Zid: A One-Stop-Shop for Setting Up Businesses Online
While plenty has changed since the early days of Global Ventures, as is expected operating in a dynamic and ever-shifting geography like MEA, our quest remains the same: finding brilliant entrepreneurs who do not see challenges as impassable forces of opposition, but as opportunities to transform and innovate, to touch and improve the lives of the many for whom these challenges are a daily reality.
From our very first conversations with Mazen AlDarrab and Sultan AlAsmi, we saw just that: two exceptional entrepreneurs with an idea that has the potential to disrupt Saudi eCommerce as we know it. Zid was born out of a need to facilitate a digital shift in Saudi’s predominantly offline retail sector, by offering merchants a fully-integrated, one-stop-shop, solution to set their businesses up online.
Mazen, Zid’s founder, is a serial entrepreneur and specialist in all things online retail and digital communication. Sultan, the company’s co-founder and CEO, is an ex-retailer and business owner, with almost six years living and breathing retail.
When you combine practical experience, digital prowess and a shared vision, you get the dynamic dream team that has become the backbone of Zid’s success over the last three years.
But it was not just their ingenuity that caught our attention – it was their perseverance in the face of adversity. Zid is operating in a COVID-accelerated sector, characterized by a long-term shift (1) from brick-and-mortar to online; (2) exponential growth as consumers turn to online spending; (3) a preference for digital payments, (4) and an ever-growing need for effective logistics and supply chain management. In Saudi Arabia specifically, this acceleration is quantified by a ten-fold growth in order volume since the onset of the pandemic. The Zid team took a proactive approach in handling this demand surge, all while maintaining a 99% uptime rate.
COVID19 has merely added fuel to the growth of an already booming e-commerce sector in Saudi Arabia. In a country with a record 73% Internet penetration rate and where 60% of shoppers have completed an online transaction at least once, the adoption of e-commerce is only set to endure. In fact, forecasts show that the Saudi ecommerce market will grow by 27% annually to reach $10b by 2022 – ultimately comprising of 8% of total retail sales.
For retailers, capturing this opportunity is a matter of going digital. As of 2018, however, only 15% of businesses in the Middle East had an online presence, while 90% of online purchases were ordered and shipped from abroad. As a localized eCommerce enablement company, Zid is bridging a significant gap in the market by setting up merchants holistically for success so they can best serve an increasingly online audience.
What is perhaps most remarkable about Zid is the way its solution cuts across three booming sectors at once: eCommerce, FinTech and the Future of Work. The SME sector is, and will continue to be a significant contributor to Saudi’s economy. By enabling retailers to seamlessly bypass the physical store, Zid is playing an active role in (re)defining the Future of Work, enabling the rise and growth of the Kingdom’s gig economy. At the same time, the company has embraced FinTech and Mobility solutions as part of the VP. These are foundational to achieving Zid’s mission of offering an end-to-end solution that gives merchants all the necessary support to get an online store up and running. Access to payment and logistic providers is a part of that package. Launched in 2020, ZidShip matches retailers to shipping companies based on the required service levels. Making its debut in 2021, ZidPay is a payment provider aggregator that will allow merchants to sign agreements according to retail needs.
For Zid, we believe the sky is the limit. We can’t think of a more capable group of entrepreneurs to capture the immense regional opportunity in eCommerce. Global Ventures is excited to welcome Zid to our portfolio, and thrilled to be part of their journey toward disrupting retail-as-usual in Saudi and beyond.