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|| Middle East e-commerce website MarkaVIP raised $5 million

markavip.jpgMarkaVIP, a private sales club and e-commerce operation in the Middle East, just announced the completion of $5 million Series A funding led by Silicon Valley venture firm Lumia Capital with significant participation from New York City-based Invus Financial Advisors.

MarkaVIP was established in November 2010 and employs 120 people across six offices in Beirut, Dubai, Amman, Istanbul, Antwerp and San Francisco. The site has attracted 700,000 registered users to date, with up to 5,000 more joining per day.

This is one of the biggest announced investments in an e-commerce/online operation from the Middle East. Among other major investments from last year we had Dice Holdings acquisition of Dubai-based job site WorldWideWorker for $9 million and Naspers stake in Dubai-based classified website Dubizzle

More details about MarkaVIP investment follows:

MarkaVIP, the leading private sales club and fastest growing e-commerce operation in the Middle East, today announced the successful completion of its $5 million Series A funding led by Silicon Valley venture firm Lumia Capital with significant participation from New York City-based Invus Financial Advisors (IFA). The capital garnered through this funding round will be used to expand MarkaVIP's current operations and marketing activities, and to support regional expansion for its private sales club throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

"We actively pursued this funding to support the operational expansion needed to keep pace with the explosive growth of our customer base, and to fund sales and marketing to drive accelerated growth in new markets across the GCC," said Ahmed Alkhatib, founder and CEO, MarkaVIP. "We are pleased to partner with such committed and experienced investors, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Lumia Capital and IFA."

MarkaVIP was founded in Jordan in 2010 by CEO Ahmed Alkhatib and Amer Abulaila, MarkaVIP's CTO. The company, which has adapted the proven flash sales model to suit the company's local consumers and retailers, sources excess or introductory inventory from premium brands worldwide to be sold to its private members over a limited time period. Since its launch in Jordan and Saudi Arabia in November 2010 and subsequent expansion to the rest of the GCC and Lebanon earlier in 2011, MarkaVIP has cultivated a private membership of 700,000 registered users and is adding 3,000 to 5,000 new members per day, with 200,000 Facebook fans.

"MarkaVIP is creating a region-defining e-commerce platform by leveraging a world class management team, market-leading e-commerce know-how, and a loyal following of brand-savvy customers. We have been witness to the company's amazing growth from early in its life and are excited to deepen our partnership to help accelerate their business momentum," said Martin Gedalin, Managing Partner, Lumia Capital.

Today's announcement follows on the heels of a recent MarkaVIP press release in which the company staked its claim as the fastest growing e-commerce company in the Middle East. Under the leadership of its co-founder and chief technology officer Amer Abulaila, MarkaVIP has developed a world-class e-commerce platform that is currently supporting a seven-figure monthly revenue rate and a growth rate of 30-50 percent per month. The company has established local distribution has across the GCC region along with sourcing offices in Istanbul and San Francisco, and is handling 10 million page views per month with over 100,000 daily visitors.



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