The Fashion Kingdom, an Egyptian fashion e-commerce startup, raises $2.6M in seed funding – TechCrunch
The Fashion Kingdom (TFK), an Egyptian e-commerce marketplace for fashion, beauty and home accessories items, announced today that it has raised $2.6 million in seed funding led by CVentures, a corporate venture capital firm based in Egypt. A15, an early-stage VC in the MENA region that has backed the likes of Esaal, Paymob and Helios Investment Partners subsidiary, TPay, made a follow-on investment, according to TFK.
Fadi Antaki, co-founder and CEO of TFK, founded the company in January 2020 with Marianne Simaika and Karim Abd El Kader. They launched the e-commerce platform six months later. Antaki is also a general partner at A15. Antaki noticed a need for a platform that sold fashion products with fast deliveries, different payment methods, and a recommendation feature in Egypt. This opportunity made the chief executive tap into the knowledge he acquired as a kid born into a family with a long history in the apparel business to launch TFK.
“We established the company pre-COVID. And at the time, we saw a big gap or maybe a lack of focus on a place dedicated to selling fashion products, recommendations for what to wear, quick deliveries, and different payment methods. There wasn’t anyone focused on this, especially in fashion,” said Antaki.
TFK deals with a range of products–shoes, beauty products, personal care, accessories, home fashion, etc.–that cater to different demographics. The platform helps local and international brands grow their sales online through their curated marketplace that provides an omnichannel experience to customers: a place where shoppers can find all their fashion needs and exchange products when needed.
There are over 200 brands on the TFK platform, growing 10-15% month-over-month. It has more than 150,000 customers; every month, about 40% of its sales come from returning customers.
Not only does the platform enlist products of all these brands for customers’ viewing and buying pleasure, but it also provides ancillary services to them. TFK provides a virtual fitting room that helps brands get accustomed to their customers’ sizes and recommend outfits to customers for different occasions. Also, its “360-degree value proposition” for brands involves offering a one-stop-shop solution covering operations, co-marketing, and digital content creation services.
“Earlier this year, we found that one of the most important areas we thought we needed to focus on was the brand. There are good quality and price brands that don’t have the know-how to sell online. They need a lot of support in operation, fulfillment, warehousing, and digital production and photography,” the CEO said. “So besides selling their products, we help them with the different aspects that would then be able to sell well online, whether supporting the operation or the marketing side. And for us, it’s not just about reselling their products but also going in as their digital partners.”
The fashion e-commerce platform makes revenue via the traditional model where it counts a mark-up to products and a consignment model where it takes a commission. Supporting revenue streams come from additional services it provides to the brands, such as photography and marketing. The company’s total sales volume grew 3x from April 2021 to April 2022, Antaki confirmed.
In 2021, the global fashion e-commerce market value was nearly $700 billion. By the end of 2022, it is expected to surpass that figure and reach around $1.2 trillion in three years. According to Statista, the total addressable market in Egypt is about $4.2 billion. With no clear market leader in Egypt’s fashion e-commerce space, Antaki says his company is set to become one and stay ahead of players such as DressCode, Brantu, and Gahez because of its edge with brands.
“We have two main differentiators. One is the omnichannel experience. The second is not only being a reseller but rather being a partner to brands and helping them become sustainable and even grow their business through our platform and other services that we can provide,” he said.
Other investors in the round include Lotus Capital, Raba Capital, Sunny Side Venture Partners, Foundation Ventures, The Cairo Angels, and fashion industry veterans such as Paul Antaki and Nasser Chourbag.
Per the company’s statement, TFK will use the investment to accelerate its growth, build scalable technology and grow its team, whose female employees comprise 43% of the entire workforce and 50% of the company’s managers. “We intend to fill in the needs in terms of talent, build our technology, optimize our operation, and end-customer experience. So basically, using the funds in tech, talent, and operations,” the CEO added.