Amazon invests in online grocery in the UAE 


E-commerce giant Amazon has invested in a grocery platform to increase its foothold in the UAE.

FreshToHome sells meat and fish online, offering delivery in the UAE and India.

Amazon’s startup investment arm, the Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund, led the company’s $104 million Series D round.

Shan Kadavil, CEO and co-founder of FreshToHome, said: “We are excited to have Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund lead our Series D funding round. FreshToHome has pioneered the revolution of making 100% preservative and antibiotic-residue free fresh fish, seafood, meat and meat products accessible and affordable to all and that is our biggest USP. We are now a ‘Proficorn’ with operational profitability across the company. As we strive to offer more value to our farmers and fishers, customers, employees and investors, our focus is on profitability and sustainable value creation.”

Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund, through its official spokesperson, said: “Our vision with the $250M Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund is to empower the next generation of innovative, technology enabled companies led by visionary founders. We are impressed with the FreshToHome management team led by Shan Kadavil and they have done some quality work in creating a robust technology enabled supply chain and scalable backward integrated capabilities to serve both customers as well as farmers and fishers. We are excited to partner with FreshToHome for the next phase of its growth.”

The move comes amid Amazon’s ongoing effort to grow its share of fresh food, having made major strides in centre-aisle grocery categories, with consumers trusting e-commerce for shelf-stable packaged goods more than perishables, Pymnts said.

Pymnts also said that it discussed the company’s fourth quarter 2022 financial results in a call, where Amazon expressed the belief that fresh food must be largely the purview of brick-and-mortar retailers — a sentiment that this latest investment marks a departure from.

“[We don’t] have a big market segment share in perishables, and if you really want to have significant market segment share in perishables, you typically need physical stores,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told Pymnts.

Despite this, the company is financially supporting FreshToHome. Techcrunch reported that this is the largest cheque that the Smbhav Venture Fund has written so far. The new round takes FreshToHome’s all-time raise to more than $250 million.

Started in 2015, FreshToHome is one of the largest players battling for a slice of the $100 billion Indian fish and meat market.

FreshToHome now serves more than 4,000 fishermen and farmers, as well as millions of customers, in more than 160 cities across India and the UAE, and offers more than 2,000 certified fresh and chemical-free products. In the past year, the startup’s growth has more than doubled.