Emirati-owned e-commerce business raises $1m in funding

Online marketplace offers products from 800 independent designers and ships to 40 countries

Dubai-based Boksha has raised $1m in funding from family offices and the Sandooq al Watan initiative to fund expansion. Bloomberg
Dubai-based Boksha has raised $1m in funding from family offices and the Sandooq al Watan initiative to fund expansion. Bloomberg

An Emirati-founded e-commerce start-up offering abayas, kaftans and other Khaleeji-themed fashion items has raised $1 million in early-stage funding.

Dubai-based Boksha is an online marketplace used by independent fashion designers that is already shipping to more than 40 countries, according to state news agency WAM.

"We are very excited about our next chapter post-funding closing and see tremendous growth opportunities in the region," Yahya Mohamed Saleh, co-founder and chief executive, told the agency.

"Not only do we see this as a largely scaleable business, but also one with significant social impact in terms of job creation, individual empowerment and export of regional talent."

The e-commerce market in the Gulf region is expected to more than double to $50 billion by 2025, up from $24bn last year, according to consultancy Kearney.

Boksha, the name of which is derived from a piece of fabric traditionally used as a pouch or a head carrier by female merchants, raised the funding from Sandooq Al Watan and a number of family offices.

Sandooq Al Watan is an initiative "launched by prominent Emirati businessmen to support innovators and talented Emiratis, and create every opportunity for them to thrive and unleash their full potential", the organisation's director general, Hind Baker, said.

"We are always open to any kind of bold and innovative ideas that can help diversify the UAE economy and prepare it for the post-oil era, in line with our mandate and the UAE leadership’s directives."

Boksha already has more than 800 designers on its marketplace selling more than 15,000 items, Mr Saleh said.

"More than 90 percent of our designers are Emirati females between the ages of 18 and 35, we expect to see a very similar demographic as we expand regionally," he said.

Published: June 7, 2021 10:43 PM

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