UAE-based cloud kitchen platform Kitopi has raised $415 million in a Series C round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with additional participation from Chimera, DisruptAD, B. Riley, Dogus Group, Next Play Capital and Nordstar.
This marks the first Softbank investment in a UAE company.
Founded in January 2018 by Mohamad Ballout (CEO), Saman Darkan (Chief Technology Officer), Bader Ataya (Chief Growth Officer) and Andy Arenas (Chief Property Officer Kitopi offers a "restaurant as a service" type cloud kitchen model, procuring ingredients, cooking and delivering meals for brand owners.
Kitopi currently operates 60+ kitchens in the UAE, KSA, Kuwait and Bahrain.
The company will channel the new funding to fuel its continued expansion within the Middle East and support entry to new markets such as Southeast Asia.
Prior to the pandemic, Kitopi had expanded to London and New York but shut down both operations as lockdowns ensued. Despite this, the company claims to have seen 300 per cent growth in 2020.
Kitopi, the world’s leading managed cloud kitchen platform, announced today the completion of its $415 million, Series C funding round.
The round was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Chimera, DisruptAD, B. Riley, Dogus Group, Next Play Capital and Nordstar.
Kitopi will channel the new funding to fuel its continued expansion within the Middle East and support entry to new markets such as Southeast Asia, which has a highly attractive and fast-growing online food delivery market. Kitopi will also continue to innovate and expand its tech stack, grow its strategic restaurant partnerships and build a best-in-class team across the organization.
This round marks SoftBank Vision Fund 2’s first investment in a UAE-headquartered company.
Kitopi, which stands for Kitchen Utopia, was founded in January 2018 by Mohamad Ballout (CEO), Saman Darkan (Chief Technology Officer), Bader Ataya (Chief Growth Officer) and Andy Arenas (Chief Property Officer), with a mission to satisfy the world’s appetite. Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, Kitopi currently has over 2500 Kitopians (colleagues) in its 4 markets, in addition to Krakow, Poland where its engineering hub is located and its global CX centre in Dubai.
Kitopi operates 60+ cloud kitchens across the UAE, KSA, Kuwait and more recently, Bahrain. It partners with restaurants and F&B brands, enabling them to expand their reach through its kitchens, in as little as 14 days.
Kitopi takes care of the entire operations - from the supply chain, staff training, food preparation, delivery to customer experience. It works with over 200+ F&B partners, including several globally recognised brands such as Papa Johns, Nathan’s Famous and iHOP. The cloud kitchen platform has also diversified its offerings by leveraging its supply chain to include subscription-based meal plans and on-demand groceries delivery.
A large part of its competitive advantage is its proprietary Smart Kitchen Operating System (“SKOS”). SKOS is a suite of applications that optimizes the performance of its cloud kitchen operations in real-time. The solution focuses on delivering a great customer experience across multiple brands in a single kitchen by maximizing operational efficiency. Since its launch, SKOS has enabled Kitopi to scale to 200+ brands in 60+ sites over just 3 years.
In this period, its kitchens have been able to double the order volume while reducing kitchen preparation time by 40%. One application, for instance, uses data science to predict when drivers will arrive and how long a menu item would take to cook, then auto sequence which items are cooked first, to enhance speed.
“These past 3 and a half years have taught us the importance of pursuing our vision with grit, focus, and building a high-performance culture,” Mohamad Ballout, CEO and Cofounder of Kitopi said. “We are humbled to work with world-class partners such as Softbank, Chimera, DisruptAD, and others. What this shows is not only a great commitment to our company but to the industry and the region. Our focus now is to expand our presence within the Middle East and to Southeast Asia while continuing to innovate and pioneer in the cloud kitchen space. We are excited to take what we do to other parts of the world.”
Faisal Rehman, the Managing Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, said, “Constraints placed on the hospitality sector by the global pandemic have rapidly catalyzed the value proposition of cloud kitchens for customers and restaurant brands. We believe Kitopi’s proprietary technology is changing the unit economics of food delivery in providing more choices to more customers, in more places. Moreover, we are delighted to welcome Kitopi as SoftBank’s first UAE-headquartered investment and are excited by the company’s growth prospects in the region and beyond.”
Dany Farha, Beco Capital, “Mohamad has assembled one of the highest quality leadership teams from the get-go and continues to build depth of talent across the organization. Coupling this with being one of the first in the world to innovate in the cloud kitchen space globally, makes for an incredibly exciting venture outcome to be borne out of Dubai - we are privileged to have the opportunity to work with Kitopi.”
Tushar Singhvi, Deputy CEO & Head of Investments, Crescent Enterprises, said: “We are proud to have been part of Kitopi’s spectacular growth journey since inception. At its heart, the company embodies path-breaking innovation, harnessing the power of technology to create significant value for its ecosystem partners. As a long-standing partner, CE-Ventures continues to support the company’s ambitious global expansion plans. Becoming the region’s fastest unicorn is just the beginning!”