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GlamBox Middle East Gets Acquired By Investors Consortium From Saudi Arabia The MENA startup ecosystem has a new exit that can help inspire the region's aspiring entrepreneurs to keep persevering toward their goals.

By Sindhu Hariharan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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

GlamBox Middle East
Christos Mastoras, Fares Akkad, and Shant Oknayan, co-founders of GlamBoxME

The MENA startup ecosystem has a new exit that can help inspire the region's aspiring entrepreneurs to keep persevering toward their goals. GlamBox Middle East, a regional beauty subscription e-commerce entity, has announced that a Saudi Arabia-based consortium of investors -whose details remain undisclosed- has acquired the company.

The Dubai-based startup, launched in 2012 by co-founders Shant Oknayan, Fares Akkad, Christos Mastoras and Marc Ghobriel, had previously raised over US$4 million in venture capital funding from regional investor bigwigs including STC Ventures, MBC Ventures, R&R Ventures, and other KSA investors.

"We are proud to have successfully completed a full lifecycle of a startup in the Middle East- ideation, seed funding with our own capital, building a team, market launch in the UAE, VC funding over two rounds, building a great product, scaling the business, international expansion to KSA, and finally exit via acquisition within five years," the co-founders say. "We feel that we succeeded despite tough challenges."

"The buyer is a KSA consortium of investors that was an existing investor in GlamBox," add the co-founders. "Seeing the significant growth in the company, the investors expressed interest in acquiring the company. While we have been approached by numerous potential buyers in the last few years, but the current buyers made sense from many perspectives, particularly the fact that they were already involved in GlamBox."

GlamBox beauty box. Image credit: GlamBox ME.

The co-founders mention that the buyer investors group has diversified interests in media, retail and hospitality, and aims to drive the company's next phase of growth in Saudi Arabia, the GCC, and beyond. Without disclosing the transaction specifics, GlamBox says the current shareholders including the founding team, STC Ventures, MBC Ventures and R&R Ventures have sold their stake to the new owners in a deal process that is said to have "lasted several months," and was advised on by Apostolos Binomakis of Iliad Partners as an independent advisor.

GlamBox's services launched at a time when the beauty industry was large and fast growing in the Middle East, but still had limited online presence. "We saw a gap in subscription e-commerce for women in the region, hence, GlamBox was born to service that need in the market," the co-founders recall. "Since then the e-commerce market has developed significantly, with competitors entering our space but with GlamBox being the player that emerged as the region's leading beauty subscription e-commerce company with 200+ brand partners, a large and growing subscriber base, and operations in the UAE and KSA, there is potential to expand geographically across GCC and into new verticals."

The exit may be sealed, but looks like it's definitely not the end for GlamBox as an enterprise as CEO Matthieu Guinard says in a statement, "We will continue to delight our customers and bringing them the best of the beauty world to their doorstep, while exploring expansion into new markets and verticals". Onwards and upwards!

Related: A Startup That Lets You Discover New Beauty Products: GlamBox

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.

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