Saudi Arabian food technology start-up Siwar has raised 28 million Saudi riyals ($7.5m) in its latest funding round.
The Series A funding round led by Riyadh-based travel services company Seera Group, in which other unnamed strategic investors also took part, will help Siwar to strengthen its consumer insights and distribution network, the company said in a statement on Thursday.
“In alignment with Vision 2030, we are progressing towards addressing evolving market needs … catering to the new generation of food consumers,” said Loaye Al Nahedh, chief executive of Siwar.
“With the successful fund-raise, we will be able to fund our high growth business plan … with Seera Group as a strategic partner, Siwar will have access to resources, research and development and years of experience that we can tap into to catapult our growth plans."
Launched in July last year, Siwar offers a wide menu of food options to a new generation of customers looking for cheaper alternatives to eating out. It offers a variety of food products – including ready-to-eat meals and desserts – and lets customers purchase through different channels such as retail, online and vending machines.
Rising demand for healthier, economical and safer food products is driving the global food technology market, which is projected to reach $342.5 billion by 2027, from $220.3bn in 2019, according to Vancouver-based research firm Emergen Research.
The industry is being fuelled by growth in the e-commerce sector and the growing penetration of the internet and smartphones in developing economies.
“Consumers are embracing online ordering … like never before. It's an evolution brought on by the pandemic but taking hold for the long term,” said Majed Al Nefaie, chief executive of Seera Group.
“Siwar is an innovative, fast-growing, food-tech start-up and we hope it accelerates the group’s ability to capitalise on the new realities in Saudi Arabia's ready meals market,” he added.
Start-ups in Saudi Arabia attracted a record $168m in venture capital funding through 54 transactions in the first half of 2021, data platform Magnitt said. This is about 94 per cent of the money extended to the kingdom’s start-ups in 2020.