Egyptian personal shopper Edfa3ly seeks $5m as it plans regional expansion

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Egyptian startup Edfa3ly, a personal shopper that allows Egyptians to shop from online stores in the United States (US) and have their items shipped to their doorstep, is looking for US$5 million funding as it plans expansion across North and East Africa as well as several Gulf countries.

Launched in October 2010, Edfa3ly rode out the economic storm that followed the 2011 Arab Spring – a period in which it ran out of money, had its vehicles stolen and considered closing the business.  

The startup is now looking for funding as it plans its expansion in Africa and the Middle East, with co-founder and managing director Ahmed Mohamed telling Disrupt Africa Edfa3ly circumvented the problem of requiring US-issued credit cards or PayPal to shop in US stores.

Edfa3ly’s appeal is based on the fact it allows users to purchase from any website, including those that do not offer direct shipping to Egypt, or accept credit cards issued in Egypt. Users know exactly how much you will pay, with no hidden or extra fees, and are billed on gross weight only.

“We take as low as five per cent of the online price as our direct commission,” Mohamed said. “We are going to make US$15 million in revenues this year with between 20 and 30 per cent gross margins.”

This success prompted the startup to launch sister brand Yashry last year, an e-commerce site with more than 100,000 products that depends on Edfa3ly’s logistics.

After raising a US$150,000 seed round in 2013, the startup is now looking for more funding for further expansion.

“Edfa3ly is expanding very soon to reach its vision of being the bridge allowing Middle Eastern and African consumers to shop the world from the comfort of their home,” Mohamed said.

The signs are certainly positive, as VC funding for tech startups is returning to Egypt in a big way. Last month, Disrupt Africa reported Egyptian online recruitment startup WUZZUF had raised a US$1.7 million Series A round, led by Vostok New Ventures and Piton Capital and joined by current investors 500 Startups and Endure Capital.

The round was the largest ever obtained by an Egyptian internet startup, but that record lasted just a month, before Yaoota, which operates a shopping search engine helping users compare products and prices in a variety of online stores, raised US$2.7 million in funding from the Abu Dhabi-based KBBO Group to aid its regional expansion.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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