▸ ASA Ventures and a consortium of private investors have committed US$8 million to ZON, the first fully decentralized mobile e-commerce platform with over 32,000 sellers in its network
▸ Set for launch in the second quarter of 2020, ZON is targeting more than 9.5 million smartphone users in the country
▸ The platform’s technology enables real-time demand-supply matching to offer the lowest price per item, faster order fulfilment, and pre-purchase stock validation
ZON, the region’s first fully decentralized mobile-only e-commerce platform on Thursday, March 26 closed a seed funding round of $8 million, notably the largest ever in the UAE. The round was led by ASA Ventures and a consortium of private investors.
ZON empowers small retailers in UAE by offering digital tools and direct exposure to more customers through its plug-and-play mobile platform which is completely free of charge.
The platform aims to transform the traditional e-commerce landscape by providing consumers access to a larger network of retailers across the UAE and delivering orders through a decentralised fulfilment process with geo-tracking enabled. At the same time, the platform also ensures lower prices, a wider range of products, and shorter delivery time period.
On similar lines, Arif Saiyad, CEO & Co-founder of ZON in a statement said,
“At a time like this – when price consciousness and delivery speed are transforming customer expectations – we must be able to provide a better e-commerce experience to the modern consumer, and more importantly give smaller, offline retailers a chance to keep their businesses going by facilitating their transition to online sales where they have more opportunities to connect with customers,”
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the retailers have witnessed a 40 to 50 percent decrease in sales through physical stores and other offline means. The present scenario clearly states the potential and need of e-commerce marketplaces.
“Because of the global health crisis caused by COVID-19, retailers have observed a 40 to 50% downturn in brick-and-mortar sales for the first quarter versus the previous year. More recently, due to mobility restrictions and fear of going to public places, consumers are turning to e-commerce for their daily needs.” Saiyad added
Marwan Al Dameawi, and investor and digital entrepreneur who co-founded Arab GT also participated in the funding round for ZON. He trusts ZON’s potential not only in the UAE but across the whole MENA region as well as Asia and Africa. He affirmed the same in a statement by adding that,
“UAE is a haven for entrepreneurs, looking to build out tech-based platforms that can then be scaled and exported or aggregated to larger markets. It is one of the best places in the world to incubate a revolutionary idea,”
“I see tremendous potential for the decentralized real-time demand supply matching technology of ZON to scale internationally and change the game in other parts of the globe, where retail business ownership is fragmented and where smartphone penetration is on the increase,”
ZON – in numbers
The company has signed up over 32,000 sellers and over 17 million SKUs (Stock Keeping Units). ZON app is projected for launch in the second quarter of 2020 and aims to make every product available 24/7 virtually across UAE.