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Payment app Foodics to launch first Saudi fintech IPO

Foodics provides payment and restaurant management tools Reuters/Ahmed Yosri
Foodics provides payment and restaurant management tools
  • IPO planned for 2024
  • Payment and management tools
  • Operates in four countries

Foodics, the cloud-based restaurant management and payment business, is to be the first Saudi fintech to list on the Saudi stock exchange in an IPO next year.

“We haven’t decided exactly when but we plan to do an initial public offering during the next year,” Foodics’s general manager, Kamal Mirghalani, told Saudi-owned TV channel Asharq News this week.

Foodics was founded in 2014. Based in Saudi Arabia, it operates in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Egypt. 

Mirghalani described the firm as a “unicorn” startup valued at more than $1 billion, which has 25 percent of the cloud solutions market in Saudi Arabia.

He said the company was introducing a wide range of payment systems for customers, including screen scanning, QR codes and tablets.

“One of the problems we have is how the end customer can know about the ways of paying,” Mirghalani said. “It is in the consumers’ interest to have different methods.” 

He praised buy-now, pay-later as a payment platform, and the new regulations issued by the Saudi central bank this month to govern the sector, which he said would encourage the creation of new fintech companies. 

The new rules mean buy-now, pay-later companies must maintain a minimum capital of around $1.3 million and ensure that at least half of the workforce is Saudi nationals. There are seven licensed enterprises in the market.

Crowdfunding apps, offering loans at better terms than banks, have also taken off in Saudi Arabia. 

In August Saudi Arabia set up a $200 million fund to invest in local and global high-tech companies, part of its strategy to transform its economy under Vision 2030.

The central bank says the number of fintech businesses has risen from 51 in 2021, to 89 in 2022, to more than 200 in August 2023. The bank’s 2022 fintech report said total revenue generated by fintechs in 2022 was SR2.8 billion ($746.4 million), up from SR2 billion in 2021. 

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