thirds of the retail stores are never serviced directly by any organized distribution channel, which ultimately makes business difficult for the retailers.
Such difficulties and many other problems are what gave rise to many B2B startups during the pandemic. One such startup, we’ll be covering today is Jugnu. The Karachi-based startup aims to equip small businesses with social and economic empowerment.
Presently, the startup only supports small businesses because small and medium businesses are responsible for approximately 60% of employment opportunities, in the country. With more than 2 million small-scale retailers lacking ease of inventory procurement, their earning potential is further restrained. This impacts the livelihoods of not only the small business owners, but also their employees, and families.
What is Jugnu?
Founded back in 2019 by co-founders Sharoon Saleem, Yasir Memon, Syed Khurram Haider, and Ahsan Muhammad Khan, Jugnu drives small businesses across the country toward social and economic growth. The startup does so via a B2B platform to channel supplies from large suppliers/manufacturers to small and medium enterprises.
The startup’s objective is to uplift the local economy by lighting up the livelihoods of Kiryanas through innovation and technological disruption in the retail ecosystem.
After gathering waste experience working with both FMCGs and retailers, Salesflo launched Jugnu in 2020. It serves thousands of grocery store owners through its mobile app and fulfillment centers as well as offers next-day delivery for all their purchases.
Background of Founders
Sharoon is an alumnus of Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology. He graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in 2009, after which he joined Unilever as a Management Trainee.
In the same year, he landed a full-time job as an Assistant Brand Manager at Unilever and served the company, in different capacities up until 2015. In 2015, he co-founded Salesflo and in 2021, he became a part of the team that co-founded Jugnu.
Yasir graduated from the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in 2004 as a Software Engineer. After which he completed his Master’s in Software Engineering at the same institute. In 2007, he completed his second Master’s in Business Administration from LUMS.
He started his professional career as a Management Trainee at Unilever, after which he got a full-time position as a Category Manager. Over the course of the next few years, he served Unilever in different capacities until 2015, when he co-founded Salesflo alongside his other colleagues.
Then finally, in 2019 he joined the team that co-founded Jugnu.
Syed Khurram Haider
Khurram is an IBA alumnus, with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. After completing his undergrad, he pursued a Master’s in Business Administration.
He started his career as an intern at PepsiCo. In 2009, he joined Nestle in a leading sales position and served there for the next six years. Then in 2018, he joined Salesflo as a co-founder and founded Jugnu in 2019.
Ahsan Muhammad Khan
Ahsan completed his MBA in Marketing from the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in 2003.
After completing his postgrad he joined Unilever as a Territory Manager. Over the next five years, he served both Unilever Pakistan and Unilever international in different leading capacities. Then in 2018 he co-founded Salesflo alongside his other colleagues and finally in 2021, he co-founded Jugnu.
According to a report, the Pakistani B2B eCommerce market represents a significant commercial opportunity with a current value of $100 billion and 8% YoY growth. Jugnu further claims to have established a rapidly-growing customer base of over 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in key cities such as Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad, with a team of over one hundred industry veterans and young innovators.
It is one of the leading technology players in the country with a market cap of over $430 million.
Alliance with Sary
Furthermore, the B2B e-commerce startup Jugnu and MENA-based Sary have recently formed an alliance to transform the future of B2B e-commerce through an initial strategic investment of $22.5 million investment, aimed at accelerating Jugnu’s growth and expansion.
This strategic investment in Jugnu’s Series A round was led by Sary with participation from Sarmayacar and Systems Limited. This will enable Jugnu to accelerate the development of its B2B eCommerce ecosystem in Pakistan and strengthen the retail supply chain, lighting up the livelihoods of small and medium-sized enterprise owners and workers that constitute a sizable chunk of Pakistan’s economy.
Founded in 2018, Sary has successfully consolidated its market-leading position, proliferating in Saudi Arabia in 2021. Following its acquisition of the Egyptian B2B food and grocery marketplace, Morrawid in March, the startup is poised to become the gateway to enable frictionless commerce between producers and businesses in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP).
Both Sary and Jugnu stand to gain from a MENAP-wide knowledge and talent network, by which employee exchanges will bring teams from both companies closer together. This will enable them to leverage complementary expertise, and build an interdisciplinary skill set needed to create a frictionless B2B eCommerce gateway across the region.
Seed Round: Raised $3.2 million
In July 2022, the startup of its parent company Saleflo raised ~$3.2 million from Systems Limited, a Lahore-based leading global technology, and business process outsourcing services provider.
Some angel investors also participated in the round. Systems made an investment of $3 million in exchange for a 20 percent stake in the company.
Series A Round: Raised $22.5 million
In March 2022, Jugnu raised $22.5 million in Series-A round funding to digitize the country’s retail sector. The Series A round was led by Saudi-Headquartered and MENAP servicing B2B marketplace and digital wholesaler Sary in a continued effort to expand its market reach. The round also recorded participation from key strategic investors including Sarmayacar and Systems Limited.
The startup plans to use the latest funds to further expand Jugnu. It is in a highly competitive space with startups like Bazaar, Dastgyr, Retailo, and Tajir, who’ve raised tens of millions of dollars.
Jugnu is accelerating its growth, and currently has operations across Lahore, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi with plans to expand into all major cities across Pakistan.