Sharjah-backed Yalla Pickup receives $272k in funding

Sharjah-backed Yalla Pickup receives $272k in funding
lie El Tom, founder and CEO of Yalla Pickup, on stage.
Published: 18 July 2017 - 2:46 a.m.
By: John Bambridge

Yalla Pickup, a mobile- and web-based application for ordering pickup trucks to move consignments, has received a fresh lease of $272,000 (AED1m) in funding from its strategic partner The Box, a provider of self-storage and goods transportation services in the UAE.

The fledgling startup arrived on the scene when the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre, or Sheraa – a business launch pad for aspiring entrepreneurs in the UAE – picked Yalla Pickup as one of the 10 startups that would benefit from its inaugural accelerator.

In much the same manner as car sharing services Careem and Uber, but catering to the need for small businesses and individuals to transport heavy goods, Yalla Pickup allows a user to book the nearest available pickup truck to their office or home.

Since its launch in 2016, Yalla Pickup has registered more than 50 businesses and 300 individual customers, and the growth trend is on the rise – with the app-based business having grown by 200% month-on-month since January 2017.

The fresh funding comes in the wake of this significant traction garnered in a short span with customers keen to avoid the problems of searching on their own for a safe and reliable vehicle and driver to transport a large or valuable consignments.

Najla Al-Midfa, GM at Sheraa, said: “We are proud to see Yalla Pickup’s rapid rise and are confident that this startup will emerge as one of the leading innovators in UAE’s shared economy space.

“Sheraa’s accelerator brought to the fore some of the brightest ideas from business owners who displayed incredible promise, and Yalla Pickup’s latest funding is a mark of investor confidence.”

Like with car sharing apps, Yalla Pickup users can also choose from the different types and sizes of trucks, enter details of the pickup and drop off location using Google Maps, and ascertain the total estimated fare and order the nearest registered vehicle to complete the task.

Orders can be placed as both pre-scheduled and on-the-go requests, allowing customers to book with as little as 30-minutes processing time, and the app can also track transactions, check account history, generate invoices and deliver progress reports.

Elie El Tom, founder and CEO of Yalla Pickup, said: “When it took me an entire day to move a crate from one place to another, the shortage of a reliable and safe lorry service really dawned on me.

“Yalla Pickup fill a gap by connecting service providers with the people who need them. With Dubai becoming a ‘smart city’, businesses need to come around to efficient technology and connectivity.”

Elie also credited Sheraa, saying: “Being chosen as one of the graduates of Sheraa’s first accelerator programme was critical for Yalla Pickup’s trajectory. Meeting like-minded people, and being mentored and constantly motivated by people who believe in you and your idea breathes life into a business.

“To top this all, I presented my startup to HH Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, on the accelerator showcase day. It is not often that an entrepreneur gets these opportunities, but Sheraa has been an avenue that has opened many doors.”

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