Startup of the Week: Saudi-based TruKKer plans global expansion

Startup of the Week: Saudi-based TruKKer plans global expansion
TruKKer operates in eight countries with a fleet of over 40,000 trucks integrating demand and supply for land freight services based on real-time data analytics. (AFP)
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Updated 17 April 2022

Startup of the Week: Saudi-based TruKKer plans global expansion

Startup of the Week: Saudi-based TruKKer plans global expansion
  • The freight network raises a Series B fund worth $96 million

RIYADH: TruKKer, a Saudi-based startup offering logistics in the land freight sector, plans to strengthen its operation in the region while expanding into new geographies after raising a Series B fund worth $96 million recently. 

“Our immediate goal is to drive growth in current markets as well as expand into Commonwealth of Independent States and Europe countries,” TruKKer Chief Financial Officer Amit Agarwal told Arab News in an exclusive interview.

Founded in 2016, TruKKer currently operates in eight countries with a fleet of over 40,000 trucks integrating demand and supply for land freight services based on real-time data analytics. 




TruKKer currently operates in eight countries with a fleet of over 40,000 trucks integrating demand and supply for land freight services based on real-time data analytics. (Reuters/File)

“We harbor very ambitious plans to become the No. 1 digital land aggregator in the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region,” he said.

Revenue model

TruKKer uses a digital freight aggregation business model to match supply and demand. It receives the truck demand from clients and then uses a predictive analytics matching system to source available trucks from fleet owners and individual truck owners.

“The spread between our buy (cost paid to the vendor) and sell (invoice amount to clients) represents TruKKer’s margin on a unit trip basis,” Agarwal explained.

He added that TruKKer’s innovation revolves around humancentric problem solving with around 400 members currently working in its team.

Agarwal pointed out that the industry is a large dynamic market governed by strong cross-border trade between Gulf Cooperation Council countries as well as Europe and Asia, and a large landmass with a high population and industrial hubs.

“Trucking, despite being one of the largest employing industries, suffers from huge fragmentation: Lack of standardization in business processes, weak technology adoption, and a fractured set of financial processes that have worked in concert for years,” Agarwal added.

TruKKer’s competition includes other companies that offer a digital freight connecting platform like Egypt-based Trella and UAE-based Trukkin.

Saudi market

TruKKer is betting big on its “home turf” Saudi market as the company expects the Kingdom’s “evolving and forward-looking” regulatory environment in terms of its land transportation space and its Transport General Authority to drive growth.

Agarwal said that the Kingdom acts as a “strategic market” for TruKKer and “one of the key pillars” contributing to the company’s growth. 

Our immediate goal is to drive growth in current markets as well as expand into Commonwealth of Independent States and Europe countries.

Amit Agarwal, TruKKer chief financial officer

“In fact, we very much perceive Saudi as TruKKer’s home turf with our principal investors hailing from the Kingdom. Further, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 aims to establish the Kingdom as a leading logistics hub in the region,” he said.

The company has been engaging with the stakeholders in the ministries and key government institutions. “We can proudly say that we have been receiving positive support from these stakeholders,” Agarwal said. “They have been very welcoming and recognizing our efforts and passion in infusing greater efficiency and value creation in the land freight ecosystem.”

He revealed that TruKKer is due to be recognized by the TGA as a trucking aggregator. Aggarwal added: “We anticipate similar support from other regulatory authorities in the Kingdom that would help us grow further as a digital land freight provider and expand into multiple service verticals.

“These are indeed exciting times in the Kingdom and TruKKer is privileged to cater to the logistics needs of a diversified portfolio of clients with its ever-expanding service offerings.”

Fundraising

The freight industry has been on the rise for the past couple of years, ranking as the highest-funded industry in Egypt in 2021.

TruKKer raised $1.4 million in a seed round in December 2017, followed by $23 million in a Series A round in November 2019, before raising the highest round in the Middle East and North Africa amounting to $96 million in a Series B in February 2022.

The digital freight platform has so far raised over $100 million in a mix of equity and debt funding since its launch in 2016.


Riyadh tops global cities with fastest millionaire population growth

Riyadh tops global cities with fastest millionaire population growth
Updated 06 October 2022

Riyadh tops global cities with fastest millionaire population growth

Riyadh tops global cities with fastest millionaire population growth

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh has recorded the fastest millionaire population growth globally in the first half of 2022, as the Kingdom’s economic growth progresses in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030, according to London-based investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners. 

According to the report, the number of millionaires grew by 20 percent in Riyadh in the first half.

In the first half, Riyadh created 1,700 new high-net-worth individuals who have assets worth $1 million, while 850 people are multimillionaires with assets worth $10 million.

In the same period, 47 people became centi-millionaires with assets worth $100 million, while five people turned into billionaires.

According to the World Wealth Report 2022 issued by the Capgemini Research Institute for Financial Services in June, Saudi Arabia has the largest number of millionaires in the Middle East with more than 224,000 millionaires living in the Kingdom.

The report also suggested that Saudi Arabia is ranked 17th globally in the number of millionaires, with the number of high-net-worth individuals rising from 210,000 in 2020 to 224,000 in 2021. Sharjah also topped the list with a 20 percent growth, followed by Zambia's Lusaka and Dubai in the second spot, as both cities registered a growth of 18 percent.

Angola’s Luanda and Abu Dhabi secured the third spot, both cities reporting growth of 16 percent, followed by Nigeria’s Lagos at 15 percent and Austin at 14 percent in the fourth and fifth spots respectively.


Biden says he is surveying options after OPEC+ decision to cut output

Biden says he is surveying options after OPEC+ decision to cut output
Updated 06 October 2022

Biden says he is surveying options after OPEC+ decision to cut output

Biden says he is surveying options after OPEC+ decision to cut output

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK: US President Joe Biden expressed disappointment on Thursday over announced plans by OPEC+ nations to cut oil output and said the US was looking at its alternatives.

OPEC+ agreed to steep oil production cuts on Wednesday, curbing supply in an already tight market and raising the possibility of higher gasoline prices right before the US midterm elections in November, when Biden’s Democrats are defending their control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“We’re looking at what alternatives we may have,” Biden told reporters at the White House when asked about the OPEC decision. “There’s a lot of alternatives. We haven’t made up our minds yet,” he said.

“But it is a disappointment,” he added of the OPEC+ decision, and indicates problems.

Prices

Oil prices held at three-week highs on Thursday after OPEC+ decision. Brent crude futures gained 88 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $94.25 per barrel by 11:19 a.m. EDT (1519 GMT) after settling 1.7 percent up in the previous session. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 79 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $88.55 after closing 1.4 percent up on Wednesday.

Separately on Wednesday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Russia could cut oil output in an attempt to offset the effects of price caps imposed by the West over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. 

A draw in US oil stockpiles last week also supported prices. Crude inventories dropped by 1.4 million barrels to 429.2 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 30, the Energy Information Administration said.


Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale value rises to $3.4bn as food spending increases: SAMA

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale value rises to $3.4bn as food spending increases: SAMA
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale value rises to $3.4bn as food spending increases: SAMA

Saudi Arabia’s point-of-sale value rises to $3.4bn as food spending increases: SAMA

CAIRO: Food and drink sales helped drive a 23 percent rise in point-of-sale transactions in Saudi Arabia in the week ending Oct. 1, the latest weekly data from the Saudi Central Bank revealed.

Sales grew by SR2.4 billion ($640 billion) last week to reach SR12.8 billion in what was the highest percentage rise since the week ending July 30.

POS is an economic term used to describe what is spent by consumers using their ATMs and credit cards in retail stores, shopping malls, and pharmacies, among others. 

This five-week peak fell just below SR13.5 billion worth of POS transactions recorded in the week ending on Sept. 3, showed the SAMA data. 

This spike was mainly driven by increased spending on food and beverage services, with the sector’s total POS transaction rising by SR681.3 million to reach SR2.1 billion in the week ending on Oct. 1, recording 47.9 percent growth over the previous week.

Of the 17 sectors, 16 saw a rise in the value of POS transactions:

  • Other — Up SR382.3 million; up SR1.2 million previous week
  • Miscellaneous goods and services — Up SR342.9 million; down SR4.9 million last week
  • Health — Up SR219.6 million; down SR7.6 million previous week 
  • Transportation — Up SR164.3 million; down SR30.7 million previous week 
  • Gas stations — Up SR102.3 million; down SR26.1 million last week 

The education sector witnessed the biggest percentage change in the week ending on Oct. 1 in both transaction value and number of transactions. 

The sector’s POS transaction value went up by 115.6 percent to reach SR184 million, while the number of POS transactions went up by 51.9 percent to hit 170,000. 

The only sector that recorded less POS transactions – both in number and value – in that week was the hotels. 

This sector’s POS value dropped by SR23.2 million to reach SR215.9 million, while the number of transactions dropped by 42,000 to reach 562,000 transactions. 

With regards to the number of POS transactions, food and beverages also led the way with an increase of 4.4 million transactions in that week to reach 37.2 million transactions. 

  • Restaurants and cafes — Up 3.7 million; down 0.5 million previous week
  • Miscellaneous goods and services — Up 2.9 million; down 0.9 million previous week
  • Other— Up 2.6 million; down 0.4 million previous week
  • Health — Up 1.6 million; down 0.5 million previous week
  • Gas stations — Up 1 million; down 0.4 million previous week

The city of Riyadh, which records the largest share of POS transactions, saw a 11.4 percent increase in the number of transactions in the week ending Oct. 1, compared to a 3.1 percent fall the week prior. 

The city witnessed a 20.2 percent rise in POS transaction value in the week ending Oct. 1, compared to only 0.3 percent the previous week. 

The Kingdom’s capital recorded a total POS value of SR4 billion, up by SR1 billion from the week before. 

As for the number of POS transactions in Riyadh, it rose by 7.7 million from the previous week, reaching 57.6 million in the week ending on Oct. 1. 

Jeddah followed with SR1.9 billion worth of POS transitions which increased by SR253.8 million in the week ending on Oct. 1.

The number of transactions in the city reached 21.9 million, up 1 million from the week before. 


Saudi GAC approves Al Hilal’s acquisition of Etihadat Abyan assets 

Saudi GAC approves Al Hilal’s acquisition of Etihadat Abyan assets 
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi GAC approves Al Hilal’s acquisition of Etihadat Abyan assets 

Saudi GAC approves Al Hilal’s acquisition of Etihadat Abyan assets 

RIYADH: Saudi pharmaceutical firm Al Hilal Trading Co. has received the General Authority for Competition’s approval to acquire the assets of Etihadat Abyan Co..

Under the formal approval by the regulator, the acquired assets by Al Hilal Trading Co. include S Team and Mawj Al Hilal brands and the related four stores.

The deal will not significantly affect the sportswear market in the Kingdom, GAC said in a statement according to Argaam on Oct. 6. 

The intended acquisition will be done by transferring the assets to Al Hilal Trading Co., a subsidiary of Al Hilal Club Investment Co.. 

Last August, the Tadawul-listed online food delivery platform Jahez International Co for Information Systems Technology, partnered with Al Hilal Investment to set up an online marketing and sales firm.


MENA total startup funding drops 54% month-on-month: Wamda 

MENA total startup funding drops 54% month-on-month: Wamda 
Updated 06 October 2022

MENA total startup funding drops 54% month-on-month: Wamda 

MENA total startup funding drops 54% month-on-month: Wamda 

RIYADH: Startups in the Middle East and North Africa region raised $173 million across 51 deals in September, marking a 54 percent decrease compared to the month before. 

Saudi Arabia’s logistics startup TruKKer was responsible for the bulk of that funding as it secured a $100 million pre-initial public offering round, according to Wamda.

The Kingdom raised a total of $114 million in startup funding in just six deals, while the UAE had 12 deals with a total of $27 million. 

Aside from Trukker’s fundraise, fintech companies managed to get the highest amount of funding with $28 million followed by food tech startups with $22 million. 

Foreign investment was high in September as US investors participated in 11 deals while UK investors were the second active with seven deals.