Abu Dhabi marketplace for gig economy workers raises $3.5m

Backing from Abu Dhabi Investment Office and others takes the total amount of seed funding secured by Rizek to $5m

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: N/A: Standalone. A kite surfer performs in the bay in front of the Abu Dhabi skyline at sunset. Monday, April 27th, 2020. Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Rizek, an Abu Dhabi-based start-up, raised $3.5 million (Dh12.85bn) in seed funding that will help the service marketplace firm boost the regional gig economy.

The round of funding by strategic investors including Abu Dhabi Investment Office (Adio), E-tech investments, Rozana Investments and others took Rizek’s financing raised so far to Dh5m, it said in a statement on Saturday.

The company aims to increase job opportunities for gig workers, allowing them to earn service-based income through the portal, it said.

“Rizek is part of a new generation of start-ups thriving within the Abu Dhabi innovation ecosystem,” Adio’s director general, Tariq Bin Hendi, said. “Adio's investment will fuel the next stage of the company’s growth while helping to connect more freelancers and SMEs with potential commercial opportunities.”

Adio, a central government hub to support private sector investment in the emirate, invested in Rizek through its Ventures Fund, a Ghadan 21 initiative created to support innovation-focused start-ups in Abu Dhabi.

In light of the current economic challenges, Rizek said it intends to strengthen and maintain a fair marketplace, where customers get quality services at prices that is fair both to them and the provider.

“Most of the big cities in the region have a service-based economy. However, the way these services are delivered happens to be outdated and costly,” Abdallah Abu-Sheikh, founder and chief executive of Rizek, said.

“We at Rizek believe that the region needs an inclusive platform where customers can view all their options before commissioning the services.”

The start-up also plans to work with freelancers and SME service providers to improve their skills and help them land more opportunities. It also plans to work with government bodies to help their employees upgrade their skills.