The e-commerce and delivery sectors in the region just received another boost at a time when most other sectors are afflicted with reduced sales, weakened consumer spending, and overall slowdown.
UAE-based delivery firm Quiqup, which was originally launched in London and eventually moved its HQ to Dubai, announced this week that it has raised over $5.5 million in its most recent funding round which was led by Delivery Hero and supported by other shareholders like Cedar Mundi, JOBI Capital, and Transmed.
This marks another significant investment for German food delivery startup Delivery Hero, which earlier these year announced it would be acquiring Dubai-based grocery delivery startup InstaShop for $360 million. Delivery Hero has the largest global food network (outside of China) with 600,000+ restaurants on their platform.
As for Quiqup, it will use this new capital to further expand their AI-driven logistics infrastructure, which is enabling businesses to offer fast delivery services to their customers.
To support its growth, Iyad Kamal (logistics veteran and ex-COO at Aramex) is joining the company as a strategic advisor.
Quiqup reported the continuous and rapid growth of its operations in the UAE, with the company noting that it is currently working with more than 800 brands. The past quarters have already seen favorable trends, accelerating the company’s development and helping to double the size of its business in 2020.
Launched in 2017, Quiqup was established as a tech scale-up building a decentralized, AI-powered, last-mile logistics infrastructure to offer on-demand and same-day delivery services for retailers and restaurants of all sizes. The company witnessed a significant expansion in the UAE where a young and digital-savvy population is driving the exponential growth of the e-commerce sector – which is poised to triple in size from $8 to $28 billion over the coming three years according to Bain & Company, a yearly growth rate of more than 28%.
Quiqup anticipates that consumers will maintain their new digital purchasing habits regardless of the long-term side effects of the pandemic. This has been confirmed by multiple research firms since the onset of the pandemic, where increased spending online is only set to increase, even after COVID-19.
In fact, recent data by global consulting management firm Kearney Middle East has shown that while devastating for many businesses, COVID-induced changes have only strengthened the GCC – and global – e-commerce proposition. Until the start of this year, Kearney predicted that GCC e-commerce would reach a value of over $21 billion by the end of 2020. Now, these figures have been revised to $24 billion – marking a $2 billion plus contribution from COVID-19 alone.
“Turning challenges into opportunities”
Last-mile delivery has become much more complex with the increasing urbanization of MENA cities. Quiqup is working to provide quicker and more efficient delivery thanks to a network of professional couriers in constant motion, it says.
Bassel El Koussa, Co-founder and CEO of Quiqup said: “The pandemic has enabled us to turn challenges into opportunities. We managed to quickly expand by diversifying our portfolio to include new sectors such as pharmaceutical clients and also add more grocery businesses. These positive developments opened up a whole new universe of clients, which encouraged us to raise further investment.