he region has a seen a lot of e-commerce platforms … but SupplyVan wants to be the Amazon of the Middle East for maintenance, repair and overhaul [MRO] products.
Ali Asgar Raja, founder and CEO of the Dubai-based firm, said by doing so the platform can provide all MRO products required by industries, factories, workshops, offices, contractors and DIY [do it yourself] customers in the Gulf.
“I used to go door-to-door of every company and ask what they want and then deliver it by tying up with local vendors,” said Raja. “SupplyVan is not something new to me as I have been doing this business for the last 10 years. The only thing new is moving to an online model and this is how business is done in Europe and is currently popular in India.”700 local vendors and distributors listed on the site
The platform provides tools and technical supplies and serves in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer arenas. “We are the first curated e-commerce marketplace in the Middle East to offer this facility,” he said. “We have 700 local vendors and distributors, more than 700 brands and 55,000 SKUs (stock keeping units) listed on the site. We do not keep stocks but we procure the products from vendor and deliver it ourselves.”
The platform aggregates supplies at its location and delivers them to customers under a consolidated invoice. “We are enjoying the first mover advantage and our growing inventory and orders are a testimony to the fact that there is growing demand for MRO products,” he said.
Even though Souq, noon and others offer DIY products such as power tools for use at homes, he said the advent of e-commerce sites has brought significant changes to the entire MRO distribution network in these markets.$5m what the start-up is seeking to raise to expand tech platform
“MRO sourcing differs from company to company and depends on factors such as requirement of the number of SKUs, business procurement requirements, categories of products and buying frequencies compared to traditional procurement processes that have various disadvantages and challenges,” he said.
SupplyVan is a self-funded start-up with an investment of Dh2.5 million. However, the margins are small and can improve only with future volume growth.
“Our current margins are between 10 and 25 per cent. About 40 per cent of sales comes from B2B and the rest from B2C,” he said.
The platform is looking to raise $5 million to expand its tech platform to an enterprise level for multi-level purchases and fleet expansion. “We are planning to expand into Saudi Arabia and Oman. Our aim is to have 250,000 products on our website by end of next year.”
Founders: Ali Asgar Raja
Funding: Dh2.5 million
Source: Gulf News