Dubai app Fetchr to expand in four markets after $41m funding round

The delivery app eyeing expansion in Jordan, Oman and two other undisclosed markets this year



Dubai based delivery app Fetchr is planning expansion in Jordan, Oman and two other undisclosed markets this year after closing a $41m funding round.

Speaking to Gulf Business, Fetchr founder and CEO Idriss Rifai said the money would help the firm “put more gas in the tank” in terms of both geographic expansion and adding technical staff to its nearly 1,500-strong workforce.

“We have some pretty aggressive growth plans both in the countries we’re in by diversifying the type of services that we have and to be able to tackle new markets,” he said.

“So we’re planning, just starting two markets in the past two months, which are Jordan and Oman, and we’re planning to start two other markets before the end of the year. There is a lot of pressure for us to succeed in these markets so we need an infusion of capital.”

US-based New Enterprise Associates led the Series B funding round, with other participants including Nokia Growth Partners, Raed Ventures, Iliad Partners, BECO Capital, YBA Kanoo, Venture Souq and Swicorp.

The round also drew funding from Middle East and North Africa malls operator Majid Al Futtaim, a company Rifai said Fetchr would be working with in the future.

“A lot of retailers or mall operators are realising there is some kind of digital transformation happening, they understand a lot of consumers are moving online and that brick and mortar might not be their offering in the future.”

He said the partnership would enable the firm –co-founded with creative director Joy Ajlouny – to offer B2B and B2C on demand logistics across its stores and brands including services like pick-up in store for delivery to customers.

“[There are] tonnes of different offerings like omni-channel retail that have been enabled in the US mostly and they are looking to enable here so it’s a very strategic partnership,” he said.

Rifai also sought to differentiate his firm’s offering – which is designed to enable delivery in markets without an addressing system by tracking customers’ smartphone geolocation – from other delivery services like that offered by ride apps Uber and Careem.

“A big part of our business is B2C so we go to an e-commerce store, we pickup 500 packages and then do deliveries to customers, which is completely different from their model,” he said.

Speaking more broadly, Rifai indicated the recent investment meant the company, which has raised $52m from four funding rounds since its founding in November 2012, according to Crunchbase, was “set for quite some time”.

But he said it could seek investment in the future for contacts as much as capital as it expands into new markets.

The firm’s broader goal is to cover the Middle East and other markets across the world that lack an addressing system, including Africa. However, despite recent interest in the region
after Amazon’s acquisition of Souq.com, he said any deal involving the firm was still some way off.

“Right now we’re very far from plateauing our revenues and we’re just scratching the service. So if there is an acquisition I don’t think it’s going to happen in the next few years – there is just too much to grow.”