Swag Kicks scores $1.2M seed funding

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Swag Kicks, a Pakistani sustainable fashion platform, has announced closing a seed round of $1.2M. The deal was led by i2i Ventures, with participation from Techstars Toronto, CrossFund, Rose Lake Ventures, Elevation Ventures, STAK Group plus some angels. They had previously raised money from SOSV and HOV at pre-seed. This is the first e-commerce deal in Pakistan in 2023, a far cry from $120M+ raised by the sector in Q1-2022.

“With 100K+ customers served, and over 25K listed items from sneakers, bags, apparel to accessories, Swag Kicks is bringing the global sneaker and streetwear culture to Pakistan by sourcing preloved fashion from across the world, washing and disinfecting, and listing it online on their platform,” said a press statement. As per Similarweb, their website had 128K visits in January with almost 75% of the audience between 18 and 24.

It added: “According to an estimate by Morgan Stanley, second-hand marketplaces are growing, with estimates predicting that the global market will grow 127% by 2026 to an estimated $218 billion. Within this shifting consumer trend, the import of secondhand clothing has increased around the world, and Pakistan is one of the largest importers of used clothes. In July and August 2021, Pakistan imported 186,299 metric tons of preloved clothing, 283% more than the same period in 2020. With rising inflation and shrinking spending, more consumers will thrift and shop within this category.”

The startup wants to target brand-conscious young Pakistanis who either don’t have access or the means to get those premium products. The co-founders – Mateen Ansari, Hamza Abid and Nofal Khan – bring experience in running their own entreprenurial ventures and top tech companies like Daraz and Careem.

CEO Nofal Khan said: “We, at Swag Kicks, aim to give young Pakistanis a means of expression via fashion by furnishing them with authentic global sneaker and streetwear brands at affordable prices. Swag Kicks has a curated collection of 50+ sneaker brands, including brands like Solomon and Doc Martens, which are not readily available in Pakistan.”

After Pakistan, the startup wants to carve out a market in global D2C and B2B thrift and vintage circular fashion.  “What impressed us most about Swag Kicks wasn’t just the team’s big vision within shifting consumer trends and macroeconomic uncertainty, “ said Misbah Naqvi, Co-founder & General Partner at i2i Ventures.

“The secondhand clothing market in Pakistan is large, but the supply side is very fragmented. The Swag Kicks team is able to operate at scale because of the elaborate back end they’ve built, including an in-house warehouse SaaS product that has tremendous potential. We’re honored to back them and be in their corner.” 

“Pakistan is home to one of the largest populations and one of the world’s biggest destinations for second-hand clothing, as well as an economic-free zone for used clothing that also serves as the home to Swag-kicks. We think Swag-Kicks is literally sitting inside of their biggest advantage while bringing business software and a digital marketplace to this industry” say Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of Techstars Toronto.

Umaima Khan

Umaima Khan is an undergraduate student majoring in mathematics and minoring in economics. She is currently a Research Analyst at Data Darbar.

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