Jahez’s Billion-Dollar IPO Boosts Venture Capital Investment in Saudi Firms

Jahez, IPO, food delivery, Saudi Arabia

In a much-anticipated move, Saudi food delivery firm Jahez became the first Saudi tech startup to list on a public exchange, bringing its market capitalization to $2.4 billion, Magnitt reported on Wednesday (Jan. 5).  

Related news: Saudi Food Delivery Platform Jahez to Go Public  

With the listing of its shares and commencement of trading on the Saudi Exchange’s Parallel Market (Nomu), the firm also became the second-ever tech startup in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to list on a local public exchange, after Egypt-based ePayment platform Fawry listed on the Egyptian Exchange back in 2019.  

Since launching in 2016, Jahez has grown to become one of the pioneers of the digital shift to online food delivery in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), buoyed by the rise in mobile phone adoption and growing demand for food delivery in the country.  

Read more: Digital Ordering Boom Gives Restaurants a Bigger Slice of Thanksgiving Spending  

Recent research from PYMNTS’ How We Eat Playbook determined that consumers are 31% more likely to purchase meals to eat at home as compared to dining out at restaurants, while 43% are more likely to order restaurant delivery now as opposed to before the start of the pandemic.   

For Jahez, which is the biggest locally-owned food delivery group in the KSA, that surge in demand has meant significant growth.  

Today, the startup boasts 1.3 million active users. In the first nine months of 2021, the company recorded 36 million orders delivered. And as of Q1 2021, Jahez had a network of over 12,000 merchant branches and more than 34,000 delivery partners in 47 cities across the country.  

Read more: Venture Capital Investment in Saudi Firms on the Rise 

2021 was a record year for the MENA venture capital (VC) ecosystem, with total fundraising crossing the $2 billion mark for the first time.  

The region also saw two public listings on a global stock exchange (NASDAQ) via special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) mergers — the United Arab Emirates-based music streaming platform Anghami and Egyptian ride-sharing company Swvl in March and July 2021, respectively. 

In KSA, VC investments in the country’s startups more than quadrupled in Q3 2021, and were more than double what was invested in the entire 2020 financial year, according to the Q3 KSA Venture Investment Report by data platform Magnitt, compiled in collaboration with the Saudi Venture Capital Company.

Overall, KSA-based startups attracted some $205 million in 34 funding deals during the period, most of which were concentrated in the Kingdom’s FinTech sector. 

Read more: Saudi BNPL Firm Tamara Raises $110 Million Led By Checkout.com 

Last April, for example, buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Tamara secured a $110 million injection from U.K.-based FinTech unicorn Checkout.com, in what was considered the largest Series A round in the MENA region at the time. 

The firm is currently Saudi Arabia’s fastest-growing BNPL provider, recording a 180% month-on-month increase in its user base in the six-month period from November 2020 and April 2021. 

Read Tamara CEO interview: BNPL Was ‘Highly Needed’ Across MENA, Where Banks Now Play Catch-Up With FinTechs 

In November, Tamara’s co-founder and CEO, Abdulmajeed Alsukhan, told PYMNTS in an interview that the decades-long monopoly central banks in the region had over the financial system had ended, with those banks now playing catch-up to FinTech firms like Tamara that are coming onto the scene and plugging the credit card hole in the market. 

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