Fetchr was also on the brink of signing a deal with Souq.com before Amazon swooped in and acquired the online retailer in March.

Business Reporter Shoshana knows her way around Europe and the Middle East with a notebook and video camera. She has worked as a multi-media journalist for Channel NewsAsia, Ruptly video news agency, the UN, and most recently, with 7Days in Dubai. She speaks Arabic and English and has degrees in Middle East History and Political Science.

Dubai-based shipping startup Fetchr is in talks to provide delivery services for the soon-to-be-launched online shopping site Noon.com.

“We’re in talks, but nothing’s signed,” Fetchr’s Founder and CEO Idriss Al Rifai told Inc. Arabia.

Noon.com, which was expected to be launched in January this year, is now on track to start operations before the end of 2017, its billionaire founder Mohamed Alabbar said in a statement recently.

Alabbar previously said that Noon.com would offer 20 million products including technology, fashion, toys, and books.

Details of talks came days after Fetchr announced that it had secured $41 million in Series B funding to develop their app-based delivery service.

“Right now we’re working with about 700 e-commerce clients, all across the GCC, and we’re working with nine out of the top ten e-commerce companies in the Middle East,” Al Rifai said.

“Noon.com is another potential client, they are supposed to start later this year. We haven’t signed anything yet…we would be really happy to work with them.

He said that the company was on the brink of signing a deal with Souq.com before Amazon swooped in and acquired the online retailer in March.

“We were on the brink of working with them, but the acquisition came sooner,” he said.

Fetchr is disrupting the e-commerce delivery industry by using geo-location on mobile phones to deliver goods directly to customers.

In a region where almost 80% of consumers use smartphones, the tech-based startup has aggressively expanded its workforce to 1,500 since it started up in 2012, he said.

“I remember the days three years ago where we had five packages on the table, and we were like, what are we going to do with it? And now we have 1,500 employees and we are present in five markets…it’s a completely different ball game.”

“We work with Everyone”

He said it doesn’t matter who wins the race as the region’s next big e-commerce player.

“It doesn’t matter whether its Noon.com that wins or another company. We just know that e-commerce is growing, and [you] need to have an enabler on the e-commerce side.”

“A lot of the players know about us and know of our offering, so it’s all about how we can grow their account and serve them in more markets. We’re an enabler…we’re completely company agnostic, we work with everyone.”

Over three billion people around the world are living without an address, and that conventional delivery systems have been rendered obsolete, Al Rifai said.

The whole logistics space still works on an address system, he pointed out. “We believe that it’s not appropriate because a lot of the countries, including here [in MENA], don’t have an address system.”

“When you order a Careem or Uber, they don’t ask you where you live. This is completely obsolete.”