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Monday, June 5, 2023

Ex-UAE resident’s FreshToHome portal nets Amazon $104M funding round, gears up for Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: FreshToHome, a direct-to-consumer fish and meat portal founded by a former UAE resident, has raised $104 million in its latest funding round, led by Amazon. Existing investors such as Investment Corporation of Dubai, ADQ and Bahrain’s Investcorp increased their early stakes.

Dubai billionaire Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair was also an investor in the previous round.

The portal, which operates by sourcing fresh catch directly from Indian fishermen, currently operates in the UAE, including two brick-and-mortar stores in Dubai’s Marina Market. FreshToHome has raised more than $240 million from its $104 million round and believes now is the perfect time to break into Saudi Arabia and other markets.

“Our business model will be direct-to-consumer, and at the moment we see no need to supply fresh supplies to third parties such as supermarkets,” said co-founder and CEO Shan Kadavil. (Kadavil, an alumnus of Indian High School in Sharjah, had a long stint in Silicon Valley, including investing in games, before launching FreshToHome in 2015.)

“As we expand to more than 100 cities in India and the UAE, our business concept has earned repeat customers. In terms of physical retail, we have opened our own stores, which should serve us for the time being.

fresh home

Image Credit: Supplied

“Operationally, we are already profitable as we develop a plan to leverage the new capital. Saudi Arabia is clearly our next big country.”

Kadavil declined to reveal FreshToHome’s current valuation, but the medium-term goal is to go public within three years. This is where investors like Amazon can fast-track the process.

Amazon’s entry point is through its Smbhav venture fund. A spokesperson for the fund said: “Our vision for the $250 million Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund is to empower the next generation of innovative, technology-enabled companies. Some high-quality work has been done in creating a robust technology-enabled supply chain and scalable backward integration capabilities to serve customers as well as farmers and fishers. We are excited to partner with FreshToHome as they drive their next phase of growth.”

In 2021, FreshToHome raised $121 million in Series C funding led by Dubai-based ICD, Investcorp, IronPillar, Ascent Capital, and DFC, the U.S. government’s development finance arm.

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