Yalla Market, an online grocery store app backed by Russian and UAE investors has launched in Dubai with plans to expand to 100 stores in the Emirates and Qatar by the end of 2022.
Users will be able to place an order through the mobile app or website, as the company will be operating out of dark stores to make delivery faster and more efficient. The first dark store was launched in August 2021, and two more will open in the Business Bay and Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) areas by the end of October.
Yalla Market, which has a product range of 2,100 stock keeping units (SKU), is entering the UAE’s competitive quick or qCommerce market against established players such as Talabat Mart, InstaShop, and Careem and claims to deliver groceries in 15 minutes using the online and app-only dark store model. All deliveries from Yalla Market are free.
Once the users select what they need via its mobile apps, the store assistants gather the ordered items in 2 minutes. Then a high-speed courier picks it up and locates the house within the next 5 to 15 minutes. If the customer lives within 1.5 km of the dark store, the order will be delivered in 15 minutes. The company is expecting to shorten the timings of delivery to those who live far from the dark stores with the help of new distribution centers that are being opened up.
“Our team has been developing IT infrastructure for Dubai restaurants for several years, so we know the market from the inside. We see that the level of development of eGrocery in the UAE is far from Russia, where express delivery services have achieved incredible success. Launching a service of the same high level in this part of the world was an ambitious task for us. We are glad to see a response from local consumers.”
Yalla Market was founded by a team of Russian and Dubai entrepreneurs, including Ms. Yanina Livovskaya, ex-CEO of Russian express grocery service Samokat, the largest dark store among US and European players, Mr. Leonid Dovbenko, CEO of cloud-based POS for restaurants iiko Middle East, and CEO of Wakira Investments Mr. Nader Bassit.
The startup has raised $2.5 million in the pre-seed round by Russian and UAE-based funds such as Wamda Capital, and Dubai Angels Investors. It also plans to launch the production of ready-to-eat foods in which users will be able to order ready-made meals under its private label.