Cloud kitchen startup iKcon announced today it has raised a $5 million pre-seed round led by Arzan VC, AlTouq Group and Nazer Group. This brings iKcon’s total funding to $10 million.
The Dubai-based company, founded in 2019 by CEO Khalid Baareh and COO Kareem Abughazaleh (pictured above), operates a network of 10 cloud kitchens across the United Arab Emirates.
The company says it “acts as a franchisee” on behalf of restaurant brands, catering to both chains with existing brick-and-mortar operations as well as delivery-only virtual restaurants. iKcon’s kitchens also provide space for some CPG brands.
Besides expanding its kitchen network, iKcon notes it will also use the new funds to further develop its proprietary technology platform, which it says uses AI and data analytics to improve operations in the kitchen.
That tech will be an important differentiator for cloud kitchen companies across the board to improve as time goes on. For all their promises of low overhead costs and streamlined setups, cloud kitchens are still operationally intensive businesses that rely on lots of humans to cook, package, and deliver the food. With many restaurants around the world in danger of shuttering permanently because of the pandemic, delivery-only brands look more promising every week for some businesses. And as we discussed in our recent Spoon Plus Guide to Ghost Kitchens, the industry as a whole is moving towards more tech and automation to bring down costs, whether they’re time, money, or resources.
For its part, iKcon says says it plans to expand to Saudi Arabia in the fourth quarter of 2020 and to other countries in 2021.