Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 28 January 2020

Saudi start-up Nejree to enter UAE and Kuwait after raising $4m

The company has sold over 100,000 trainers online this year with prices ranging from Dh200 to Dh4,500

Ibrahim Al Mogren, founder and chief executive of Nejree, says the company will enter the UAE and Kuwait markets in early 2020. Courtesy Nejree
Ibrahim Al Mogren, founder and chief executive of Nejree, says the company will enter the UAE and Kuwait markets in early 2020. Courtesy Nejree

Nejree, a Riyadh e-commerce platform for trainers, plans to expand its services across the GCC after securing $4 million (Dh14.7m) in pre-Series A funding, the company said in a statement.

The fundraise, led by Riyadh-based AlKhaila Investment and Teejan Technologies, which specialises in e-commerce and software development, will see the start-up initially roll-out its services to the UAE and Kuwait.

“Currently, we are delivering in all parts of Saudi Arabia and our next aim is to expand in the UAE and Kuwait markets … followed by the remaining countries in the Gulf region,” Ibrahim Al Mogren, founder and chief executive of Nejree, told The National.

The company aims to raise an additional $13m in a further financing round next year, Mr Al Mogren said, without specifying an exact timeline, to increase the brand's geographic footprint, product lines and develop new collaborations.

“Our region is home to a huge young population that is technology-savvy. Customers prefer buying online and this is the right time for Nejree to expand,” Mr Al Mogren added.

Thanks to a deep internet penetration in the Middle East and North Africa region, as well as soaring smartphone popularity, the e-commerce market is booming. The regional industry is expected to more than triple to $28.5 billion (Dh104.68bn) by 2022 from $8.3bn in 2017, according to research from Bain & Company and Google.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy after Saudi Arabia, is the most advanced e-commerce market in the region with a penetration rate of 4.2 per cent, followed by the kingdom at 3.8 per cent.

Besides expanding its geographical footprint, Nejree also plans to boost spending on technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.

“We are focused on investing in latest technology tools to enhance online customer experience and pursue the company’s new tech initiatives,” said Mr Al Mogren, adding that the new capital will help the start-up increase inventory, product lines, warehouse capacity and vehicle fleet.

Nerjee, which sells trainers ranging in price from Dh200 to Dh4,500, stocks brands including mainstays Adidas, Nike, Puma, Asics, Reebok and Fila, as well as shoes from fashion houses like Fendi, D&G, Gucci and Balenciaga.

Set-up in 2018, the company has sold more than 100,000 trainers this year and achieved a delivery rate for more than 90 per cent of orders within 24 hours through its own fleet in Riyadh.

“In a short time-frame, Nejree has established itself as a premier online sneakers destination in Saudi Arabia and one of the visionary companies in the e-commerce and retail space,” said Faisal Al Rajhi, chief executive of AlKhaila Investment.

“We like to back strong founders with exceptional technical capabilities, who are building truly differentiated products,” he added.

Updated: December 5, 2019 02:54 PM

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