Dubai Cloud Kitchen Startup Kitopi Raises $415M

restaurant tech

Kitchen as a Service (KaaS) startup Kitopi closed a $415 million Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 to advance its expansion in the Middle East. Participation in the funding also came from Chimera, DisruptAD, B. Riley, Dogus Group, Next Play Capital and Nordstar.

Mohamad Ballout, Kitopi CEO and co-founder, said in a blog post on Thursday (July 1) that the cloud kitchen startup will focus on expanding across the Middle East and Southeast Asia and continue working on solutions to further expand the company.

He added that the company’s backers show a willingness to invest in Kitopi as well as the industry and the region. This is the first time SoftBank Vision Fund 2 has backed a startup headquartered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the post.

This round marks SoftBank Vision Fund 2’s first investment in a UAE-headquartered company. Kitopi — which means kitchen utopia — works with over 200 brands in five countries and operates more than 60 kitchens in the UAE, KSA, Kuwait and Bahrain.

The startup’s smart kitchen operating system (SKOS) is a technology that was developed in-house and aims to ensure speed and efficiency. Last year the company launched Shop Kitopi as a one-stop-shop delivery portal for grocery items and other essential merchandise, according to the company’s website.

Kitopi was founded in January 2018 by Ballout, Chief Technology Officer Saman Darkan, Chief Growth Officer Bader Ataya and Chief Property Officer Andy Arenas. The company teams with more than 200 food and beverage partners, including Papa John’s, Nathan’s Famous and iHOP. The KaaS platform has also leveraged its supply chain to offer subscription-based meal plans and on-demand groceries delivery. 

Earlier this month, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 was looking to invest in Kitopi and indicated it would lead the company’s current fundraising efforts with a $4 million investment.

As the restaurant industry continues recovering post-pandemic, Noodles & Co CEO Dave Boennighausen told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster that the sector has proven its resiliency and expects numbers to rebound by the fourth quarter of this year. He added that the post-pandemic new normal will be different from the pre-pandemic normal.