Floward, a Kuwait-based online flower and gift delivery company announced Sunday that it had raised $27.5 million in Series B funding.
The funding round was led by venture capital firms STV and Impact46. Floward, founded in 2017, offers same-day delivery for fresh-cut flowers and gifts to all countries in the GCC. The firm also announced an expansion to the UK late last year, offering its delivery service in London.
“Since our launch four years ago, we have been on a clear and rapid growth path that was further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as e-commerce penetration saw a huge surge during the past year,” Founder and CEO Abdulaziz Al Loughani said in a statement.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to governments in the Middle East and around the world mandating lockdowns in a bid to combat the spread of the virus. With lockdown rules in place, customers turned online for entertainment, education and retail activities – a dynamic which encouraged growth for Floward, Al Loughani explained.
“These circumstances presented to us clear opportunities and accelerated our growth plans in the MENA region and beyond, specifically into London, UK – our first expansion outside the region,” he said.
Floward now operates in 20 cities over seven countries and employs over 450 people. Al Loughani noted that in 2020 the company grew by greater than a factor of 10, with revenue for the first 100 days of 2021 now exceeding full-year 2020.
“We have a clear expansion strategy that follows our own set playbook allowing us to swiftly and seamlessly expand to new markets with the aim to become a major global player in the flowers and gifts industry, with a clear path to positive unit economics and profitability,” Al Loughani said.
The founder went to explain that the new funding round is aimed at helping Floward develop itself into a “global player in the flowers and gift industry.”
“They [Floward] have shown impressive understanding of consumer trends, coupled with perfect execution of the customer experience and supply chain. We’re happy to partner with them as they expand their footprint to new markets and new products,” Ahmad Al Naimi, partner at STV said in the statement.
STV is the Middle East’s largest venture capital fund and is anchored by Saudi Telecom Company – the Kingdom’s largest telecom services provider. Impact46 is likewise a Saudi venture capital fund. Earlier this year the firm led a $6 million seed investment round into Saudi startup Tamara, a by now pay later company.
The Kingdom has been dramatically growing its startup sector in recent years. While the pandemic slowed the ecosystem in 2020, funding has continued, with several large deals taking place.