Savola Group announces the launch of its corporate VC program with two investments

Savola Group, a publicly listed Saudi Group with operating companies in food and retail, has announced the launch of its Corporate Venture Capital Program. It will invest in innovative and disruptive technologies and opportunities in the food and retail space regionally and globally. The program completed 2 simultaneous investments in January 2021.

The first investment is in Lyve (previously OneClick Technologies), a GCC-based tech-enabled last-mile logistics digitization platform, in which Savola Group led a series B investment round. The second investment is the 100% acquisition of Lilbab, a KSA-based e-grocery pureplay, through Panda Retail Company, which was rebranded as PandaClick in 2020. Both transactions were funded from internal cashflows.

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Waleed Khalid Fatani, Savola Group CEO said, “These investments are important pivot plays for us as a Group. The program’s focus is to offer opportunities for our operating portfolio companies to benefit from innovative business models to maintain their edge while allowing the Group some capital allocation directly or indirectly in digital and new innovative models in our core sectors.

“The corporate venture program will be dedicated in support of companies in Series A and B that could benefit from our knowledge of the regions we operate in and/or be able to work with our operating companies on new business models within the digital economy.”

Lyve was founded in February 2016 by Hassan Hallas, a serial entrepreneur with global startup experience, and Dr. Walid Moneimne, a reputed corporate leader with experience in managing technology companies across the US, Europe, Middle East & Africa. Lyve was founded to solve the last-mile delivery challenge in the MENA region, which has been stoked by the exponential growth in food, e-commerce, and other delivery services in the region over the last five years. 

Lyve will benefit from Savola Group’s outreach and expertise in retail and food-service space in the MENAT region which will create value for Lyve’s presence and brand in Saudi Arabia. Savola Group will benefit from the expansion of Lyve’s potential footprint in Saudi Arabia through entry into a last-mile logistics platform.2021 Emerging Venture Markets Report

Lilbab (now rebranded to PandaClick) was founded by three young Saudi entrepreneurs in 2016, which eventually turned into a full e-grocery platform that connected customers with personal shoppers to deliver groceries from their favorite retailers. The acquisition of this platform, which initially started as an exclusive partnership with Panda amidst the COVID-19 crisis, allowed Panda to jumpstart its e-grocery efforts to serve as a solid base for its omnichannel strategy execution and to become one of the largest digital platforms in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Bander Talaat Hamooh, Panda Retail Company’s CEO commented, “The initial partnership, which resulted in this acquisition, represents the very best of Saudi entrepreneurship and Corporate enterprise working together to create something great to serve our community. Both teams worked together through the most difficult of times, exemplifying both our values and our commitment to the communities we serve every day, building a digital platform that will be the cornerstone of Panda omnichannel retail”.

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