Zaapi, a mobile app that allows small businesses to establish their digital commerce presence within seconds, has finalised a US$4 million seed round.

Venture capital investors including GFC, Flourish Ventures, and Partech have led Zaapi’s investment round. Other investors in the funding round reportedly include 1982 Ventures, Kaya Founders, Iterative, XA Network, and Sketchnote Partners/Invertidos.

Flash Ventures, an early investor in Zaapi with ties to GFC, had reportedly contributed US$500,000 in pre-seed funding back in March 2021, allowing the firm to establish operations in Thailand in August of last year. This latest round should enable Zaapi to focus on their ongoing efforts to build and effectively scale their product regionally.

Wilfried Buiron, a digital commerce founder who has operated a direct-to-consumer brand, officially launched Zaapi last year with a goal to implement the digital commerce infrastructure for Southeast Asia’s SMEs.

Zaapi offers MSMEs with an intuitive interface that allows company owners to easily launch an online store from their mobile devices.

This digital commerce use-case should remain the firm’s main focus in the near-term as Zaapi sees many unexplored opportunities for further growth like social commerce and marketing tool integrations.

The start-up’s goal is to move towards with digitising core functions of SMEs, ultimately offering them with a comprehensive all-digital solution to manage their business operations.

“Zaapi is being built at an inflection point in the adoption of e-commerce by Southeast Asian MSMEs, which is driven by two macro trends: Southeast Asia’s skyrocketing mobile internet penetration, and the digital disruption to traditional business brought about by the pandemic,” said Buiron.

“We are delighted to welcome GFC, Flourish, and Partech as new investors in the company. The funding will enable us to build the region’s best-in-class product for MSMEs and supercharge our growth. The pandemic has turned digital adoption into a necessity for the region’s 100 million+ MSMEs and we will strive to become their partner of choice on that journey.”

Digital commerce Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in Southeast Asia is expected to increase 3x from US$100 billion+ in 2020 to US$300 billion+ by 2025, which highlights the opportunity in this fast-evolving space.

With MSMEs accounting for around half of Southeast Asia’s GDP and merely about 20 percent using digital tools, the area is set to undergo transformative digitisation of a segment anticipated to be valued at US$2 trillion by 2025.


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