Sami Al-Helwah is founder and CEO of Nana Direct, an online grocery shopping and home delivery service in Saudi Arabia, since August 2016.
The service ensures that all groceries and products are carefully chosen and packaged to be delivered directly to customers’ houses — an appealing concept to many under the present circumstances.
Al-Helwah received a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2004 from Qassim University.
While still studying, Al-Helwah began his career by joining ExaServe in 2002, where he worked for the next 14 years, overseeing many software and financial system projects. He was later promoted to CEO.
In 2014, Al-Helwah co-founded Sadeem, a cloud hosting service, and worked with the company for two years.
His most recent endeavor, Nana Direct, has raised $18 million for expansion across the Middle East in order to meet the rising demand for delivery services created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Bloomberg, the funds were raised from investors, including venture capital fund STV and Middle East Venture Partners.
Nana Direct has tripled its capacity and plans to expand further with the newly imposed curfew in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Helwah spoke in an interview about the company’s objectives, as well as the opportunity to expand into a still-growing market.
“The penetration of online grocery shopping in the region is very low, and our target is to expand across the region and beyond groceries into other products,” he said. “Ultimately, we want to become the Amazon of the Middle East.”
Al-Helwah’s Twitter handle is @SamiAlhulwah.