iMile eyes expansion in MENA with new funding round
Dubai-based, iMile Delivery Services has recently raised $10 million Pre-Series A funding from an undisclosed Chinese VC who is interested in expanding its interests across the Middle East. iMile is an emerging start-up in the Middle East that offers logistics solutions by building a bridge between China and the Middle East. It has a team of experts from multiple industries ranging from e-commerce, last-mile delivery, cloud technology to warehousing and fulfillment.
Naveen Joseph, Co-Founder and VP - Strategy & New Markets at iMile Delivery Services, said the new funding will help to accelerate growth and expansion of the company’s team and operations across the region. “Right now, iMile’s service market includes Saudi Arabia and UAE. We are planning to use a part of the investment to expand into other markets of the Middle East and North Africa region including countries like Egypt or Morocco. Expansion is currently on hold due to coronavirus concerns but we hope to be back on track later this year.”
iMile’s plans to open a third R&D centre in the region, however, is going ahead. This would be either in the UAE or Saudi Arabia. iMile currently have R&D centres in Shenzhen and Hangzhou in China.
Being in B2B e-commerce, iMile enables the e-commerce players which includes assistance in cross-border and international movement of goods. The company sees its role as a bridge within the supply chain ecosystem, providing an all-in solution for goods moving from China to the Middle East.
According to Joseph, iMile sees a huge untapped potential locally. “Right now, our clients are mostly from cross-border e-commerce in China. From this year, we shift our customer focus to local e-commerce companies, local banks, local retailers who need customer deliveries.”
In Joseph’s opinion, the service on COD and last mile still has a long way to go. iMile’s focus is to cater to the local requirements in UAE and Saudi Arabia. “We pay more attention to service and user experience and try our best to improve the delivery rate of customers, which is the biggest difference between us and others,” he added.
Over the past few years, the penetration rate of e-commerce in the Middle East has increased steadily. The outbreak of coronavirus has also significantly increased the motivation to purchase online. More and more vertical e-commerce segments have emerged and more offline retailers have turned into online, creating more opportunities for growth for iMile.