Halal Industry

EXCLUSIVE-UK start-up HalalEat acquired by sole investor, plans entry into new markets, sectors

| 03 June, 2018
 Emmy Abdul Alim
EXCLUSIVE-UK start-up HalalEat acquired by sole investor, plans entry into new markets, sectors
Photo: HalalEat co-founders Musa Ahmed and Abul Rob. Photo supplied by HalalEat

UK start-up HalalEat has been acquired for an undisclosed amount by its initial seed stage investor Mian Ali, founder and CEO Abul Rob told Salaam Gateway.

The exit means the start-up, which began operating in 2015, will be able to expand beyond its current London, UK, focus once it completes a two-month internal business review.

“The model that we’ve come up with basically allows us to scale, allows us to grow and we’re not geographically-bound any longer post-Autumn this year,” said Rob.

“The consumer landscape has changed, especially within the halal segment, and we need a lot more money to move forward,” he added.

HalalEat’s next move will involve what Rob calls a “more complete proposition”, including expanding and scaling up of core business of food delivery, its own-brand ready-to-eat meals, and a user-led consumer blog site focused on halal food eateries.

The planned new delivery business is targeted at non-Muslim markets where halal food is still difficult to find, said Rob.

It will be a full, logistics business, Rob added. “We’re not just going to rely on the restaurant partners to do the delivery for us. We will have our own fleet.”

The company will also start initially testing the UK market with its own-brand ready-to-eat meals.

“We’re looking at the potential licensing of our brand in terms of having some ready meal options, under the HalalEat brand. We’ll be piloting this initially in the UK where there’ll be some labels coming out with HalalEat ready-to-eat meals,” said Rob.

“We’re trying to now build and engage with a larger community, build the community more and have a HalalEat proposition where they can actually get it off the shelf.”

As part of increasing consumer engagement and community-building, HalalEat will set up a “user-led” consumer blog site.

“We’ll have curated writers and we’ll have Muslim consumers give their reviews on halal eateries worldwide,” said Rob.

The company’s new business model, said Rob, is shared by its new owner, who at the time of writing had not responded to Salaam Gateway’s request for comment.

“We’ve found a really credible partner that sees the long-term vision. So far, he’s been very supportive of the direction that we want to do down,” said Rob.

The new owner, Pakistani investor Mian Ali, is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor whose portfolio includes outsourcing solutions and other early-stage tech start-ups.

In December, HalalEat turned down 104,314 British pounds ($140,225) it crowdfunded from around 160 investors to go with Ali as a single investor.

Ali is no stranger to the food delivery business. His Pakistan-based outsourcing company used to manage the call centre operations for the UK’s HungryHouse before the online food ordering platform was bought by German company Delivery Hero in 2011.

HalalEat will continue with its current operations led by Rob while it conducts its internal business review for the next two months.

Away from HalalEat, Rob said he will be making some private investments and at the same time identify other promising start-ups, particularly in healthcare.

(Reporting by Emmy Abdul Alim; Editing by Michael Fahy michael.fahy@thomsonreuters.com)

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