Egypt's street food vendor Zooba Eats raises $4M for US expansion

    Expansion
    Food & Beverages
    Funding

Zooba Eats, an Egyptian street food restaurant chain, recently raised a $4 million Series A from an undisclosed group of investors. Although the deal was announced on January 14, 2018, according to their SEC filings, it was concluded last year and the filing made on December 27, 2018.

Now, with the cash in the bag, the company says that it has set its eyes on expanding to New York.  "[The funding] will be used to open a flagship outlet in Manhattan’s Nolita neighbourhood by next summer and then scale out the Zooba brand in the city, with a long-term aim of spreading across the US like bessara on baladi bread," wrote Zooba in the press release.

"We could not be more thrilled to share the news that we are set to become the first ever restaurant concept 100% homegrown in Egypt to launch in the US (we think)," the company added.

Also read: Kalon Venture Partners leads $1.5M Series A for SA startup Flow

Though, this is not only opening a branch in New York but shifting the company's headquarters too - and highly likely their market focus. This is because Zooba's founder and CEO Chris Khalifa and key senior team members will be relocating to NYC. Instead, former Zooba Marketing Manager Ahmed Fahmy taking over as Egypt Country Manager.

According to Enterprise.press, Zooba is also expanding to other parts of the world with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on top of the radar. Khalifa told the blog that they "recently" signed their first franchise agreement. He also added that "he expects the company’s first location to open in Riyadh before this summer. "

The run caps a busy fall-winter season for the restaurant company, which launched a new menu in October and opened a branch in Sheikh Zayed in November that gives it six locations in the Greater Cairo Area.

According to Eater New York, Zooba offers classics, as well as twists, on Egyptian street food. The menu centres on dishes like ta’ameya, the local variant of falafel made with fava beans instead of chickpeas, resulting in a fluffier texture. Besides a classic flavour, Zooba offers a spicy pepper ta’ameya, an eggplant ta’ameya, and a pickled lemon ta’ameya.

Founded on March 31, 2012, by Chris Khalifa and head chef Moustafa El Refaey, this is the only publicly known funding round raised by the street food vendor since inception.

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