Dubai-Based Food Tech Startup Lunch:On Raises Seed Funding

"What's for lunch?" This is a question that occupies the minds of most working professionals every afternoon, and a problem that UAE-based food tech startup Lunch:On set out to solve.

learn more about Sindhu Hariharan

By Sindhu Hariharan • Nov 16, 2016

Lunch:On
Lunch:On co-founders Dana Baki and Mohammad Al Zaben.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

"What's for lunch?" This is a question that occupies the minds of most working professionals every afternoon, and a problem that UAE-based food tech startup Lunch:On set out to solve. The startup, connecting Dubai's professionals to lunch menus from major restaurants in the city, has closed a US$500,000 seed funding led by Wamda Capital with Arzan VC, Dubai Angel Investors and others participating in the round. The startup considers itself a "proactive lunch experience in the region," given that it sends a curated daily menu to registered users via text message or email, and a reply from the user is all that's needed to get the food delivered. Founded by corporate professionals Mohammad Al Zaben and Dana Baki, Lunch:On is operational since February 2016,and claims to have seen an average user and order growth of 25-30% month-on-month.

Image source: Lunch:On.

Commenting on how the company proposes to use the investment, Dana Baki, co-founder and COO, Lunch:On says that the funds will be primarily directed towards hiring business development and technology talent. "Our aim is to expand quickly in the UAE, while ensuring we continue to develop the scalable technology that meets our users' needs," she says. According to Baki, the startup started "informal conversations" with investors "several months" before officially getting into raising funds, to share their vision and get investor feedback. "This made conversations and decisions about our seed round a bit more seamless as we had already taken many of them along the growth journey with us." With respect to the criteria Lunch:On used to evaluate investors before sealing the deal, Baki lists two key factors: "First, and most importantly, it was very important to us that the investors understood and shared our vision for the company and could provide strategic guidance and value where needed. Second, we view this as the first of hopefully many rounds to come, so we also considered each investor's ability to either strategically or financially contribute to future rounds, when weighing our options."

Lunch:On's founders believe that the startup's differentiation lies in the "simplicity of their 'message to order' platform," and Baki adds that the startup is, in essence, "a company's virtual canteen." The food tech startup is working to achieve scale with their "prediction and scheduling algorithms" that consider user preferences and ordering patterns in pairing companies and restaurants. Offering an investor perspective, Laith Zraikat, Senior Investment Manager, ArzanVC and a technology advisor to Lunch:On, says in a statement that besides the convenience associated with delivering food to working people, "there's a lot of software innovation and data mining that has gone into building this efficient and frictionless experience."

Related: UAE-Based Online Grocery Startup InstaShop Raises Funds From Souq.Com

Sindhu Hariharan

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Sindhu Hariharan is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.  She is a financial consultant turned business journalist with a FOMO when it comes to everything technology.

Related Topics

Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.

Career

60 Second Business Tips: 3 Ways to Boost Confidence

Business development consultant Terry Rice on silencing self-doubt.

Science & Technology

How to Build an App When You Have No Coding Knowledge or Programming Skills

The world is moving towards a no-code era. In this article, we'll discuss what no-code app builders are, how they work, and why founders and startups should opt for them to build an application.

Leadership

20 Ways to Achieve Street Smart Wisdom for Leaders and Entrepreneurs

Leaders need to be street-smart to stay ahead of the curve, make educated decisions and continue to be successful.

Thought Leaders

This Entrepreneur Made a Splash in the $16 Billion Swimwear Market By Listening to Her Customers

Despite operating in the crowded swimsuit category while surviving a pandemic, Andie has persevered, its success driven by Melanie Travis' grit and determination.