Ghost kitchen provider iKcon announced over the weekend that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Group, AlTouq Group, Derayah Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners, AbdulMohsin Al Houkair Holding Group, and Nazer Group. and brings iKcon’s total funding to date to $32 million.
Dubai-based iKcon, which was founded in 2019, says it will use the new funds to expand the company’s ghost-kitchen-as-a-service model to new markets, starting with Saudi Arabia. Currently, iKcon operates 15 cloud kitchens across the United Arab Emirates; it plans to grow that number to 50.
The iKcon model differs a little bit from many ghost kitchen operations in that it handles everything for restaurants, from staffing to cooking to actually delivering the food. In the company’s own words, it “acts as a franchisee” on behalf of the restaurant, and provides services for both brick-and-mortar brands as well as virtual ones. (Kitopi is another notable example of a ghost kitchen network using this model.)
Its proprietary tech stack is another important selling point of iKcon’s business. Part of the company’s funding will go towards further building out the technology side of the ghost kitchen, focusing specifically on those tools that can automate more processes and in doing so ensure better quality and consistency of the food as well as faster speed of order times.
Those elements are important for a ghost kitchen that’s acting as a franchisee for the restaurant. Under this model, restaurants part with a lot of control over their food and brand, since they’re not the ones actually cooking and fulfilling the orders. Being able to assure those restaurants that a high-quality, consistently good product will arrive to customers on time will be an important point for iKcon to get right as it expands into new markets.