The Cloud, a virtual kitchen start-up based in Abu Dhabi‘s Hub71, has raised $10 million in series A funding led by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and Riyadh-based Olayan Financing Company, with participation from Saudi Arabia’s Rua Growth Fund.
George Karam, co-founder and chief executive of The Cloud told The National that the company, which recently opened its regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia, projects to expand to Kuwait next to enhance its GCC footprint, with France and Italy as its next direct markets in Europe.
The Cloud has transformed itself as ‘the Airbnb of Kitchens’
The Cloud is founded by Kamil Rogalinski and George Karam in 2019. The Cloud has transformed itself as ‘the Airbnb of Kitchens’ letting restaurant holders to enhance their utilisation by transforming restaurants into cloud kitchens. Its virtual brands portfolio and proprietary tech stack facilitates restaurants to accomplish a comprehensive virtual set-up in less than 30 days. The tech suite, which is established in-house, also supports the company move up to international markets.
Currently the company is present in the UAE, Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Lithuania, the UK, and the US.
Karam said that company would use this funding to expand into Saudi Arabia, make even wider impact on restaurant proprietors and further strengthen their infrastructure and talent.
Expanding the brand regionally and globally will lead to delivering robust earnings for their investors, he added.
Cloud or virtual kitchens also known as dark, or ghost kitchens are commercial spaces created to prepare food exclusively only for deliveries, with numerous brands able to operate from those centralised locations.
Food businesses receive orders through mobile applications which are then delivered by Zomato, Deliveroo, Careem, Talabat and Uber Eats.
The kitchens gained significantly from the shift to online services during the coronavirus crisis, which compelled individuals to rely more on delivery services for food and applications. The trend has continued and is estimated to expand further as consumers experience its variety, discounts, and accessibility.
The global cloud kitchen market is projected to reach $112.7 billion by 2030, from $29.4bn in 2020, expanding at an annual compound rate of 13 per cent, according to data from Allied Market Research.
The Cloud’s most recent funding, which follows investment cycles in 2019 and 2020, the second of which was also managed by MEVP, which also assist the start-up expand and accelerate the advancement of its artificial intelligence-powered kitchen matching platform.
It also illustrates the continued development of Middle East start-ups, which are contributing to economies through their platforms, aiding users perform hassle-free transactions and activities.
Turki Aljoaib, managing partner of Rua Growth Fund said that the company’s expansion is yet another example of the region’s growing capability to foster brilliant businesspersons and enable them to develop innovative technology solutions that are scalable and competitive at the global arena.
Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global technology ecosystem, is now home to over 170 start-ups, and those in the pre-seed, seed and series A stages have jointly raised more than $67million.
In August, Hub 71 welcomed a new batch of start-ups able to use its added resources to size up their businesses.
The UAE capital is also accelerating its efforts to increase the cloud kitchen sector. Earlier during the year, US-based technology start-up Reef, financed by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Capital, partnered with Americana Group, the largest food and beverage operator in the Middle East to open cloud kitchens in the region.
Dubai is also home to Kitopi, a cloud kitchen start-up that began four years ago and is now thought to be valued at $1billion.