How huge growth during COVID-19 is propelling Egypt’s ExpandCart across the globe

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Egyptian e-commerce startup ExpandCart has witnessed huge growth across the world over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now planning on doubling down with new products in the wake of a funding round.

The startup was founded by Amr Shawqy, Sameh Nabil, and Yasser Seleem back in 2013. The trio ran an online electronics store, which they sold to a local retailer, after which they received multiple requests from other retailers to build an online store for them.

“We realised the need for a platform like ExpandCart that can help merchants and retailers build their online store by themselves without the need for any technical assistance,” Shawqy, now the startup’s chief executive officer (CEO), told Disrupt Africa.

Now used by more than 20,000 merchants in over 40 countries, ExpandCart provides comprehensive e-commerce solutions to enable merchants and retailers to build their online stores and expand their sales. 

The startup’s omni-channel selling solution includes a feature-rich and customisable platform for building online storefronts, an integrated cloud point-of-sale system for retailers, and a connected branded merchant mobile app.

“ExpandCart is a platform that helps businesses and individuals create an online store where you can display products and accept orders, and the idea is that anyone can use our tool to build one just like they would create a Facebook page – it is that easy,” Shawqy said.

“We see a huge need in the MENA region for e-commerce – millions of businesses are in need for a tool to help them go online and use e-commerce as a selling channel. That huge demand pushed other players to the market, while we were the first mover in the Middle East, we then had competition from other startups in multiple countries, which we think is very much healthy for the ecosystem.”

The company is now planning on doubling down on its strong position after raising a US$2.5 million Series A funding round late last year. The round, which was led by Sawari Ventures with the participation of Agility Ventures, Graphene Ventures, and two angel investors, will allow ExpandCart to implement an ambitious roadmap of new innovative e-commerce solutions that will “supercharge e-commerce growth in the Middle East”.

Shawqy said demand is “huge”, especially in the wake of COVID-19.

“We have seen 3X growth since April 2020, and we can see this across multiple countries in the MENA region, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” he said.

Already operating in over 40 countries, mainly GCC and North African ones, the company’s initial plan is to expand deeper in these existing markets, rather than seek new ones. The startup operates a SaaS model, offering monthly and yearly subscriptions.

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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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