eyewa, the largest eyewear e-commerce in the Middle East, is set to further expand its operations with a $7.5 million (approximately AED20 million) investment. With a vision to simplify the eyewear shopping experience by providing an easy, affordable and trustworthy platform for contact lenses, sunglasses and prescription glasses, the company has grown substantially since its launch in August 2017. Founded by Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri, the company has grown from a team of two to twenty-five members and is set to expand even further within the coming few months.
The Series A round, which brings the total funding to date to $8.6 million (approximately AED31.6 million), was led by Wamda Capital with participation from GS shop, Equitrust (the investment arm of Choueiri Group), French Partners, 500 startups, Usus Al Khawarizmi and Faith Capital. Many of which were already investors in the seed round of eyewa, which took place in January 2018, and are reinforcing their participation in the startup.
eyewa is celebrating a significant milestone with this investment, built on a staggering month on month growth within a short time in a highly competitive industry. “Eyewear is a $6bn market in the MENA region, and it is not being serviced properly online. The penetration rate is less than 3-4% in this category, there is a lot of growth ahead of us, ” says Anass Boumediene.
Now, more than ever, eyewa is competing on a worldwide scale with longstanding retail giants. This investment not only offers an injection of cash into the company, but more importantly, brings with it extensive know how, learnings, benchmarks and best practices. Having access to these resources will allow eyewa to further boost its operations and growth across the region. “Looking at global benchmarks of eyewear e-commerce, it is a winner takes it all vertical. Our series A will help us solidify our market leadership in eyewear in KSA and UAE, but also expand into other MENA markets,” explains Mehdi Oudghiri.
The future of eyewa
There is no doubt that the future of eyewa looks bright. Their next steps include expanding the team and the infrastructure to make more of an impact regionally. “With the additional funding, we will be able to further invest in our local infrastructure and build a bigger Saudi-based team, so that we are closer to our customers to serve them even better,” adds Abdullah Al Rugaib, MD Saudi Arabia.
With all of this in mind, it is an exciting time for the eyewa team. From conceptualising and developing the idea at In5, a local platform that supports entrepreneurs and startups, to its current scale, eyewa is another story reminding a global audience that the UAE is fostering some incredible new businesses with eyewa being the next big e-commerce to watch.
About the Co-Founders
Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri, Co-Founders & Co-CEOs at eyewa
Before starting eyewa in 2017, Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri worked together at foodpanda, a global food delivery startup as the MENA Co-Managing Directors where they led the business operations and growth across the Middle East, building market leading brands such as HungerStation in Saudi Arabia and Otlob in Egypt. When foodpanda got acquired by Delivery Hero in December 2016, Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri noticed another opportunity, this time in the eyewear market. With an in-depth understanding of the e-commerce and startup scene in the Middle East they decided to launch eyewa.
Anass holds a Master’s degree in Management from ESCP Europe, a Bachelor of Finance from Concordia University and the CFA and FRM charter. Boumediene also has over eight years of startup, consulting and finance experience in Europe and MENA.
Mehdi holds an MBA from Stanford University, a Bachelor in Business from ESSEC Business School in Paris and a Bachelor in Management from Tongji University in Shanghai. Oudghiri has over nine years of startup, strategy and managerial experience across MENA and Asia
About Abdullah AlRugaib, Managing Director at eyewa Saudi Arabia
Following the successful start of eyewa in 2017, Abdullah launched the brand's operations in Saudi Arabia early in the second quarter of 2018. Prior to joining eyewa he was a consultant at the global strategy consulting firm Bain & Company where he worked with regional and international companies on go-to-market strategy and business development across major GCC countries. Holding an MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of California - Berkeley, Abdullah brings strong on-the-ground expertise in procurement, marketing and distribution in the Middle East.
Interview opportunities with the Co-Founders:
Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri are available for one-on-one interviews, comments, profiling features, speaking opportunities and are well versed in key topics including:
- Fundraising in MENA
- Startup acquisitions and post-merger integrations
- Raising funds from Asia for Middle East startups
- How to compete as a local e-commerce against international e-commerce players
- E-commerce unit economics and getting to profitability
- Legal structures for startups in MENA
- Accelerators and incubators, success and failure factors
- Finding and keeping top talent, building a strong leadership team
- From MVP to scale-up, most important factors at each stage in the life of a startup
- Focused e-commerce versus e-commerce marketplace
- Winning in e-commerce in a niche vertical
© Press Release 2019