The UAE-based B2B marketplace Elkaso has successfully raised $2.1M in its latest funding round. The Pre-Seed round was led by Global Founders Capital andMSA Capital and recorded participation from key strategic global and regional investors including former and current leaders of Careem, Delivery Hero, Apple, Faith Capital, Talabat, Eyewa, and Instashop– along with other seasoned entrepreneurs.
Founded in early 2021 by veteran entrepreneurs Manar Alkassar and Ahmed Soliman, Elkaso provides a Tech-enabled platform connecting restaurants with suppliers in time to refill their stock needs or make last-minute orders on demand. The Co-founders are no strangers to the world of tech startups, where Alkassar was the Head of New Ventures at Rocket Internet Middle East, while Soliman previously was Vice President at Delivery Hero overseeing logistics operations for all DeliveryHero brands in the region.
The Food & Beverage ecosystem is the highest funded ecosystem in MENA as most recently recorded in our August 2021 Venture Investment Dashboard. Driven by Kitopi’s$415M Unicorn deal, Food & Beverage startups in MENA have observed a 300% YoY growth in funding over 2021 YTD, closing 2 deals short of the number of transactions closed in 2020 around this time.
Elkaso launched to address a pressing challenge in the region’s thriving F&B space: the absence of an easy, seamless platform that connects restaurants with their suppliers to place and manage their orders. This recent investment fuels the startup’s journey to tap into a $50Bn Gulf market and disrupt through Tech as Manar Alkassar elaborates “While ordering food from restaurants has become the poster-child of our new digital lifestyles, ironically, restaurants still find themselves ordering their own supplies mostly manually or with old-fashioned, clunky systems. We are building the Elkaso platform to close this gap in the MENA region and to improve transparency in the food supply chain. The app seamlessly connects restaurants and suppliers, enabling them to communicate, discover, place, and fulfill orders easily.”
Despite rapid innovation in food delivery globally and regionally, restaurant supply chains still remain largely manual, presenting an exciting opportunity for disruption and transformation. Ben Harburg, the General Partner of MSA Capital highlighted “The Middle East is one of the world’s fastest-growing, highest-margin food delivery markets, yet parts of the ecosystem remain analog. Digitizing procurement is a critical solution for viably scaling HORECA in both online and offline contexts, which we have mapped and invested into globally. As such, we believe Elkaso has the strongest team to execute this strategy in the region.”
Within its first months of launch, the platform has already witnessed rapid growth and is currently servicing more than 1,400 partner restaurants and suppliers between the UAE and KSA. This latest investment not only comes as a platform launcher to the UAE-based startup, but is also a market validation to the founders’ business acumen and Elkaso’s vision as Mohammed Jaffar, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Faith Capital commented “I believe that the company, led by founders with extensive experience and a proven track record of success, has the aptitude, resources and distinct advantages in place to be in an exceptional position to forge across the region”.
When asked about their plans for the future, Elkaso’s co-founder Ahmed Soliman, concluded” We are looking to build an incredible and diverse team in the markets that we are planning to launch in soon. For this aggressive expansion, we are looking to onboard people eager and excited to transform restaurant supply chains digitally.”