UAE start-up Rizek raises $10m to fuel expansion

The on-demand home services platform plans to enter Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the coming months

Abdallah Abu-Sheikh, chief executive and co-founder of Abu Dhabi-based Rizek, left, and Ahmed Mazrui, co-founder of the the start-up. Courtesy Rizek    
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Rizek, the UAE-based “super app” for on-demand home services, said on Monday it raised $10 million to scale its operations and fuel the company's expansion across the region.

The initial funding round, or Series A as it is known, was led by the US-based financial investment company Peak Investments and Abu Dhabi's holding company ADQ. It also included a "number of family offices from the UAE and Saudi Arabia", Rizek said, without disclosing their names.

The latest venture capital funding brings Rizek’s total financing to more than $15m.

The investment will be used to “exponentially increase the platform's presence” by integrating new services, improve customer experience and expand into Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the coming months, it added.

“There are many service-based economies in the region, but what we have done differently is to ensure our processes are optimised and consistently up to date,” Abdallah Abu-Sheikh, chief executive and co-founder of Rizek, said.

A super app is an ecosystem of many apps that are either built together or bundled through third-party integrations. They usually work with freelancers and SME service providers to improve their skills and help them land more opportunities.

Abu Dhabi-based Rizek, which was founded in 2019 and went live last year, connects users to service professionals from a wide range of industries. Boosting the regional gig economy, it aims to increase job opportunities for part-time workers, allowing them to earn service-based income through the platform.

“Our mission is to be the one-stop shop for all services across the region, allowing both suppliers and consumers to maximise on their values and benefits,” Mr Abu-Sheikh said.

Rizek is well positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities in the e-commerce industry that is accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the company said.

The e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa region is booming due to the high rates of smartphone usage and internet penetration. E-commerce sales are set to triple to $28.5 billion in 2022, from $8.3bn in 2017, according to research from Bain & Company and Google.

In June, Rizek raised $3.5m in seed funding led by strategic investors including Abu Dhabi Investment Office, E-tech investments and Rozana Investments.

“It is humbling to watch what first started as an idea on paper prosper into the revolutionary service provider it is today,” Ahmed Mazrui, co-founder of Rizek, said.

“This round of funding consolidates the emphasis of our platform as a product with a noteworthy impact on the e-commerce and service sector … [and] we look forward to further expanding upon its influence and success,” Mr Mazrui said.

So far, the company has seen more than 800 per cent growth in revenue and a 700 per cent increase in its customer base, Rizek said without disclosing the figures.

Rizek was also the first local platform to introduce home PCR testing and to administer Covid-19 vaccines at home, the company said. It has helped the government authorities collect more than 100,000 swabs for testing over the past few months.