After working in Dubai as a marketing intelligence manager, Greek entrepreneur John Tsioris decided to benefit from Dubai’s startup-friendly ecosystem and took the jump to start his own project; InstaShop, an on-demand online grocery delivery company.

Five years later, the platform was bought by Delivery Hero -the Berlin-based global takeaway giant- for a whopping US$360 million, marking one of the region’s largest exits. 

InstaShop started as an on-demand grocery ordering platform and has since expanded into pharmacy, pet shop, butcher, organic and cleaning services.

Dubai as the financial and business center of the MENA region is the ideal place for technological startups to be established and expand their reach across the region in the easiest manner and with minimum obstacles, thanks to the supportive environment that the government of Dubai has created. The on-demand lifestyle and high service levels that users are accustomed to in the city, paved the way for InstaShop to introduce a marketplace which connects customers with vendors to get their essentials in a matter of minutes. How welcoming Dubai is towards investors is consistently proven by the attraction of reputable international investors acquiring Dubai based startups for the largest tickets in the region to date."

The app currently serves more than 500,000 active users across five countries globally including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, and Greece, and has an annualized gross merchandise volume of $300 million.

According to the deal with Delivery Hero, InstaShop will continue working as an independent brand, with plans to launch in new markets and invest further in growth. 

Delivery Hero, traded publicly in Germany with a market cap of nearly $22 billion, is already running grocery delivery services in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Middle East and North Africa. 

Before being acquired, InstaShop had raised $7.5 million in funds from Dubai-based Jabbar Internet Group and Greek VC Venture Friends. Launched with a handful of people, InstaShop is now supported by 300 employees across the globe. 

From starting as a minimum viable product to rapidly growing into one of the largest e-grocery solutions in the region, InstaShop’s success story reaffirms that in Dubai, startups can start, grow and create a high value. 

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