ZON closes seed funding round of US$8 million
Mita Srinivasan
What's the Deal

ZON closes seed funding round of US$8 million

Set for launch in the second quarter of 2020, ZON is targeting more than 9.5 million smartphone users in the UAE

ZON, the region's first fully decentralized mobile-only e-commerce network, has closed its seed funding round at an unprecedented US$8 million, making it the largest recorded single seed round in the UAE. The seed round was led by ASA Ventures and a consortium of private investors looking to support the disruption of the e-commerce sector in the region and beyond.

According to Arif Saiyad, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of ZON, the platform transforms traditional e-commerce by giving consumers access to the larger network of retailers across UAE and delivering orders via a decentralized fulfillment process and geo-tracking technology, ensuring lower prices, wider product range, and shorter delivery times while also decreasing the frequency of product returns because of pre-purchase stock validation. ZON also empowers the digital transformation of smaller retailers, giving them direct exposure to more customers by providing a plug-and-play mobile platform completely free of charge.

"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," Saiyad added.

According to Saiyad, retailers have observed a 40 to 50% downturn in brick-and-mortar sales for the first quarter versus the previous year because of the global health crisis caused by COVID-19. More recently, due to mobility restrictions and fear of going to public places, consumers are turning to e-commerce for their daily needs.

With the aim making virtually every product available 24/7, across all locations in the emirates, ZON has already signed up over 32,000 sellers and over 17 million SKUs registered on its platform. The ZON customer app is scheduled for launch in the second quarter of 2020.