Saudi’s Nana raises $18 million Series B for its online grocery marketplace

Riyadh-based online grocery platform Nana has raised $18 million in a Series B co-led by Saudi Technology Ventures (STV) & Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), it announced in a statement today. The funding round also included participation from current investors Watar Partners, Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), and Wamda, as well as existing angel investors.

Founded in 2016 by Sami Alhulwah and others, Nana enables users to order groceries from different supermarkets or shops and have them delivered to their doorstep. It’s network seamlessly connects grocery customers, in-store pickers, supermarkets, and last-mile delivery fleet, to deliver the groceries.

In its own words, Nana, with its intuitive mobile app helps customers browse through the aisles of their favorite stores from the comfort of their own homes and order groceries and commodities to have them delivered right to their doorstep whenever it is most convenient.

The startup that claims to be the leading grocery marketplace of Saudi counts the giants like Panda and Carrefour among its partners. It is present in fourteen Saudi cities and has raised over $26 million in funding to date with a $6 million Series A just last year.

It said that it is now preparing for its entry into neighboring GCC countries as a first move outside of Saudi Arabia and increasing its partnerships with chains and retailers. The startup plans to use the majority of the new funds towards bolstering its growth. It will invest in expanding its operations and geographical footprint within Saudi Arabia and the wider GCC.

The Saudi startup said that by tapping into the second-largest household expenditure [in Saudi], Nana is targeting the highly underserved and under-penetrated online grocery market, “Needless to say, the opportunity for Nana to digitize the market is substantial, considering that the grocery market in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt alone amounts to $83 billion.” the statement noted.

Sami Alhelwah, Co-Founder and CEO of Nana, commenting on the investment, said, “This round will fuel our growth efforts and enable our expansion into new cities and countries. By replicating what we have accomplished across multiple cities in Saudi Arabia elsewhere, we are advancing our mission to make people’s lives easier through Nana. The round will also allow us to further improve our customer experience and develop tech solutions to support the growth and development of Nana’s success partners.”

Ahmad Alshammari, Principal at lead investor STV, said, “Online grocery market in Saudi Arabia has the potential to grow 18 times to reach global penetration rates. The opportunity to transform the second-highest consumer spending bucket is large and significant. We’re very excited to back the vision of Sami and the team at Nana. In a very short time, Nana has emerged as the market leader in Saudi Arabia and is best-positioned to capture the greater MENA market.”

Ankit Sarwahi from MEVP, said, “Nana keeps ticking all the boxes of a rapidly growing tech startup. We stay committed to and aligned with Nana’s mission of moving a substantial chunk of grocery from offline to an online environment and we are excited to see the company walk into its next phase of expansion on the back of this fundraise.”

Nana’s Chief Growth Officer Kareem Ebeid had told MENAbytes earlier this week that the startup is witnessing a multiple-fold increase in demand as people observe social distancing and stay indoors due to Covid-19 outbreak.

“In an effort to limit the need to go out and minimize people’s exposure to the Covid-19 contagion, Nana has tripled its capacity in just 10 days and is continuously increasing further to ensure that all of the demand is adequately met,” said the startup in a statement.

The Riyadh-based startup also believes that this sudden shift in behavior will likely contribute to its growth in the long-term as more people get exposed to Nana’s services, consumer trust thickens, and behavior shifts towards digital.

Update – Mar 25, 2020 – 1:55 PM GMT – A previous version of the story citing a statement from Nana noted that the round was led by STV alone. We’ve learned that it was co-led by STV and MEVP and have updated the story to reflect this. 

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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