Grubtech team group photo (Source: Grubtech)
Grubtech, an all in one SaaS platform for cloud kitchens and delivery-centric restaurants – has secured $3.4 million pre–Series A funding. Investors included large regional family offices, a US-based venture capital firm as well as reputable angel investors. Having already deployed its solution across hundreds of brands and processed hundreds of thousands of orders, grubtech will use the funds to further accelerate product development and capitalize on increased demand from MENA, Europe and the Americas.
The F&B sector is rapidly transforming driven by strong demand for online food delivery that has been catalyzed by the pandemic. This has forced restauranteurs to adapt their business models to focus on delivery, mainly through food aggregators such as Talabat, Deliveroo and Hunger Station. In addition, it has accelerated the growth of cloud kitchens around the world. Grubtech has been purpose built to cater to the digital transformation of the F&B sector by building an end-to-end operating system that tackles the friction points arising from operating a high-volume food delivery business and unlocks the ability to serve multiple delivery-only brands from a single location. Grubtech’s fast growing client base include large cloud kitchens and restaurant groups in the MENA region and abroad. The start-up is releasing a self-serve version for smaller chains shortly as it looks to power the next generation of champions in the food delivery space.
“Grubtech has built a pioneering tech stack which is trailblazing advancements in the growing online food delivery and cloud kitchen space. We are incredibly excited about Grubtech’s growth potential globally.” said a syndicate of private investors in the MENA region, led by Ghassan Oueida and Gry Loseth.
Grubtech solves for the fragmented rest-tech landscape by integrating with third parties like food aggregators, logistics providers, points-of-sale solutions and ERPs. Its product streamlines operations with the goal of maximizing kitchen utilization, reducing the order to doorbell journey whilst reducing costs.
“Unlike other players in the market that focus on solving one of many pain points, Grubtech has built an all-in-one platform, reducing friction points across the order lifecycle. Given our extensive experience investing in the F&B sector, we are big believers in the need for Grubtech’s solution and understand the magnitude of the problems it is solving.” said AbdulMohsen Ibrahim AlTouq, CEO of AlTouq Group.
Grubtech’s solution serves different business models including cloud kitchens, multi-brand single location models and delivery-centric restaurants. The solution is also being used by owners of underutilized real estate such as hotels and gas stations that are creating their own cloud kitchens.
“Grubtech has been a key partner of ours in the launch and operation of our first cloud kitchen in the region,” said Joe Frem, Vice President of Cloud Kitchens and Concepts at Talabat (Delivery Hero).
“Deployed within days, it provides our tenants with the tools necessary to efficiently operate multiple brands out of one location, thereby maximizing kitchen capacity and order throughout.”
The platform provides restaurant owners the ability to quickly and efficiently serve multiple brands from one location, creating what is known as micro cloud kitchens, and maximizing revenue from existing supply chains and resources.
“Grubtech has automated otherwise manual and time-consuming progresses for us, from order receipt to delivery. This has enabled us to create micro cloud kitchens within our existing real estate footprint to serve multiple virtual brands we’ve created from one location.” said Rodolph Njeim, CCO of Eathos.
By centralizing capabilities, providing visibility into all critical events across the order lifecycle, and supplementing it with advanced analytics, grubtech has helped its customers reduce click-to-doorbell time by 20% and save approximately 25% of manpower costs.
“Grubtech’s user-friendly and intuitive interface meant that our staff required minimal training,” said Hilmar Venter, the Regional F&B Delivery Manager of the Azadea Group.
“The ability to centrally manage our menus and disable unavailable menu items and modifiers directly from the kitchen display system has helped reduce human errors, order cancellations, and eliminate time wasted making updates across various tablets. We’ve also significantly reduced order acceptance time by receiving all orders on one screen. By operating more efficiently, with cost savings, we are able to better serve our customers and increase repeat orders.”
“Grubtech has built a unique business focused on solving a global problem for the rapidly transforming F&B sector.” said Asif Keshodia, former CFO of Amazon MENA and an angel investor.
“The clients they have signed on thus far and the interest garnered from cloud kitchens and restaurants around the world is a testament to the strength of Grubtech’s technology.” According to CEO Mohamed Al Fayed,
“We are still in the early stages of the digitization of the F&B sector, akin to e-commerce 10 years ago. The operations of high volume, multi-branded and omnichannel sales are complex, and so Grubtech has been built with a deep focus on our customers’ pain points today, and anticipated issues and opportunities of the future.”
“We are fortunate to be working with some of the largest and more innovative players in the sector who have provided us with a great customer feedback loop,” continued Al Fayed, “We are proud to be local and privileged to be global.”
Lami, Kenya-based Insurtech secures $1.8 million to accelerate digital insurance in Africa
Lami team and press release (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)
Lami Technologies, a Kenyan insurance technology (insurtech) company that aims to democratize insurance products and services for low-income Kenyans, announced today it had raised $1.8 million in seed funding.
The round was led by Accion Venture Lab’s seed-stage investment initiative that provides capital and extensive support to innovative fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved.
Founded by Jihan Abass in 2018, Lami is a digital insurance platform that enables partner businesses — including banks, tech companies, and other entities to easily and seamlessly offer digital insurance products to their users via its API. Lami can also be used by partner businesses to manage their own insurance needs. Lami connects partner organizations, such as the e-commerce platform Jumia, with underwriters and allows them to offer a superior customer journey. Through its API, users can get a quotation for motor, medical, or other tailored insurance products in seconds, then customize the benefits and adjust the premium to suit their needs, get their policy documents instantly, and claims are paid in record time.
Lami’s services are enabled by its flexible insurance rating engine and direct integration with several parties and insurance companies. Lami co-designs innovative products with its underwriting partners to enable businesses to offer unique insurance products to their underlying customer base, with flexible options that meet their needs and cash flows, such as monthly medical policies for startup employees.
Jihan Abass, CEO & Founder of Lami (Source: Eva Barasa/Lami Tech/medium)
Jihan Abass, CEO, Lami, said: “This funding will allow us to invest in hiring more people, improving our technology, and growing our presence across Africa as we can continue to address the persistent insurance gap. At Lami, our vision is to help improve the financial resilience of millions by making insurance products more accessible and affordable for underserved populations. By enabling our business partners to offer customized insurance solutions, we are helping them provide more value to their customers while enabling large volumes of users to access insurance, often for the first time.”
Africa’s insurance market currently stands at a 3 percent penetration rate, except for South Africa, and is facing modernization and innovation challenges. Most insurance providers on the continent fail to offer flexible, affordable and tailored insurance coverage to provide a safety net for the African consumer. Low insurance uptake is partly due to the traditional distribution and administration of policies, mainly relying on brick-and-mortar channels where policies are sold and processed manually. This results in a longer processing cycle, poor customer satisfaction, and higher distribution costs.
Lami’s digital insurance platform leverages cloud computing, automation, and third-party service providers such as emergency and valuation, or identity and asset verification databases, to offer a comprehensive ecosystem for the businesses they partner with to develop, distribute and manage highly streamlined and competitive insurance products that are designed to meet their customers’ needs.
Since its inception, the insurtech startup has sold more than 5,000 policies and has partnered with more than 25 active underwriters, including Britam, Pioneer, and Madison Insurance, distributing more than 30 products available including medical, motor, employee benefits, and device insurance. As an innovator in the digital insurance space, Lami aims to continue diversifying its business by looking for new partners and building on its core technology.
Michael Schlein, President and CEO, Accion Venture Lab, said: “Ninety-seven percent of Africans lack access to insurance — a financial safety net that can help them build resilience against economic shocks. Lami helps address this need for consumers across Africa through its innovative approach that leverages technology and partnerships to help any business develop and sell insurance.”
“At Accion Venture Lab, we’re excited by how Lami is using technology to create a pathway for customers to purchase insurance that is specific to their needs. By embedding customized insurance within businesses that customers know and trust, Lami is making insurance accessible for underserved populations in Africa and enabling them to build financial resilience. “said Ashley Lewis, Africa Director, Accion Venture Lab
This investment highlights the strong commitment of all organizations to ensuring that financial services are made accessible and affordable for the underserved.
InnoPower Partners with Business Africa Online to Host Going Global Summit 2021
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – InnoPower LLC (InnoPower) and Business Africa Online (BAO) will host the Going Global Summit during the 2021 Minority Business Week presented by Eleven Fifty Academy and JPMorgan Chase, to be held June 14 – 18, 2021.
Africa is a fascinating continent. The old narrative of Africa disconnected from the global economy is fading. A wave of transformation driven by business and modernization is thrusting the continent from the world’s margins to the worldwide mainstream. There is tremendous promise in the dynamism and ingenuity of Africa’s entrepreneurs. The region’s abundant world-class innovation and talent are increasingly being harnessed to improve lives and generate wealth.
InnoPower is working to develop a stronger pipeline of awareness and access to Africa’s talent and solutions, especially in Nigeria and the West Africa region.
InnoPower’s partnership with BAO aims to develop a more robust pipeline of awareness and access to Africa’s talent and solutions, focused in three areas:
- ENTREPRENEURSHIP: providing African entrepreneurs with access to resources, training, and finance.
- CONNECTIONS: by introducing US-based businesses and service providers to Africa innovators.
- ADVOCACY: increasing the viability of Africa as a region for economic development partnership.
InnoPower is an Indianapolis-based company deliberately designed to highlight the innovations in and for Black communities, create opportunities for capacity building, and provide a platform for creative thought and innovative entrepreneurialism. BAO supports and aligns with the movement. The two organizations have come together to be the change they want to see globally, especially in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the development and growth of Africa.
“It has only been about 60 years since Blacks across the United States and Africa were provided with true independence. The U.S. with the Civil Rights Movement and Africa with the end of rule by British, French, and other European colonizers. Across the globe, Africans are now competing in the global innovation economy while still embracing the uniqueness of our culture, environment, and resources. But there is still a lot of work to be done to close the gaps created by centuries of oppression. We are excited that we can be a part of sparking and nurturing this movement. Our partnership with BAO gives a bigger voice to the work that still must be done,” said Emil Ekiyor, Founder and CEO of InnoPower.
“Our team is thrilled to be working with InnoPower on the Going Global Summit 2021. BAO is at the forefront of powering the entrepreneurial mindset and enabling businesses in Africa. We are inspired and motivated every day by the incredible African innovators within our community and their desire to impact the world positively. By partnering with InnoPower, we are now focused on connecting Africa’s entrepreneurs and businesses with US-based investors and businesses,” added Alaba Ayinuola, Founder & CEO of Business Africa Online (BAO).
InnoPower’s 2021 Minority Business Week presented by Eleven Fifty Academy and JPMorgan Chase will be held Monday, June 14 through Friday, June 18, 2021. The Going Global Summit will be held on Friday, June 18, 2021. Both events will be held virtually, and registration is free. For more information, please visit bit.ly/InnoPowerGoingGlobal2021
Mastercard and Kasha Reinforce Commitment to Empower Women and Support Micro-Entrepreneurs in Africa
Mastercard today expanded its relationship with Kasha Global Incorporated through an investment in the purpose driven ecommerce platform. The companies will continue their shared efforts to ensure women across emerging markets have essential access to health and personal care products along with the information required to support everyday hygiene needs.
Combining online and offline capabilities, Kasha’s platform allows women across rural and urban locations to make confidential personal care orders. By utilizing the full product catalogue available online, or by placing orders using basic mobile handsets, women can search, order and pay for hygiene products that are discretely delivered to them by local micro-entrepreneurs, thus also helping local store owners grow their business.
Mastercard’s investment is the next step on a journey the organizations have been on since Kasha joined Mastercard StartPath in 2019. Since joining the award winning start-up engagement program, Mastercard has worked with Kasha to integrate digital payment acceptance across its ecommerce platform, and most recently the partners joined forces to deliver virus, hygiene and protection products to families across Kenya in efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Kasha’s goal is to ensure women in emerging markets get the products, information and services they need for their health, self-care and well-being” said, Joanna Bichsel, Kasha’s Founder and CEO “I am thrilled that we are continuing our collaboration with Mastercard and that we not only have a committed investor with shared values, but also an innovative partner as we continue to take Kasha’s development and growth to the next level.”
Mastercard’s activities with Kasha directly support the company’s pledge to bring 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025, with a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions to help them grow their business.
“Mastercard works with governments, businesses and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their ambitions and is committed to applying its resources to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.” said, Raghav Prasad, Division President, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard. “Through our activities with Kasha we are leveraging Mastercard’s innovations, expertise and partnerships to help drive the empowerment of women and small businesses. This partnership is a major step in our journey to support the fundamental needs of women and drive growth across African communities.”
Mastercard’s investment will help Kasha expand its current platform offering, reaching more women, communities and small businesses than before and build’s on Mastercard’s efforts to bolster support for micro-entrepreneur and women owned small business in Africa through the Mastercard Track Micro Credit Program, known in Kenya as “Jaza Duka” (fill up your store in Swahili). By leveraging Mastercard and Kasha’s combined capabilities, in collaboration with global consumer goods and banking partners, the partners aim to positively impact historically underserved communities across Africa and beyond.