Regional investors have neglected the physical shopping market in favour of the emerging e-commerce sector, according to the founders of UAE start up Akyasi, which provides users with a hands-free shopping service by picking up and delivering their shopping bags.
Speaking exclusively to Arabian Business, Akyasi’s Ranya Zaben and Enas Soussan said attracting investors to fund their venture proved difficult due to heavy focus on e-commerce.
“The majority of investors seem to be concentrating on e-commerce, forgetting that the physical shopping market will never die. Some of them neglect the fact that the physical shopping market is still a very viable industry,” Zaben said.
Akyasi, which translates into ‘bags’ in Arabic, was launched in 2018 and is currently self-funded, but the founders plan on seeking outside investment in the future to fund their expansion across the GCC.
“We try to show them the long-term benefits and practicality of the business model. Once the system is fully operational, and its success evident, our plan is to seek further equity participation from investors to fund future expansion,” Soussan said.
Another challenge facing the start up is getting retailers on board, as some have to go through a long process of approvals for utilising the platform, while others do not fully understand the concept.
Akyasi, which connects consumers, retailers, malls and delivery entities, is currently available in Yas Mall and Dalma Mall in Abu Dhabi.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.