Leaving America and a coveted, stable job to move to Dubai, where she didn’t know anybody or how things worked, to start her entrepreneurial journey was a real leap of faith for Lebanese-American Dana Baki. However, after a tough period, where lots of patience, diligence and hard work were involved, she is now considered one of the most successful female businesswomen in the region.
After working with a boutique financing and venture capital firm, Baki’s career took a fateful turn when she joined another foodie, Mohammad Al Zaben, to introduce food delivery app MUNCH:ON in 2015. The move came after the two felt frustrated about always having to take time out to choose what to eat for lunch and which restaurant to order from. Soon after, Awn Ali joined the pair as the first employee and third Co-Founder of the company that has raised investments from sources like Wamda Capital, Global Ventures, B&Y Ventures, Mindshift Capital and Vision VC.
As well as being a Co-Founder, Baki is the COO of the Dubai based startup, which “enjoyed a double digit month-on-month growth” after its launch, according to an interview Baki did with “Entrepreneur Middle East” magazine in 2020. Now working with over 400 restaurants in the emirate, the food technology company “disrupting the industry” has also gone global and is serving Pakistan, Egypt and KSA, and will soon be available in Kuwait, Jordan, UK, Singapore and Germany.
Formerly called LUNCH:ON, the company with leading edge technology started by offering busy office workers top meals without having to pay delivery charges. They focused on utilising restaurant downtime and order consolidation to make restaurants more efficient and slash meal prices. Ordering and delivery times also became quicker. Whether it’s the employees ordering for themselves from the daily curated menu or companies ordering food for events and meetings, the platform is taking the usual hassle and cost out of meals in the office. As well as the low prices, customers love the convenience and variety on the menu, while restaurants enjoy the opportunity to make the most out of their kitchens and reach new audiences.
US-raised Baki, who used to work at Procter & Gamble as Senior Manager of Consumer & Market Knowledge in Corporate Strategy Development, and the team have even managed to keep the business thriving during the pandemic. The company, which was selected as one of the Top 50 Hottest Tech Companies in the World by Techcrunch, expanded from corporate lunches to delivering at every meal time to residential areas.
Baki, who nabbed the number three spot on the Top 5 Women Behind Middle Eastern Tech Brands list by “Forbes Middle East,” holds a BA in Economics and English Literature from the University of Michigan. The go-getter and mother, who has also worked for Covergirl and Max Factor Cosmetics, has an MBA from Georgetown University – The McDonough School of Business as well.