MEVP and Building Block Equity Fund-Invested Shahiya Exits for $13.5M



On the 12th of November 2014, Netsila, the Lebanese company who owns the world’s top Arabic recipe website, was acquired by Cookpad, Japan’s leading recipe site, for $13.5 million.


Since its inception in 2010, Shahiya witnessed a remarkable success in the Arab market, and counts Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), a leading pan-Arab venture capital fund, as one of its initial investors. Another investing entity was Building Block Equity fund, which was set up with the help of BADER as part of its mandate to facilitate access to investment for Lebanese startups.


Attracting over 3 million users from the Middle East per month, the Lebanese website grew rapidly into the go-to cooking site for Arab women. It became the leading platform where Arab home-cooks interact, exchange recipes and discover culinary ideas. That is how Shahiya managed to catch the attention of the team behind Cookpad.


Being on continuous lookout to expand its market, the Japanese website found in Shahiya the ideal access to the Arab region. “This acquisition is in line with Cookpad’s mission of leveraging technology to make every-day cooking fun and accessible to everyone”, said Tomoya Yasuda, Head of Cookpad International.


As for Hala Labaki, the co-founder and CEO of Netsila, she said that international growth was always in her future vision of Shahiya, and that this acquisition will help her do more for the community.


This acquisition will be the first exit for MEVP, and is expected to be concluded in the first quarter of 2015.


Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program is in partnership with Bank Audi.


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