By Hadeel Al Sayegh and Saeed Azhar
DUBAI, March 18(Reuters) - Kitopi, a Dubai-based shared kitchen platform for online food delivery, is looking to raise between $150 million to $200 million in a new round of financing to expand into Southeast Asia, two sources told Reuters.
A successful fund raising could lift the valuation of the unlisted company to about $1 billion, said the sources, declining to be identified as the matter is not public.
Kitopi declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
Kitopi has hired BofA to arrange the funding round, said one of the sources. BofA declined to comment.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kitopi had to suspend its operations in the United Kingdom and the United States last year and shift its focus on markets where growth was possible, such as the Middle East and Asia.
Kitopi was active in these two markets for only brief period of time before the pandemic hit and will be planning to re-enter the markets when the situation becomes clear, one of the sources said.
So-called "cloud kitchens", facilities built to produce food specifically for delivery, are becoming popular with investors.
Kitopi, which is headquartered in Dubai, operates over 60 kitchens and has over 1500 employees. It plans to expand into South East Asia later this year.
Kitopi has raised $117.2 million since its inception from investors including Dubai-based venture capital firm BECO Capital and US-based Lumia Capital.
Smaller rival iKcon was also in the market to raise funds last year, two sources told Reuters, as cloud kitchen startups grew their business during the pandemic that disrupted the dining industry. iKcon could not be immediately reached for a comment. (Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Kim Coghill)