EGYPT – Kenzz, an e-commerce platform bringing shopping to the masses in Egypt and the Middle East, has announced a US$3.5 million seed round to expand its product categories, broaden the product categories on its platform, acquire people, and invest in technology when it releases its app.

Outliers Venture Capital, a MENA-focused venture capital firm located in the United States, led the investment. Among the participants are HOF Capital, Foundation Ventures, and Samurai Incubate.

Since its inception, the firm has gained significant traction. According to founder Ahmed Atef, thousands of clients utilised the site during its two-month soft launch, with 50% ordering from outside Egypt’s major cities.

“Those numbers help prove this vast potential outside the big cities where people were not comfortable buying online. But when you’re so relevant to them, in terms of brand products, prices and experiences, you unlock this huge potential,” Atef said.

Sarah AlSaleh, a partner at Outliers Venture Capital, said in a statement that the asset-light Kenzz is tackling two major concerns that existing e-commerce incumbents are not: inexpensive and dependable last-mile logistics and an unwavering consumer trust philosophy.

Outliers invested in Kenzz because of its founding team, which includes veterans from Vodafone, Google, Amazon, and Jumia.

“The diversity and depth of Kenzz’s founding team strongly positions them to combine a multitude of experiences and expertise into creating a category-defining company and e-commerce champion for Egypt,” said the partner.

Ahmed Atef, Mahmoud Al Silk, and Moataz Sami formed the firm in February 2022 with the goal of expanding e-commerce usage in Egypt.

Kenzz’s model is similar to that of players such as Taager since it is social. The mass e-commerce solution, on the other hand, takes a B2C strategy by eliminating the middleman/resellers, sourcing items directly from local producers, and offering them to customers. As a result, customers know which brand is marketing to them, according to Atef.

According to Atef, Kenzz’s methodology benefits stakeholders on the other end, such as local manufacturers and SMEs, by giving data on what customers want and access to such consumers, among other things.

Kenzz has yet to completely enter the market since it is fine-tuning services to satisfy consumer demand, according to Atef.

“We’re going after a completely different segment that Amazon and the big platforms are not looking at as they are centralized in big cities and towards the people who are comfortable buying online,” said Atef.

“What we’re doing is bringing that experience much closer to the masses and building a reliable, trustworthy e-commerce platform that caters specifically for the mass market, solving for the barriers to buying, whether it’s trust, affordability and relevance, while capitalizing on social engagement and social interaction aspects of e-commerce.”

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