Startup of the Week: Botola Meals offers healthy diets

Startup of the Week: Botola Meals offers healthy diets
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Updated 14 June 2021

Startup of the Week: Botola Meals offers healthy diets

Startup of the Week: Botola Meals offers healthy diets

JEDDAH: Obesity is a growing issue in Saudi Arabia. A study by the Sharik Association for Health Research found that the rate of obesity among Saudi adults totaled 35.6 percent in 2020.

Besides health issues, another study by the US-based University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in collaboration with Saudi Health Council and the World Bank, found that obesity increases the risk of death by COVID-19 by 48 percent, and may make vaccines against the disease less effective.

In a bid to help those suffering with their weight, entrepreneurs Mohammad Faden, Nofal Al-Jefri and Mohammad Al-Harthi in November 2019 set up Botola Meals, a healthy meal-prepping service. 

Botola is the Arabic word for heroism. “It may directly symbolize athletes and achievements, but in fact it is a deep philosophy,” Faden told Arab News. “Whatever the individual’s ambition to reach that goal is, it is in itself an achievement and a mark of heroism,” he added. Al-Jefri highlighted the fact that consumers are prone to purchasing meals that are quick to prepare. “We believe that the market needs and lacks this type of project specialized in healthy fast food, and when you specialize in a particular field, it enhances consumer confidence in your product,” Al-Jefri said. “Clean Eating Matters” is the restaurant’s slogan. Al-Harthi said that Botola Meals offers healthy diets that are not about depriving yourself, but about balance. “We also want to educate people about the importance of investing in themselves and their health in an easy and convenient way,” he said. Botola Meals also prepares customized plans to cater to the specific needs of customers, such as monitoring ingredients that cause allergies and eliminating carbohydrates if a customer is following a paleo diet.

“We sit down with the customer and cooperate as much as possible in providing what suits them,” Faden said.

The startup meal service sold about 45,000 meals in 2020 — roughly 120 meals a day.Botola Meals has one branch in Jeddah’s Al-Salama district, and is planning to open a second branch in Riyadh in 2023. The startup’s long-term plan is to expand across the Gulf and beyond.


Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing
Updated 8 min 7 sec ago

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing

Buy-now-pay-later fintech leads 2021 Saudi venture capital financing
  • Tamara is best-funded startup in Saudi Arabia this year
  • B2B marketplace Sary is second in list

RIYADH: Tamara, a financial technology company that allows consumers to spread out payments for their purchases, has received the most venture capital funding of any Saudi startup this year, according to a report by MAGNITT.

The buy now, pay later company raised $110 million in April via a Series A round led by global payment processor Checkout.com, adding to $6 million it raised earlier in the year.

In second place is Sary, a business-to-business e-commerce marketplace targeting grocery stores, which attracted $30.5 million in May. The Series B round was led by Silicon Valley’s Rocketship.vc, Saudi Arabia’s largest VC investor STV and returning investors Raed Ventures, MSA Capital and Derayah VC. Sary has now raised $37 million altogether.

The third best funded Saudi startup this year is Foodics, which specializes in restaurant management systems. The Riyadh-based business received $20 million in Series B funding in February in a round co-led by PIF subsidiary Sanabil Investments and STV.

Endeavor Catalyst, Elm and Derayah Ventures also joined the round, which and takes its total funding to date to $28 million.

Fourth of MAGNITT’s list is Azom, a developer of electronics and computer software, which raised $9.5 million in February. The Series A round from distribution company Assr AlJawal and an undisclosed individual investor brings total funding for the company to $10.7 million.

In fifth place was Lendo, which offers instant invoice financing to SMEs through its Shariah-complaint lending marketplace. It raised $7.2 million in March from investors led by Derayah Ventures and including Seedra Ventures, Shorooq Partners, 500 Startups, and Impact46.

 


Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading
Updated 16 min 41 sec ago

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading

Qatar Airways grounds 13 Airbus A350s as fuselage degrading
  • Aircraft to be removed “from service until such time as the root cause can be established"

DOHA: Qatar Airways says it has grounded 13 Airbus A350s over degradation of the plane’s fuselage.
Qatar Airways made the announcement on Thursday, further escalating a monthslong dispute with the European airplane maker.
It says the aircraft will be removed “from service until such time as the root cause can be established and a satisfactory solution made available to permanently correct the underlying condition.”
Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar Airways, based in the energy-rich Arabian Peninsula nation of the same name, is a major East-West long-haul carrier. It is one of the biggest buyers of the twin-aisle aircraft.


Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030
Updated 05 August 2021

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030

Saudi Arabia digital content market to hit $5.3bn by 2030
  • Investment in digital video in KSA to read SR1.2 billion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s digital content market is expected to grow to between SR16 and SR20 billion ($5.3 billion) by 2030, according to a report by the Trend Corporation in cooperation with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

An initiative to invest in video content creation aims to attract major companies specialized in visual content, and the investment rate in video in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach SR1 billion to SR1.2 billion.

Video generated $175 million in revenue locally, with video streaming $127 million, and the expected market size is $262 million in 2025.

Videos make up 79 percent of global Internet traffic. In the Middle East and Africa, video traffic has grown eight-fold, and the region is estimated to have created 169 billion minutes of video content every month by the end of 2020.

The Digital Media Committee was created in Saudi Arabia, and it’s meant to activate the digital media to contribute to developing the business sector, create partnerships, and to benefit from the media experts.


PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community
Updated 05 August 2021

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community

PIF-backed developer Roshn launches 30,000 home Saudi community
  • 30,000-home development spread across 20 million sq m north of Riyadh
  • 4,500 of the units will be built in phase one

RIYADH: Roshn, the community developer backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has launched its first project in the Kingdom.

Sedra will be a 30,000-home development spread across an area of 20 million square meters north of Riyadh, south of King Khalid Airport, Roshn said in a statement.

More than 4,500 of the units will be built in phase one of construction, providing homes of various sizes and facades. They will be delivered ready to live in and come with kitchens, split unit ACs, water heating systems, and LED light fixtures, among other amenities.

“Our communities will represent a global exemplar in residential living and will play a vital role in further advancing the nation’s flourishing infrastructure and real estate sectors, which are crucial to the Kingdom’s economic diversification and growth goals,” said Roshn Group CEO David Grover.


SABIC second-quarter profit jumps to 10-year high as prices, volume increase

SABIC second-quarter profit jumps to 10-year high as prices, volume increase
Updated 21 min 19 sec ago

SABIC second-quarter profit jumps to 10-year high as prices, volume increase

SABIC second-quarter profit jumps to 10-year high as prices, volume increase
  • Net profit jumped 57 percent to $2.04 billion in Q2
  • Selling prices increased 10 percent, sales volumes rose 3 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) reported a surge in second-quarter profit as it sold more chemicals at higher prices than the previous quarter amid an increase in crude prices.

Net profit jumped 57 percent to a 10-year high of SR7.64 billion ($2.04 billion) in the three months to the end of June as revenue rose 13 percent to SR42.42 billion, SABIC said in a filing to the Tadawul stock exchange.

The Middle East’s largest petrochemicals producer posted a SR12.51 billion first-half profit on sales of SR79.95 billion, compared with a loss of SR3.27 billion on sales of SR54.81 billion in the same period last year.

Selling prices increased by 10 percent in the second quarter compared with the first three months of the year, while sales volumes rose 3 percent. Over the first half, sales prices were 48 percent higher and volumes were 2 percent lower compared with last year.

“SABIC’s financial performance in the second quarter was strong – continuing the margin improvement seen during the first quarter of 2021,” Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan, vice chairman and CEO of SABIC, said in a statement to the Tadawul. “This was driven by higher sales volumes and prices, supported by a rise in oil prices and a healthy supply and demand balance for most of our key products as the global economy continued its path to recovery.”

SABIC achieved $230 million of synergies with Saudi Aramco since June 2020 when Aramco acquired a 70 percent stake in SABIC, driven by combining their purchasing power and sharing warehousing and logistics facilites.

In the second half of 2021, SABIC expects demand will continue to be strong in line with the recovery of the global economy. Margins will moderate, but remain healthy as oil prices and feedstock costs remain elevated while existing supply constraints ease and new supply capacity comes on line, it said in the filing.

SABIC will be targeting markets for its products in the US, China and Africa as they represent promising growth opportunities for its main sectorsm Al-Benyan said in a press conference after the earnings, Arabiya reported. 

The company has no plans to issue bonds ot other debt instruments but financial evaluation of the markets and the company’s position will continue, he said.