Riyadh tech start-up Foodics launches $100m fund to support SMEs

It will extend loans between $5,000 and $133,000, depending on the requirements of the businesses

Founded in 2014, Foodics has five offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. Courtesy Foodics
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Foodics, a Riyadh-based technology start-up servicing the retail and food and beverage industries, rolled out a $100 million micro loan fund on Tuesday to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

A new lending arm, Foodics Capital, will support the kingdom’s F&B merchants in the post-Covid-19 era through Sharia-compliant micro loans, it said in a statement.

It will extend loans of between $5,000 and $133,000, depending on the requirements of its customers.

“With cash flow being a critical pain point for small business owners right now, we wanted to be able to offer them a one-stop shop that also covers their finance needs and enables them to accelerate their growth rate,” Ahmad Al-Zaini, co-founder and chief executive of the company, said.

“A finance offering was always part of our vision … Foodics is very proud to now allow merchants to finance their working capital by giving them access to loans,” he added.

Foodics Capital has joined forces with Saudi Arabia-based Maalem Finance, a provider of Sharia-compliant consumer and SME financing.

The first phase of the fund, which has been approved by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, will be offered to existing Foodics customers, who are pre-qualified for loans, the statement said. It will be rolled out across the kingdom by the end of this year.

The fund will allow for "faster and more flexible lending than most of the facilities in the region”, according to Abdullah Tahboub, chief financial officer of Foodics.

Interested SMEs can apply online. The initial approval will come within 24 hours, while final consent will be granted within seven days, Mr Tahboub said.

Founded in 2014, Foodics offers a restaurant management platform that helps owners to run their business more efficiently. It has serviced more than 5,000 customers and processed over one billion orders through its platform, through which about $200m of transactions measured by gross merchandise value are generated each month.

The company has offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, and is currently in the process of closing a series B funding round.

It raised $4m in pre-Series B funding from Riyad Taqnia Fund, Tech Invest Com, Naseel Holding and Kuwait-based Faith Capital last year. It also raised $4m in an earlier Series A funding round in 2017.

Foodics is currently available in English, Arabic and French and the company is planning to release a Spanish version of its software in the coming months.