How Quick Commerce Works in the Middle East

What is it like to find a food delivery startup in Lebanon and Iraq with obstacles like a lack of road infrastructure and hyperinflation? How do you attract investors? Tamim Khalfa did this. He explains the differences to other markets and what’s next for his super app "Toters" in an interview.
13 July, 2022 by
How Quick Commerce Works in the Middle East
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute

"We started with Lebanon because it is the leading food and beverage centre in the Middle East," says Tamim Khalfa, co-founder of Toters, in an interview with the news platform "Rest of World". The Beirut-based startup delivers groceries, food, and convenience products for more than 2000 partner stores, including restaurants, pharmacies, and a series of its own dark grocery stores branded as "Toters Fresh'' in Lebanon and Iraq. With more than $15 million in financing from the World Bank, Toters aims to grow its business and expand into more cities in Iraq. In two previous financing rounds, the company had already raised more than five million USD.

According to Khalfa, one unique challenge to operating in Lebanon is that restaurant prices are becoming dollarised due to strong inflation. "They want to quote their prices in U.S. dollars but receive payment using the local currency." If pricing were not handled well, hyperinflation and currency losses would affect capital. Toters, therefore, uses a mechanism that automatically adjusts prices and another algorithm to reduce currency losses.

Read about the other difficulties Khalfa faces in these particular markets and how he addresses them here.

Tamim Khalfa will be speaking at the 72nd Internationalen Retail Summit on 8 - 9 September 2022 at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. Sign up now!

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