By Sam Mahdavi / MAGNiTT
Updated on 06/05/2018
The restaurant business is, especially for startups, notorious for its high failure rate - 60% of food service businesses fail within the first year, according to Business Insider. Nonetheless, MENA Food & Beverage startups have raised USD $28M in funding since 2014, according to MAGNiTT data.
Indeed, it’s not all doom and gloom: F&B startups in the region have increasingly received funding and popularity over the course of the last few years, with Yumamia’s $1.1M Series A round in March 2018 being the latest investment.
In this article, we highlight 6 of the highest funded MENA startups in the industry, ranked by the amount of funding that they have received.
First on this list is the online restaurant reservation startup, ReserveOut. Based in Dubai, ReserveOut have raised a total of $5.3M in funding from 500 Startups, Silicon Badia, iMENA and Jisr Venture Partners. They describe themselves as a “platform that bridges the gap between hospitality, entertainment and dining service providers and their patrons through rich and sophisticated online experience”. The platform and its services are currently offered throughout various MENA countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. However, they have ambitious plans, and are looking to expand beyond the region in the future.
Currently operating across a plethora of countries in MENA, EatApp is seen as Middle East’s fastest-growing real-time reservation platform for restaurants. Based in Bahrain, EatApp has seated more than 2 million diners across 800+ restaurants, and the app is free to download for end users. To date, EatApp have raised a total of $3.4M through multiple funding rounds, from investors such as 500 Startups, MEVP, Tenmou and Pinnacle Ventures
Founded in 2014, Knockmart is Cairo’s leading online supermarket website. The online grocery and e-commerce startup aims to satisfy customers that are looking for a convenient way to shop for groceries either from their phone or their computer at home, consequently making their lives a lot easier. Knockmart secured $3M in funding through a convertible note from an undisclosed entity and to date is the highest funded food delivery startup in Egypt.
Yumamia is an online food delivery platform “that gathers a curated list of food catering companies to offer customers real food, prepared by professional chefs, using premium ingredients and a unique rotating daily menu”. Founded in 2014, the Cairo-based startup’s mission is to offer healthier food choices for convenient and affordable prices for everyone. Yumamia has raised $2.3M from Publicis Group, Faden Media and other investors.
Egypt’s Elmenus is a food discovery platform whose mission is to “deliver comprehensive information on all restaurants in Egypt, real user-generated photos, and recommendations, all to help people make the best dining decisions”. After raising $1.5M from one of Egypt’s most prominent venture capital firm, Algebra Ventures, elmenus will be eagerly awaiting the next phase of the company’s growth to put their stamp on the digital food space.
UAE-based ChefXchange is an online marketplace that connects amateur and professional Chefs to Foodies from all around the world. Founded in 2014, the startup has raised to date over $1.4M from Angel Investors and Al Mawarid Bank. The co-founders say “ChefXChange is a win for both chefs and foodies: for the foodie, the dining experience is within reach and now hassle-free via online navigation, and for chefs looking to freelance and set their own hours, it provides an alternative to just working in restaurants and professional events”.
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