Dubai’s iKcon raises $5mn in pre-seed to expand its cloud kitchen services

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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iKcon founders
iKcon CEO Khalid Baareh (L) and COO Kareem Abughazaleh (R)

Dubai-based cloud kitchen startup iKcon has raised $5 million in a pre-Series A round led by Arzan VC, AlTouq Group and Nazer Group among other investors which brings the total amount raised by the firm to $10 million.

Launched in early 2019, iKcon operates 10 cloud kitchens across the UAE, with plans to expand its network of kitchens to 30.

“One of the big issues that restaurants and food entrepreneurs face is the financial and operational burden of expanding. Another major issue is their ability to adopt technology to improve their operational capabilities. iKcon’s business model solves both of those issues through its proprietary technology, operational know-how and a passion for quality food,” said Khalid Baareh, co-Founder and CEO of iKcon

iKcon says that it “acts as a franchisee” on behalf of restaurant brands, catering to both chains with existing brick-and-mortar operations as well as delivery-only virtual restaurants. iKcon’s kitchens also provide space for some CPG brands.

According to Baareh, the funding will enable the company to expand its regional footprint and further strengthen its proprietary technology. “We plan on launching iKcon’s Series A round in Q4 2020. We are laser-focused on developing proprietary technology to accelerate the evolution of data analytics, process automation and AI as a key differentiator in our fast-growing space,” added Khalid.

“Driven by operational excellence and technology, iKcon acts as a franchisee on the behalf of its partner restaurants and brand owners. We enable each to adjust their offering to a new era of food delivery by extending their reach within the same city, within the same country and across borders,” said Kareem Abughazaleh, co-Founder and chief operating officer (COO) at iKcon.

The cloud kitchen market space is expected to touch $1 trillion by 2030. The sector space has seen several new players emerge in the GCC over the past couple of years, tapping into the growth of online food delivery in the region.

iKcon’s fundraise is just the latest, following Kitopi’s $60 million and Zuul’s $9 million round fundraise.

iKcon is preparing for its Saudi Arabian expansion in the fourth quarter of 2020 with an eye on other countries by 2021.