The founder of Dubai-based logistics start-up Fetchr has refuted speculation that JollyChic, a Chinese e-commerce business, recently acquired a majority stake in his company.
“These rumours are incorrect and groundless,” Idriss Al Rifai, Fetchr’s founder and CEO, told Gulf News in a statement on Thursday morning.
However, Al Rifai did note that while JollyChic had not acquired a majority stake in Fetchr, the two companies were in talks about raising funding.
Fetchr is “in discussions with multiple players during our current fundraising efforts. JollyChic is one of them but we are currently in discussions with multiple stakeholders across geographies,” he said.
Later, Fetchr co-founder Joy Ajlouny denied that this was the case, claiming that the company was not in negotiations with JollyChic for funding.
The denial from Al Rifai follows market speculation that JollyChic had bought a $50-million majority stake in Fetchr, valuing the start-up at between $100 million and $120 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
The offer of $50 million came with a first tranche of $20 million to keep the business afloat, the person said, asking not to be named because they were not authorised to speak publicly.
Fetchr is currently spending between $2 million to $5 million per month, they added. It is not uncommon for start-ups to spend millions of dollars a month in their first few years as they seek aggressive growth.
Gulf News was not able to independently verify any of these figures.
Both Fetchr and JollyChic have seen their fortunes rise in recent years, with the Chinese online store reaching a $1-billion valuation in May, following a Series C funding round from Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital.
Meanwhile, Fetchr has shot to prominence as one of the most hotly-tipped local start-ups, raising a Series B round of $41 million, in what was said to be the region’s largest ever funding round of its kind.