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UAE-based cloud kitchen operator and KaaS (Kitchen-as-a-service) startup iKcon (Innovative Kitchen Concepts) has been fully acquired by USA-based REEF Technology Inc. (REEF), a leading operator of delivery kitchens, logistics, and proximity hubs in North America, marking their debut into the MENA region.
Founded in 2019, iKcon is a tech-enabled cloud kitchen operator that procures, cooks, and delivers food on behalf of restaurants and brand owners. This acquisition follows its last expansion funding, a $20M Series A round led by AlTouq Group, Derayah, BY Venture Partners (BYVP), and Nazer Group. This acquisition powers the two entities to merge Tech potential and operation expertise to cater to kitchen hubs in MENA and across the globe.
While Q3 marked a slower funding quarter for MENA’s Food & Beverage (F&B) ecosystem, observing an almost 98% drop in capital deployed quarter on quarter, MENA-based F&B startups raised an unprecedented record funding in 2021 YTD. Observing a 240%YoY growth in funding by Q3 2021, 82% of all capital deployed in F&B in MENA was raised by Kitopi, the UAE-based cloud kitchen. Be it the ROI from fast turning delivery-focused ventures or from optimizing kitchen spaces to crack untapped revenue streams, investors and startups have been keen on backing cloud Kitchen technology, especially in the UAE. In fact, 4 of the top 10 F&B funding rounds in MENA 2021 were by startups pioneering Cloud Kitchen Technologies including GrubTech, Kitch, iKcon, and the aforementioned Kitopi.
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Since its launch, the US-based kitchen supplier REEF has built a stronghold network backed by investors including Mubadala Capital, SoftBank Vision Fund 1, and Target Global. REEF focuses on transforming urban spaces into proximity hubs that create jobs and bring new goods and services, with an ecosystem of 5,000 locations and a team that’s over 18,000 strong. The US-based startup already established a presence in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), with this new merger the iKcon team will be able to bring global competitivity to their local market. In light of this power partnership Head of Development at REEF Tommy Rosen highlighted “We are excited to welcome iKcon and its team members to REEF’s global proximity platform. The Middle East and North Africa are crucial markets in the rapidly evolving F&B and retail industries, and our acquisition of iKcon will position REEF to become a leader in the region.”
With a network of innovative kitchens in prime locations and over 800 employees, iKcon utilizes its modern facilities, smart technology solutions, highly qualified chefs, and customer service teams to extend the reach of its portfolio of +100 well-known local, regional and international restaurant partners. “Since its inception, iKcon has consistently focused on operational excellence and building a unique customer-centric business model,” said Khalid Baareh, Co-Founder and CEO at iKcon. “The past three years have taught us the importance of pursuing our vision with commitment and passion, driven by a world-class team. Today, we are thrilled to join the REEF team and to continue our journey of bringing innovation to neighborhoods everywhere. REEF’s leadership in proximity will play a great role in accelerating our regional expansion plans. We are fully committed to driving the development of REEF in MENA.”
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