Saudi Arabia's Barakah raises $1.5 million in seed-funding round

FoodTech start-up will use the investment to expand its presence in the kingdom

Women browse food products in a grocery store in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. After relying on oil to fuel its economy for more than half a century, Saudi Arabia is turning to its other abundant natural resource to take it beyond the oil age -- desert. Photographer: Tasneem Alsultan/Bloomberg
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Saudi Arabia's food technology start-up Barakah has raised $1.5 million in a seed-funding round led by Oryx Fund, a Mena-focused investment fund run by UK-based Hambro Perks.

Other investors included 500 Global, +VC, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Innovation Ventures, and Annex Investments, the company said on Monday.

Hambro Perks Oryx Fund, an early supporter and investor in Barakah, said the company was “one of the fastest-growing FoodTech start-ups” in Saudi Arabia.

“The company tackles the significant challenge of food waste by providing a platform where surplus food is sold to consumers at discounted prices,” said Ivo Detelinov, general partner of the Oryx Fund.

Barakah, which currently operates in Riyadh and Jeddah, will use the investment to expand into other major cities in the kingdom.

It said the investment would also “enhance” the start-up’s offerings in existing markets.

Barakah chief executive Abdulaziz Al Saud said the company's aim was to “to reshape perceptions around surplus food”.

“We've created a platform where excess inventory transforms into a viable business opportunity,” he said.

Founded in 2021, Barakah helps restaurants, bakeries and groceries fight food waste by allowing them to sell their surplus inventory through its app.

“We are excited to join Barakah’s journey and support their mission to tackle inefficiencies in the food service industry,” said Amal Dokhan, general partner of 500 Global.

Saudi Arabia led the Mena region in attracting the highest number of venture capital investment deals for its start-ups in the first quarter of 2023. It also led the region in terms in terms of deal value.

The UAE led in terms of the number of exits, according to data platform Magnitt.

The kingdom was the most funded for start-ups in the three months to March, attracting $359 million out of the total $818 million capital for the Mena region, the report said.

Overall, venture capital funding for start-ups in Saudi Arabia rose by 72 per cent annually to $987 million from 144 deals in 2022, according to Magnitt data.

Hasan Haider, founder and managing partner at +VC, said that Barakah offered “unmatched value” to consumers and businesses.

“Its rapidly increasing client footprint is a testament to the company’s positioning as one of the leading platforms in the food industry,” Mr Haider said.

Updated: September 12, 2023, 8:10 AM