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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Beauty subscription company Glambox acquired by Saudi Arabian consortium

Dubai-based start-up received over $4 million in venture capital funding since 2012 

GlamBox has raised over $4 million in venture capital funding since its founding in 2012. Antonie Robertson / The National
GlamBox has raised over $4 million in venture capital funding since its founding in 2012. Antonie Robertson / The National

GlamBox Middle East, the region's biggest beauty subscription e-commerce company, said on Sunday it had been acquired by a consortium of Saudi Arabian investors.

The company didn't say who the investors were exactly, nor did it disclose the amount that GlamBox was sold for.

"This is a testament of what can be achieved with a strong team and operational execution," said Glambox co-founder Christos Mastoras, who is now co-founder and managing director of Iliad Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage technology start-ups in the Middle East.

"As GlamBox joins the growing list of successful Mena startups that have achieved an exit, this is an additional validation of the opportunity in tech and digital in the region."

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GlamBox was established in 2012 by co-founders and angel investors Shant Oknayan, Fares Akkad, Mr Mastoras and Marc Ghobriel. The company had previously raised over US$4 million in venture capital funding from regional investors that such as STC Ventures, MBC Ventures, R&R Ventures and strategic Saudi Arabian investors.

E-commerce has been on the rise in the region, especially in the UAE which has a young affluent population and one of the highest penetration of smartphones in the world.

The Middle East's e-commerce sector is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, with online sales expected to double to $48.8 billion by 2021, according to BMI Research.

Mergers and acquisitions in the sector, most notably the $580 million purchase of Souq.com by Amazon, have picked up pace over the past year.

There is also a notable push by a number of home-grown brands to go beyond brick and mortar operations that have traditionally defined the retail landscape, with a pivot to develop the online shopping industry and directly challenge the likes of Souq and Noon, a recently-launched competitor to Souq.

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