- E-commerce platform Joi Gifts has raised $2.5 million in a Series A round, led by Dubai-based VC Knuru Capital, alongside MENA Moonshots and the entrepreneurship arm of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, Wa’ed.
Launched in 2016 by venture studio Enhance Ventures, Joi is an online gifting platform and app offering more than 20,000 gift items available for same-day delivery.
It currently operates in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.
The funding will be used to fuel short-term growth through awareness campaigns, customer acquisition, product development and further regional expansion.
Joi Gifts, the Middle East’s largest online gifts platform, announced today it has raised $2.5 million in Series A venture capital funding from a group of Saudi and UAE investors to fund its international expansion. The round was led by Knuru Capital, a Dubai-based venture capital firm that specialises in the fintech industry and consumer marketplaces, and they were joined by Dubai-based investor MENA Moonshots and Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco.
Joi Gifts is a product of Enhance Ventures, a leading venture capital studio that builds online marketplaces that fill gaps in markets across the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey. The announcement of the latest funding round comes at a time of rapid expansion for Joi Gifts, which earlier this year entered its eighth country, achieving operating profitability amid a five-fold increase in sales.
Rami Kahale, CEO of Joi Gifts, said the online marketplace would use the funding injection to fuel short-term growth through awareness campaigns, customer acquisition, product development and further regional expansion.
Countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the GCC have the highest average spend on gifts globally, according to Enhance Ventures, which values the Mena region’s gifting industry at roughly $28 billion, growing more than 30 per cent each year.
This rapid growth represents a significant opportunity for Joi Gifts, which is the first online gifts platform to employ innovations such as augmented reality and uses formally dressed “concierges” to deliver gifts, and if the sender wishes, sing an appropriate song for each occasion.
“We are thrilled with this investment, which enables Joi Gifts to further enhance and improve what is already the Mena region’s leading online one-stop shop for gifts,” Mr Kahale said. “We are passionate about providing the best offering for customers in every market we operate in, and this new vote of confidence from our investors gives us the resources to deliver on our quality commitment.”
Victor Sunyer, Partner at Knuru Capital, said: “We have been impressed by the Joi Gifts team’s focus on growth while staying lean. They have managed to build a business with very favourable unit economics and scaled it regionally with just a seed round of funding. This is the hallmark of a strong team, and we are excited to partner with them on this journey.”
Fahad Alidi, the Managing Director of Wa’ed, said: “The gifts industry is extremely well-suited to the Saudi market, and we see significant potential for Joi Gifts in the Kingdom. With the platform’s strong offering and focus on customer experience, we believe the Joi team is well-positioned here.”
Mohammad AlHokail, Partner at Enhance Ventures, said, “With Joi’s first independent round of funding, Enhance has successfully spun off Joi and validated the opportunity for venture building under a studio setup in the region. With its highly capital-efficient structure based on sharing and collaboration, venture studios represent a new asset class that can offer higher returns in shorter time frames.”
Mr Kahale, CEO of Joi Gifts, thanked investors for their endorsement: “We are thrilled to have the team at Knuru lead our Series A investment. Knuru understands online marketplaces, and its experience in helping them scale will be invaluable for Joi’s next stage of growth. We are also very excited about the participation of Wa’ed Ventures and MENA Moonshots, providing a significant strategic advantage in Saudi Arabia and the UAE respectively.”