Grocery delivery startup YallaMarket is helping businesses enter MENA

Dubai-based YallaMarket delivers groceries and ready-made food in 15 minutes. Its quick-commerce-as-a-service solution, YallaHub, helps ecommerce businesses to enter and scale across MENA.

Grocery delivery startup YallaMarket is helping businesses enter MENA

Wednesday February 22, 2023,

5 min Read

In the middle of the pandemic in 2020, Russian entrepreneurs Leo Dovbenko and Stas Seleznev realised that Dubai lacked 15-minute grocery delivery options that were aplenty back home. 

“In most of Russia, Europe and the US, the 15-minute deliveries—thanks to dark store models—had replaced convenience stores, and that was yet to be replicated in the UAE. It was an open market opportunity,” Dovbenko tells YourStory Gulf Edition

The duo decided to tap into the market opportunity and started the 15-minute grocery delivery platform Yalla!Market in 2021. They launched YallaHub the next year as a quick-commerce-as-service (QAS) offering to help other brands with hyperlocal deliveries. 

Tapping into MENA’s quick commerce

The entrepreneurs observed the demand for quick commerce shot up exponentially during the pandemic. 

“We see the markets are moving from ecommerce to qcommerce. That sector has the highest growth rate, with groceries and food delivery being the top contributors,” explains the YallaMarket co-founder. 

A report by RedSeer Consulting states the MENA region’s quick commerce market will touch $47 billion by 2030. 

Dovbenko says the geographical layout of GCC cities is primed for quick commerce. “The cities are developing into communities where everything is available within a 15-minute reach.”

Working for a decade and a half in foodtech, retail and HORECA (hotels, restaurants, and catering), Dovbenko found quick commerce in MENA presented with the right opportunity. He teamed up with Seleznev, who comes with 15 years of experience in product development management, to start up. They both had worked in the development of IT infrastructure for restaurants in Dubai.

B2C grocery delivery 

YallaMarket enables associated brands to sell via its B2C grocery delivery app. It is available for both Android and iOS, and has over 100,000 downloads on Google Play Store as well as a 4.4 rating on Apple App Store. 

“The brands also get access to aggregators and virtual stores. We’re equipped to work with marketplaces and aggregators in the UAE, including the likes of Talabat, Noon, Careem, Amazon, Instashop, Deliveroo, NowNow etc,” he adds.

The startup hinges on the classic grocery delivery model to fulfil orders for around 3,000 SKUs. 

While the delivery fee is undisclosed, YallaMarket says partnerships with brands enable it to turn a profit on each item sold. The average order value for grocers is $20.

At present, the startup has seven dark stores across Dubai in JLT, Business Bay, DSO, Marina, Deira, JVC, and Al Wasl.  

It competes with Talabat Mart, Instashop, Noon Grocery, El Grocer, and Waitrose, among others.

Enabling quick commerce 

YallaHub, on the other hand, acts as a platform for ecommerce businesses to enter and scale across the MENA region without capital expenditure investments. It enables clients to retain their old sales channels including websites, apps, aggregators and marketplaces without opening new stores. 

The new vertical provides businesses and retailers access to 1,000 SKUs, logistics, marketing, payment gateways, customer service teams, access to third-party aggregators, and last-mile delivery infrastructure to reach customers in Dubai within 15-30 minutes. 


Since its launch in 2022, YallaHub has introduced over 100 brands in the UAE market in segments including cosmetics, personal care, food products, accessories, and small electronics items. They include VkusVill (health food retailer), Pusy Beauty (cosmetics), Minimalist (jewellery), and Biocera (health and wellness), among others.

“We are aiming to reach $10 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) for YallaHub. We aim to fulfil 2,800 daily orders,” Dovbenko says.

The team charges an undisclosed monthly subscription fee, onboarding fee, and a commission while managing sales on behalf of the brands. 

“The amount of commission for managing a brand's sales and promotion is determined by the number of product positions, the trade volume, and the business's specifics,” he explains.

YallaMarket and YallaHub raised $12 million last year from Wamda Capital, Doha Tech Angels, Flyer One Ventures, and Dubai Angel Investors. At present, the team comprises 120 people, including 60 riders. 

Market and future plans 

The online grocery delivery market in the UAE is estimated to reach $6.87 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 29.18%, according to SPER Market Research. This is largely due to high internet penetration, expanding working population, and an increasing number of single-parent families. 

Quick commerce contributes about 20% to the over digital economy of MENA, which is expected to grow by 24% to reach $20 billion by 2024, as per a Redseer report.  

Dovbenko and Seleznev believe that the UAE presents a significant market opportunity and is one of the most economically viable markets for ecommerce.

“GCC is one of the most highly urbanised parts of the world, with 85% of the population living in cities, which is a strong fundamental factor for qcommerce,” Dovbenko says.

While the primary target is the GCC market, YallaMarket and YallaHub also plan to onboard more international clients such as FMCG brands, jewellery, and online retailers.

(Cover image designed by Nihar Apte)

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Edited by Kanishk Singh