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July-September 2019

Middle East Interview: Dubai-based Fetchr

Dubai-based delivery app founder Idriss Al Rifai is well on his way to building one of the largest tech companies in the Middle East. Al Rifai launched Fetchr, the region’s first “phone-to-phone” delivery service, with just three developers in 2012. The company has grown rapidly and now serves 500 cities across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan. With an initial funding of $1.2m, Fetchr bills itself as a last-mile delivery supplier. Similar to Uber, the app uses a smartphone’s GPS location as an address and delivers packages to the receiver’s mobile phone location. Fetchr’s fortunes have been fuelled by the rise of e-commerce in the Middle East. The online retail sector, expected to be worth $49bn by 2021, is the fastest-growing sector in the region, according to digital marketing specialist eMarketer. Al Rifai says about 98% of his firm’s orders come from the region’s online retail websites. He says his team built Fetchr’s technology from scratch. “There were so many peculiarities in our trading hours and ...

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