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Oware raises $3.3M to offer businesses flexible warehousing

Oware, a Pakistan-based B2B warehousing and distribution start-up, has raised $3.3 million in pre-seed funding.

The round is backed by Silicon Valley investors including Flexport Fund and Ratio Ventures, along with strong global investors Seedstars International Ventures, The Osiris Group, Swiss Founders Fund, Reflect Ventures, +92 Ventures, Walled City Co, and other strategic angel investors.

Co-founded in June 2021 by Maersk and Careem alumni Raza Kazmi and Adil Nisar, respectively, Oware empowers companies to grow through flexible warehousing and intelligent distribution, ensuring flexible response to demand fluctuations and faster and more affordable delivery of goods.

Oware offers businesses scalable and tech-driven warehousing and distribution for B2B and retail through its connected fulfillment centers and third-party logistics providers. Companies can quickly start operations from more locations to reach more customers, unhindered by operationally intense and complex logistics planning and capital investment restricting business growth.

Raza Kazmi, co-founder at Oware, commented: “There is a huge opportunity in the B2B movement of goods across the region, but it remains immensely underserved. Local businesses remain trapped in an archaic and opaque environment dealing with antiquated supply chain systems that are no longer fit for purpose and remain slow, limited, and capital intensive. The time to set up operations is too long, there is limited visibility or tracking of orders and the execution of processes is inefficient in terms of speed and cost, which we are on a mission to solve”.

Pakistan’s logistics industry represents a $35 billion+ market opportunity and provides approximately 6% of total employment. Lack of warehouse flexibility and insights leads to overspending on warehousing and inventory, which results in expensive and late deliveries with poor visibility into operations. These inefficiencies exist due to hyper fragmentation in the market, resulting in a painful and outdated process. Further, the shift in customer expectations and service requirements has caused immense pressure on the fulfillment and distribution industry, which Oware aims to tackle.

Oware continues to build momentum and is growing their customer base working with a healthy mix of start-ups, manufacturers, traders, and retailers. They are using Oware to affordably store inventory close to their customers, along with picking, packing, and shipping to give them a one platform solution. They also get real-time visibility on stock levels and order statuses with visibility into the entire network.

Over time, the technology transformation has revolutionized the last mile
delivery space to consumers. However, B2B movement of goods is still done through manual, unintelligent, and antiquated processes. Oware has built a FedEx equivalent for B2B. This is a game changer for B2B warehousing and distribution.

Co-founder Adil Nisar added. “To get to its end destination, a product has to move between several warehouses, fulfillment centers, and trucks. This complex ballet is managed by multiple businesses without interconnected systems. Our vision is to build a large scale connected world of distribution that enables a faster route to market for our customers.”

Oware has grown its network to 5 cities that provide distribution to 75% of Pakistan’s population with same-day delivery and 85% of the population with next day delivery. Oware is opening additional fulfilment centers to meet demand and increase coverage.

“Most warehouses in Pakistan today are run on paper or Excel. Companies must lease or buy a property, hire staff, and manage them. Expansion into new territories or capacity increases to support inventory fluctuations are slow and costly. This increases businesses’ cost of entry and cost of expansion. Oware solves this problem for Pakistani businesses. It brings a huge archaic industry straight into the 21st century world of on-demand flexibility and management visibility and insight. This is a big opportunity for Oware and an important part of the rapid ongoing modernization of Pakistan’s economy. We are excited to be among Oware’s investors and expect great success.” said Michel Friedman, partner at Reflect Ventures.

As Oware scales operations to more geographies, its recent funding will further fuel product development and talent acquisition to innovate and simplify supply chains across Pakistan and beyond.

“Pakistan has a massive opportunity in logistics presented by the 2 million SMEs and the rise of e-commerce in the region. We believe that Oware has a solid position to be an integral layer to an ecosystem that’s becoming digitally enabled. We are proud to have been Adil’s and Raza’s early backers and thrilled for the journey ahead,” said Charlie Graham-Brown, CIO & Partner at Seedstars.

Founders Adil Nisar, 28, and Raza Kazmi, 39, met after Adil had left Careem to start his own company, sourcing, manufacturing, and distributing lights in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Raza was Group CFO at a large multinational distribution house and an advisor to another regional tech start-up.