Dubai’s Kitopi Becomes A Unicorn With a $415M Round Led By SoftBank


Dubai-based cloud kitchen startup Kitopi has raised $415 million in a Series C led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, leapfrogging to unicorn status. The valuation of the three-year-old startup is over $1 billion now. It is one of the largest-ever financing rounds raised by a venture-backed company in the Middle East & North Africa. It is also the first investment by SoftBank in a Middle Eastern company. The deal was also joined by some other leading growth investors, including Chimera, DisruptAD, B. Riley, Dogus Group, Next Play Capital, and Nordstar.

Founded in 2018 by Mohamad Ballout, Saman Darkan, Bader Ataya, and Andy Arenas, Kitopi operates a network of over 60 cloud kitchens in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

The startup partners with F&B brands to help them expand its reach through its cloud kitchens. The startup takes care of all the operations from the preparation of food to its delivery while working with the restaurants on a revenue-share basis. According to its website, it works with more than 200 brands including Shake Shack, Papa John’s, Jollibee, Nathan’s Famous, iHOP, and many others.

Also Read: New Unicorns of the Middle East

Since its launch three years ago, Kitopi’s kitchens have been able to double the order volume while reducing the preparation time by 40 per cent. The startup has also expanded into subscription-based meal plans and grocery delivery in the last 12 months. Its overall business has grown 300 per cent in 2020.

The firm received large commitments from the Middle East in its $100bn first Vision Fund, with sovereign wealth funds Mubadala Investment and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund among the biggest investors.

Prior to the latest financing, Kitopi had raised $120m since it was founded in 2018, attracting investors including US-based Lumia Capital, Rise Capital and Knollwood. Other investors in the latest funding round also included Nordstar and DisruptAD.