Saudi Arabia-based second-hand product platform has raised SAR15.0 million ($4.0 million U.S.) in seed funding in an attempt to tap into rising demand for used goods in the Middle East.

Soum, which was founded in 2021 by Fahad al Hassan, a former strategy minister for the Saudi Arabian government and PwC consultant; Fahad Albassam, a former associate at Boston Consulting Group; and Bader Almubarak, a former engagement manager at McKinsey, has been operating under what it called “stealth mode” for the past eight months.

In a statement on its website, Soum said it had raised the money in a funding round led by Outliers Venture Capital Mazen Al-Jubeir with the participation of Khwarizmi Ventures and Ammar Al-Khudairi.

Soum said it would start by targeting the second-hand electronic market, where it said demand was growing at more than 10% a year globally due to the increasing life spans of technology and rising prices of new products.

“Despite this global pattern, the experience of buying and selling second-hand products has not been successful for users in the region, as users have to move between platforms that are heavy with ads, and often bear the burden of building trust in them with the other party,” Soum said. “The growth that the startup is experiencing so far is indicative of the unmet customer needs in the region. In eight months, the volume of Soum operations has grown to millions of riyals.”

Traditionally, the lucrative Saudi second-hand electronic market has been dominated by privately-owned Saudi marketplace, but the latter has recently faced competition from Gulf region portal, which last year raised $24.0 million U.S. as part of an aggressive expansion plan in the country.

“Today, only 12% of used electronics sales are done digitally, and more than 80% of digital sales are made by one player only,” said Mohammed Al-Mushaiq, managing partner at Outliers. “Supply and demand, and the capabilities of its leaders will lead Soum to be a diversified company in multiple markets and multiple categories.”

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