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Bahrain-based FoodTech and meal subscription platform Calo has successfully raised $13.5M in its latest funding round. The SEED round was co-led by Khwarizmi Ventures, Nuwa Capital, and STV. The round also included participation from Al Faisaliah Group, Vision Ventures, 500 Global, Savour Ventures, Nama Ventures; as well as other angel investors.
Founded in 2019, Calo, a direct-to-consumer FoodTech offers personalized meal subscriptions through a seamless user-friendly app. Calo’s app automatically calculates the calories and macronutrients that users need; and delivers them ready-to-eat meals portioned to fit their fitness goals. This is among the largest seed rounds raised by a D2C foodtech startup worldwide.
2 months into Q4 and the Food & Beverage (F&B) sector in MENA exceeded expectations, with a recorded YoY growth in number of transactions closed reaching 51% higher as most recently observed in our November 2021 Venture Investment Dashboard. Reaching a yearly record high in VC funding this year, mostly due to the $415M megadeal raised by cloud-kitchen Tech Kitopi, the F&B sector in MENA showed great focus on concept and optimization technologies this year. MENA-based F&B startups raised almost $30M in November adding to the list of the most anticipated innovations raising major rounds in 2021, including UAE-based cloud kitchen Tech startup Grubtech and virtual restaurant Kitch, Egypt-based on-demand delivery startups Breadfast and elmenus, as well as Saudi-based F&B multi-platformer and point of sales solutions provider Foodics.
While MENA witnesses an increased adoption of health-conscious food choices, in line with global trends: over 60% of the region’s population has adopted a healthier lifestyle over 2020/21, according to PWC, Calo lifts the burden of choosing quality meals for consumers working on reaching their fitness goals or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, considering food preferences and health conditions. In light of this platform-boosting investment Ahmed Alrawi, Co-Founder/CEO of Calo raised major pain points for their market “Obesity is a global issue that is unfortunately concentrated in our region. Today about a third of the GCC population is obese, and diabetes cases in the Middle East are expected to rise by 110 percent by 2045. Our mission is to make healthy easy, and we believe the only way to do so is by making healthy food better, faster, and cheaper. With hundreds of meal options on our menu and growing, we’re proud to have been able to help thousands of people in taking control of their own health journeys and maintain a healthier lifestyle. We believe that the personalized nutrition trend is in its infancy, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of innovation in this field.”
Calo was founded by Ahmed Alrawi in Bahrain towards the end of 2019 and then joined by Moayed Almoayed as co-founder. Since its inception, Calo has seen rapid growth becoming the leader in health-conscious ready-to-eat meals in under two years across Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The company began operations in Riyadh with thousands on its waiting list earlier this year. Ahmad Alshammari, General Partner at STV, said, “Foodtech is an emerging and fast-growing space that we're excited about. Demand for healthy and convenient options is rapidly increasing in the region. The company's unique technology and operations have enabled the personalization of menu options; such a breakthrough can finally make healthy food appealing to many. Calo doesn’t only serve its customers; but also delights them. We believe Calo is the regional leader in this category and we're proud to partner with Ahmed, Moayed and the rest of the team on their mission to make healthy easy.”
In addition to its user-friendly app, Calo is vertically-integrated as the company utilizes a strong technology infrastructure for their kitchen and logistics operations — giving them a unique ability to control the end-to-end customer journey by developing and delivering data-driven meals. The company aims to use the funding to further invest in technology, cement its position in the current markets they operate in, and expand into new geographies. Abdulaziz Alturki, the Managing Partner of Khwarizmi Ventures shared high hopes for the team “Calo is a clear disruptor to the healthy food market, which is experiencing significant growth both globally and regionally. They do it by leveraging technology to grant their customers an exceptional experience; allowing them to enjoy delicious food while improving their eating habits and fitness goals at the same time. While Sarah Abu Risheh, Partner at Nuwa Capital concluded “Ahmed and Moayed’s journey so far has been nothing short of inspirational. With Calo, they are at the forefront of transforming the way we think about food and leading a healthy lifestyle. The foodtech space in Mena is evolving at a rapid pace and our first investment in the space with Calo speaks to our deep conviction in the team to seize this opportunity and build a unique business.”