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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - CAIRO: Startups in the Middle East have accomplished their 2022 resolutions with funding, expansion and technological achievements.
The region witnessed startups making headlines like never before with a rise in investment, partnerships, and product development in the ecosystem.
Saudi Arabia’s food technology company Foodics topped the list of the region’s most active startups exceeding all expectations and experiencing rapid growth.
Founded in 2014, Foodics is a Saudi-based food and fintech company that offers point-of-sale solutions with hardware and software to boost the food and beverage sector.
Ahmad Al-Zaini, CEO and co-founder of Foodics, told Arab News that the company’s first acquisition and series C funding round were the most notable achievements in 2022.
“This year has been crucial for Foodics,” said Al-Zaini, “In January, we acquired POSRocket and became the dominant restaurant-tech provider in the Middle East and North Africa region.”
“This landmark acquisition was a strategic move and one that enabled Foodics to consolidate the market, as well as take market leadership positions in Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan on top of the dominant position it already has in the rest of GCC,” he added.
Established in 2016, POSRocket is a Jordan-based point-of-sale software provider for restaurants that was dubbed the second largest cloud technology provider in the MENA region.
The second most notable achievement for Foodics this year was its mega-funding round which positioned the company on a growth trajectory and made it one of the most funded startups in the region.
“Foodics raised $170 million in the largest software as a service Series C round in the MENA. We have come a long way since our early days, and we were proud to have been able to secure capital from premium international tech investors to further power our journey to better support the F&B entrepreneurs and owners who make up the majority of our client community,” Al-Zaini said.
Raising a total of $198 million since its inception, the company managed to onboard top-notch investment firms like Sanabil Investments, STV, Endeavor Catalyst, Vision Ventures, Prosus and Sequoia Capital India.
This year was full of excitement for Foodics as it announced the launch of its micro-lending products that will greatly support its client base. Moreover, the company doubled down on its fintech side by rolling out new financial products and partnering with one of the largest fintech companies in the region, Paymob.
Paymob’s partnership is just the beginning; Al-Zaini explained that the company managed to seal 15 new strategic agreements with companies across the Middle East and Egypt.
Some of Foodics’s partnerships include Qoot, Sabbar, Alinma Bank, King Abdullah Financial District and Classera, which target Saudi Arabia’s F&B sector.
Foodics has also secured a partnership with the UAE’s Ministry of Economy that aims to promote the growth of small and medium enterprises in the F&B sector.
The two entities aim to collaborate on initiatives that include workshops to optimize strategies and business operations, improve supply chain management, boost sales and marketing and adopt technologies.
“Fostering the growth of the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem has always been part of our company’s DNA,” Al-Zaini stated.
“In 2022, we processed over 6 billion transactions on our platforms, launched a new tech stack, grew our marketplace ecosystem to more than 70 companies and launched Foodics Academy,” he added.
Al-Zaini stated that the company currently serves more than 22,000 F&B outlets across 35 countries, helping around 40 percent of the Saudi market adopt the technology by making it 85 percent more affordable.
He added that 2022 had been a year of change for Saudi Arabia, with entrepreneurial talent and startup companies increasing to address consumer needs through innovation.
“The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims to drive the digital transformation of numerous sectors and inspire new collaborations between the public and private to create a greater impact. The country is building a great foundation of success for the future, during which unprecedented reforms were made in the public sector’s operating model, the economy and society as a whole,” Al-Zaini said.
“One crucial strand of this drive is the championing of startups across the Kingdom. Significant efforts have been put into cultivating the successful incubation of startups,” Al-Zaini added.
The Kingdom’s combination of government facilities and the drive for entrepreneurship have disrupted day-to-day experiences by bringing more ease and convenience to growth in all sectors.
“At Foodics, we are proud to help support this vision. We have brought affordable omnichannel tech and fintech solutions to the F&B industry to help them start and grow their business through innovative tech solutions,” Al-Zaini added.
The company is not stopping here; Al-Zaini shared that Foodics is still ambitious to fulfill much more goals in 2023.
“Our future ambition is to continue to shape the restaurant business, to give restaurant owners the freedom to focus on growing their business while we take care of the rest,” he added.
Al-Zaini explained that the company’s tech stack would empower automation in the F&B sector through self-ordering and payment solutions to create a seamless and efficient industry.
“We constantly listen closely to our customer and ecosystem partners and strive for new ideas to test and implement into new product rollouts. We will also continue to be the government’s partner in accelerating digital transformation in the F&B sector’s micro and small and midsize business segments and help accelerate their growth,” he explained.
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