Sweetheart Kitchen Raises US$17.7 Million In Series C Funding Round To Launch New Brands And Kitchen Units Across MENA

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Cloud kitchen operator Sweetheart Kitchen has successfully secured €15 million (US$17.7 million) in a Series C funding round backed by strategic investors, led by the company’s founder and CEO Peter Schatzberg.

As a delivery-only multi-brand virtual kitchen, Schatzberg notes that the Dubai-based company is keen to invest their funding into supply chain technology, food design and hiring talent, as they had previously done, and which they plan to continue to do so. “Scaling units is certainly one important objective for us, but we are also investing in streamlining our processes and systems to achieve profitability.”

As a company that is only 15 months old, it’s noteworthy to point out its impressive milestones. The startup (which, according to a Wamda report, is backed by Germany’s Delivery Hero) has previously raised €21 million ($24.8 million) in a previous round. Thus, as of date, the startup has raised a total of $43 million. The brand boasts a portfolio of 30 brands, such as Wingo, Avocado Bravo and Affordabowls, among others.

That’s not to say that cloud kitchen startup hasn’t had their fair share of hurdles during the pandemic. Schatzberg comments, “Almost overnight, we pivoted from scaling volume and units, to demonstrating profitability through aggressive cost-cutting measures that would ordinarily take place in a mature enterprise.” They had to close live units in Kuwait, as well as make reductions, and lose cash flow as they were waiting to open a number of completed units, but was vacant due to citywide lockdowns. He adds, “Any incremental revenue we might have received as a function of the pandemic was more than offset by the various costs and challenges that the pandemic created.”

To utilize the time, the team focused internally on “controllership, efficiency, quality and profitability,” which Schatzberg says ignited the enterprise’s maturity more rapidly. With the new capital fusion, the team is gearing up to launch five additional brands, as well as have 12 units live in the UAE by the beginning of 2021, with more expansion into the KSA market in the second half of the same year. The team is also excited to scale across the region as they originally planned, starting with its relaunch in Kuwait. He concludes, “We plan on re-opening in January with seven kitchens, and on covering over 75% of Kuwait by the end of Q2 2021 with our new brands.”

‘TREP TALK ME: Peter Schatzberg, founder and CEO of Sweetheart Kitchen

What’s your advice to fellow entrepreneurs who are raising capital during this unprecedented time?

1. Ask yourself if you really need to raise capital right now

“Carefully consider whether you have the capabilities, business plan and determination to raise capital during a global economic downturn. Your time is precious, and rejection can be painful. Do not waste time trying to raise funds in this environment if you are not prepared to face

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Kitchen fire damages El Cajon apartment units, 20 residents displaced

EL CAJON, Calif. (CNS) – An unattended kitchen stove was blamed for an apartment fire in El Cajon Tuesday evening that caused damage to six apartments and displaced at least 20 residents.

Deputies responded to the 400 block of East Bradley Avenue, near Magnolia Avenue, about 7:25 p.m. and found a second story apartment fully engulfed in flames, according to Sgt. Patrick Fox of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The fire immediately threatened at least 10 apartments, all of which were evacuated, and an additional 10 apartments directly south of where the fire occurred were evacuated as a precaution, Fox said.

Firefighters from the San Miguel, Santee and El Cajon fire departments were able to extinguish the flames and deputies learned no one was inside the apartment when the fire started, he said.

The occupants of the apartment where the fire began were interviewed by authorities and it was determined the kitchen stove was left on and unattended, sparking the fire, Fox said.

No injuries were reported, but one apartment was damaged by fire, one unit sustained water damage and four others sustained water and smoke damage, Fox said.

Residents of the 10 apartments south of where the fire started were allowed to return home, but about 20 residents from the other 10 apartments remained evacuated due to the power in those units being turned off. San Diego Gas & Electric crews were working to restore power, Fox said.

The Red Cross set up a temporary staging area for affected residents in the Kelly’s Pub parking lot, 719 E. Bradley Ave.

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Pressure building on Interior Health to provide nurses for RCMP mental health units

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian

(BRIE WELTON / iNFOnews.ca)

September 08, 2020 – 8:00 AM

Kamloops, Kelowna and the RCMP are all trying to convince Interior Health to fund more nurses to work with police officers dealing with a growing number of calls that involve people struggling with mental health issues.

So far they’ve hit a brick wall.

“I think what happens is the people who are making those decisions really don’t ride around late at night on the streets of either Kelowna or Kamloops and get a first-hand view of what kind of situations police are dealing with,” Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian told iNFOnews.ca. “Unfortunately, the pandemic has just exacerbated a lot of those circumstances.”

Both cities have a team that partners the RCMP and nurses to respond to some of their mental health calls but each has only one team operating four days a week. It’s called Car 40 in Kamloops and PACT (Police and Crisis Team) in Kelowna.

At the Aug. 25 Kamloops council meeting, Coun. Dale Bass reported that Car 40 calls went up almost 36 per cent to 488 this year from 360 in the first half of 2019. That’s just the calls handled by that team on its four-day-a-week shift.

No comparative numbers were provided to iNFOnews.ca by Kelowna staff or RCMP.

Karen Bloemink, vice-president for clinical operations for Interior Health, told iNFOnews.ca in July that the program was not necessarily the best use of their resources.

READ MORE: Interior Health isn’t yet on board with expanding mental health teams with RCMP

Christian’s been told by Interior Health that they’re “looking at their model for outpatient mental health.”

But city and RCMP say that’s not good enough when there’s such a growing need for more help in this area and Christian has been pushing for an expansion in the service for more than two years, as has Kelowna.

“We’ve had the police car and the police person and we have a need to roll because a lot of the police calls we’re attending to have a serious mental health overtone to them,” he said. “Having a mental health professional there is very helpful in terms of defusing a situation that could otherwise lead to an escalation in terms of the physicality of it.”

An investigation was launched in June after a Kelowna RCMP officer doing a wellness check on UBCO student Mona Wang was video-taped dragging her down a hallway and stepping on her head. That report has been sent back to Kelowna RCMP with instructions to do more investigation.

READ MORE: Kelowna Mounties have criminal investigation into Const. Lacy Browning returned to them

But it’s not just the physicality of the arrest that’s of concern. It’s also about getting people the help they need.

“When you do make an arrest either under the Mental Health Act or under the Criminal

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