iMENA Holdings, a leading regional group of consumer online businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and Rocket Internet, the world’s largest Internet incubator, have announced the forging of a partnership for the online food ordering service Hellofood.com in the Middle East region. The announcement was made during a press conference held on (September 9, 2013) at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai.
‘Hellofood,’ is a leading online food ordering platform currently operating in 28 countries in Latin America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Hellofood reaches around three billion people worldwide and allows users in each market to order different cuisines and flavours from hundreds of restaurants which deliver the orders quickly to their doorstep: www.saudi.hellofood.com
Globally, Hellofood (also known as FoodPanda in other markets) has raised investments of more than $20m from a group of investors, including Investment AB Kinnevik and Phenomen Ventures. iMENA has joined those leading global investors in one of the largest equity investments in the online industry in the Middle East as a strategic investor and partner in Hellofood ME which has already launched in Saudi Arabia, and will be launching soon through the new partnership across various countries in the Middle East.
Industry experts have commented that the new partnership between iMENA Holdings and Rocket is both timely and strategic, as the last few years have seen a tremendous growth in the online industry in the Middle East and an increased influx of technology investments from global and regional investors.
With the partnership in place, restaurants across the region will have the opportunity to benefit from the growth of the consumer online industry through the global and regional support of two leading investors, developers, and operators of leading online businesses with a wide reach and significant resources to support the growth of their businesses.
For Internet users in the Middle East, Hellofood.com and its accompanying smartphone app, provide local access to a diverse set of restaurants in their immediate area. Consumers also get the confidence that whatever they order will be delivered in just a few clicks, without the hassle, wait-time and potential miscommunication that takes place in phone-ordering. The service, which is already available in KSA, consists of a simple four-step process: visit the homepage and pick out the restaurant of your choice; order your meal; check out and pay for your order online; and sit back, relax and wait for your order to arrive. To further ensure promptness, users will receive an SMS confirming the order and its delivery time.
"We are very excited with the potential opportunities and advantages that this partnership will offer us. Rocket Internet is regarded indisputably as the world’s largest online business incubator and partnering with them consolidates our efforts to position iMENA as the region’s leading online group," said Khaldoon Tabaza, iMENA’s co-founder and Managing Director.
Adey Salamin, iMENA’s co-founder and CEO added “As a result of this new partnership, we will be rolling out Hellofood across various countries in the Middle East to address the demand for a highly efficient and quick food order and delivery service in the region. The announcement of this partnership and the launch of this new service demonstrate a major step in our long-standing commitment to offer online services with high demand and a proven business model in the Middle East region.”
Rocket Internet is the world’s largest Internet incubator, and has been building online businesses since it was established in 2007. To date, the company has created over 100 market-leading companies across 50+ countries. Rocket Internet’s success lies in its strong focus on building proven, transaction-based business models in both online and mobile platforms.
“The Middle East is bursting with online businesses, many of which have the potential to be the next success story of the year. Moreover, our newly formed partnership with iMENA Holdings gives us the strategic opportunity of becoming a major part of the expected growth of online businesses. Our commitment to building winning ventures and iMENA's commitment to capturing the hyper-growth phase of the consumer Internet industry makes this partnership a surefire winning combination,” concluded Eyad AlKassar, founder and Managing Director for Rocket Internet in the Middle East.