Sequoia, Prosus back Saudi food startup raising $170m

Sequoia Capital India and Prosus NV have backed a $170 million funding round for Saudi Arabian food and beverage technology startup Foodics, as global investors increasingly seek to back fast-growing firms in the Middle East.

Riyadh-based Foodics will use the proceeds to boost its services and expand into new countries, Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Al Zaini said in an interview. The company is also looking at potentially acquiring rivals to help it grow and will expand into fintech after receiving a license from the Saudi central bank, he said.

Sanabil, wholly-owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and focused on start-up investing, co-led the fundraising with Prosus. STV, a $500 million Saudi venture fund, also participated in the deal.

The funds will also help Foodics explore “merger and acquisition opportunities around the region,” Al Zaini said, declining to comment on the company’s valuation.

Sequoia made its first investment in Saudi Arabia in January, leading a funding round for Lean Technologies. It has been deepening its presence in the Middle East after recently backing companies from Turkey to Egypt. The venture capital firm is among the global investors eager to seize on the spread of financial technology and e-commerce in the region as local economies emerge from the pandemic.

Foodics, which offers restaurant management software, digital payments and micro-loans, last raised $20 million from investors in early 2021. The firm probably has enough funding to keep it going for the next two to three years, and would consider an initial public offering after that time, Al Zaini said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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