Investments

Egypt’s food discovery platform Elmenus has raised $1.5 million in Series A funding

Founded by Amir Allam about six years ago in 2011, Egypt’s food discovery platform Elmenus has just raised $1.5 million in Series A funding from Algebra Ventures, Egypt largest VC fund that plans to invest $50 million in technology and technology-enabled startups.

Allam had started Elmenus out of frustration because there was no platform that would help users discover restaurants in Egypt. He invested $3,000 at that time and has raised almost $60,000 this round of Series A investment.

The startup has mobile apps for both Android & iOS and has more than 1 million monthly users. They plan to use the funding to build new features that will help users make their dining decisions and order food online; using an AI-powered food recommendations engine. The startup uses for that millions of data points to personalize the experience for each user.

“We’ve seen an explosion of new restaurants in Cairo over the past few years, from high-end fine dining to joints offering modern twists on traditional Egyptian dishes,” said Allam. “This created a novel problem for diners:  decisions.  How do you discover the hottest new restaurants?  What do they actually offer?  And what do people really think of them?  That’s the problem that elmenus set out to solve: How to help people make the best dining decision each and every time.”

 

With the goal of delivering comprehensive information about all the restaurants in Egypt, Elmenus has been growing the social aspect of the platform where a highly engaged community share pictures, reviews and recommendations. Eventually all of this leads to people making best dining decisions.

“This wealth of content makes us the leading destination for online food decisions in Egypt,” said Allam.   “I started elmenus to solve a very personal problem. Dining in Egypt had become a research operation, as information about restaurants was scattered around the internet, if it existed at all.  And certainly none of it had the authentic feedback of real people who love food. And till today, despite many big players in the food tech space globally, no one has fully tackled the decisions problem” He added.

“With over 5,000 restaurants and half a million dishes on elmenus, we spent the last years refining our product offering to restaurants,” said Allam.  “In the process, we’ve crafted a hyper targeted set of ad tools that help restaurants of all sizes target their exact customers, supported by deep behavioral data analytics,” he added.  “Looking forward, this investment will allow us to build on more features, like online ordering, that both our users and restaurants have been asking for” Allam continued.

Ziad Mokhtar, managing partner at Algebra Ventures, will be joining elmenus’ board of directors. “We believe elmenus have a unique and compelling solution to a big problem and we are very excited to partner with them in the coming phase of the company’s growth,” he said.  “Considering that prior to our investment, elmenus had seen only $60,000 in funds invested, the traction they’ve achieved — in terms of users, revenues, content — is impressive.  With this investment, elmenus is well-poised to grab a substantial stake in the digital food space which is dominated globally by the likes of Just Eat, Zomato, and Delivery Hero”

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Founder at MENAbytes
A tech and startup enthusiast based in Riyadh. Zubair apart from leading MENAbytes is also building Qraar, a career discovery and development platform for millennials in MENA. He can be reached on Linkedin, Twitter or zubair [at] menabytes [dot] com.

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