Uzbekistan Gets its First Unicorn: eCommerce Startup Uzum

In a delighting surprise, Uzum launched in October 2022 an Uzbek e-commerce startup offering online shopping (e-commerce), fintech, and food delivery, has become Uzbekistan's first unicorn with a valuation of $1.16 billion after securing a funding round of $114 million.

Uzbekistan Gets its First Unicorn: eCommerce Startup Uzum

Looking at Uzum, we can understand that Uzbekistan has a high smartphone penetration rate but lacks a comprehensive e-commerce platform and Uzum capitalized on this gap by establishing a marketplace with logistics and a large number of merchants around the country, exceeding the biggest bazaar in the country in terms of product variety and quality too.

Uzum is being dubbed as the biggest Bazaar in the country that's online and able to serve the citizens just like Amazon or any other eCommerce giant in the rest of the world.

As we can see Uzbekistan is a great opportunity for eCommerce players with over 60% of its population aged below 30 counts to over 35 million people who are also educated (as Uzbekistan enjoys a 100% literacy rate) and a 75% smartphone penetration with internet access Uzum is leading the startup race in Uzbekistan.

“It was a surprise for us to see that the penetration of smartphones was high and telecom infrastructure was in place, but there was no e-commerce, no proper fintech,” Djumaev told TechCrunch.

The startup achieved great success with its e-commerce platform and then expanded into fintech with a BNPL product, finding high adoption by the users Uzum is now entering the food delivery space and building a digital bank for Uzbek people.

Uzum also plans to use the new funding money ($114 million) to expand its fintech offerings, improve its e-commerce infrastructure, and build a massive logistics complex to support its ever-expanding business.

Uzum currently offers:

  1. Uzum Market
  2. Uzum Tezkor
  3. Uzum Nasiya
  4. Uzum Bank
  5. Uzum Business

They aim to consolidate their services into super apps and become a leading tech player in Uzbekistan as the CEO believes that there's no hard competition for them and they can easily grab the market by enhancing their offerings on Uzum.