Weekly Startup Ecosystem Overview in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) / 12-19 August

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In this blog series, we will publish entrepreneurship news from MENA (the Middle East and Northern Africa) region. The countries that we count in MENA are: 

Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Mauritania, Djibouti. 

We will also provide brief information about one of the startup ecosystems from the MENA region each week.

Accordingly, if we examine the entrepreneurial climate in Mena countries, their geographic location gives them access to sizable markets in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The entrepreneurial ecosystem in MENA is flourishing and expanding as a result, the region has seen a significant rise in the number of startups and the amount of funding in recent years.

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region invested a total of $2.8 billion in 639 deals in 2021, according to the “Wamda 2021 Year in review – Investments in Mena” 2021 report, despite market instability, challenges in the global economy, rising borrowing prices, and operational costs.

Entrepreneurship ecosystem of the week: Egypt

Egypt’s startup ecosystem is among the most active ecosystems in Africa. The Egyptian startup ecosystem is experiencing a concentration of entrepreneurs around Cairo and Alexandria. There is also an open market for cost-effective talents.

In April 2022, a cooperation protocol was signed between Investment and Free Zones General Authority, Financial Regulatory Investment and Free Zones, Financial Regulatory Authority and Information Technologies Industry Authority, and Information Technologies Industry Development Agency and Development Agency. As a result of this agreement, the five-year strategy aims to strengthen and advance the entrepreneurial ecosystem, facilitate the access of startups to funds and investments, develop technological skills and increase the number of professionals, and facilitate penetration in the global environment while creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and creative thinking.

They also want to gain access to new markets through a global promotion and marketing plan.

This shows us that government support will create new support areas with the innovations it creates according to the startup ecosystem. 

On the other hand, local accelerator programs and investors are mostly new in the ecosystem. So, finding a source of finance for a startup is quite difficult.

In 2019, entrepreneurs were generally trying to continue their development with the financing they received in an acceleration program. Today, 115 startups have received investments from corporate, acceleration programs, venture capital, and angel investors. The participation of different stakeholders in the ecosystem is promising.

According to the report “The Disrupt Africa – The African Tech Startups Funding Report 2021”, 115 startups reached approximately $446 million ($445,842,000) in funding in the Egyptian Startup Ecosystem in 2021. 

Featured Startups: 

Fawry, Wuzzuf, Swvl, Instabug, MNT-Halan, Yaoota.com, Chefaa, Brimore, Goodsmart, Breadfast, Paymob, Taaager, Brantu, Dayra, Money Fellows, Docspert, vezeeta.com, Nagwa, Zedny, Bosta, Trella, Flextock, Trella, Khazna, Capiter, MaksAB, Elves

Featured Startup Sectors: Fintech, E-Commerce, Logistics

Featured Accelerator/Incubator: 

EFG EV Fintech, Bedaya, MINT Incubator, Falak Startups, Innoventures, 1864 Accelerator, Sustaincubator, Juicelabs, AUC Venture Labs,  Startup MENA,  Flat6Labs, Athar Accelerator, Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC), GESR

Featured Investors: 

Accelero Capital, Endure Capital, Ahli Fintech, Flat6Labs, Actis, Lorax Capital Partners, Tanmeya Capital Ventures, Algebra Ventures, CVentures, Pride Capital, Sawari Ventures,  Delta Inspire, EdVentures, Egypt Ventures, Fondation Ventures, Endure Capital, Ezdehar, Gemini Capital, HIMangel, Ideavelopers, innoventures, Dash Ventures, Oasis500, Kingsway Capital, StartLabz,  Relatively Fund, Middle East Venture Partners, AUC Angels, Sawari Ventures, Alex Angels

Ecosystem Index Score: Egypt

In the system where StartupBlink evaluates startup ecosystems and creates a scoring index, the differences between ecosystems according to the quantity, quality, and business environment measurement of the ecosystem and the ranking of the ecosystems of the countries are provided. 

According to a review of the Egypt startup ecosystem, Egypt ranks 4th in the Africa region according to the StartupBlink – Startup Ecosystem Report 2022, and it ranks 65th in the world.

In the evaluation of index;

Quantity refers to the number of startups, accelerators, coworking spaces, and startup-related meetups in the ecosystem.

Quality includes traction of over 100,000 entities in all ecosystems (including traffic, domain authority, and customer base), branches of multinational companies, number of employees per startup, number and size of global startup events and conferences, presence of Unicorns, Exits, and Pantheon companies, and more.

Business Environment Score mainly focused on parameters at the country level, since national infrastructure, policies, and legislation generally affect all cities within a country. Diversity index, internet speed, internet freedom, Number of patents per capita, and level of English proficiency are some of the elements that are taken into account for the calculation of the Business Environment Score.

Top News

There were 5 investments and 2 secondary transactions in the MENA between 12-19 August:


2 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 2 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), 1 Egypt, 1 Bahrain


1 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 1 Egypt 

5 Sectors Received Investments:


Online Retailers

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Image Recognition

Grocery Order 

🎯Offering order management solutions, Mosool received investment.

Saudi-based logistics platform Mosool received a seed investment from angel investors.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount:

Investors: Angel Investors

Co-founders: Abdulaziz Al Mubarak, Muhammed Al-Rabie

Country: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

🎯Store management platform, Dukkantek received investment.

UAE-based eCommerce startup Saas Dukkantek has raised $10 million in a pre-series A investment round led by BECO Capital.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $ 10.000.000

Investors: BECO Capital, Colle Capital, Wamda Capital, Comma Capital, AMK Investment Office, Rocketship, Chaos Ventures

Co-founders: Sanad Yaghi,  Shadi Joulani, Ali Alsayegh

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🎯Enterprise ERP startup, Jwava received investment.

Saudi-based Jwava, which offers multi-enterprise saas solutions for SMEs, received 7-digit (SAR) seed financing from angel investors.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: 7-figure (SAR)

Investors:  Angel Investors

Co-founders: Nasser Al-Subaie

Country: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

🎯 Image recognition startups, Faceki received investment.

Faceki, a Bahrain-based facial recognition startup, has raised a seed investment fund led by Nama Ventures.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount:

Investors: Nama Ventures, Vision Ventures, Angel Investors

Co-founders: Hamza Al-Ghatam, Mustafa Marhama, Nabeel Radhi

Country: Bahrain

🎯 Grocery order startup, Appetito received investment.

Egypt-based grocery order delivery startup Appetito has partnered with Saudi-based IT firm Purity Information Technology. With this deal, Appetito aims to finance its expansion into Saudi Arabia. The collaboration is a component of Appetito’s plans to secure $25 million in funding to support and finance its growth.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $ 25.000.000

Investors: Purity 

Co-founders: Shehab Mokhtar (Appetito)

Country: Egypt

🛒 Arabian Internet and Telecommunication Co. acquired Giza Systems.

Arabian Internet and Telecommunication Co. received approval from Saudi Arabia’s General Competition Authority to purchase a $158 million stake in Egypt’s Giza Systems Co. 89.49 percent of the shares are held by Giza Systems and 34 percent by Giza Arabia.

Transaction Type: Acquired 

Investment Amount: $ 158.000.000

Investors: Arabian Internet and Telecommunication Co

Co-founders: Shehab El Nawawi

Country: Egypt(Giza Systems)

🛒 Reverse logistics platform Cartlow, has acquired Melltoo.

Reverse logistics platform Cartlow, which provides returns management, warranty management, buybacks, and exchanges, has acquired a second-hand product platform Melltoo startup.

Transaction Type: Acquired 

Investment Amount:

Investors: Cartlow

Co-founders: Sharene Lee, Morrad Irsane (Melltoo)

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

 ✏️A Slice of Entrepreneurship 🍰

“My favorite business book of all time is experience.”

  • Noah Kagan

App Sumo

Other News:

📌 The International Game Developers Association (IGDA), the non-profit membership organization for game developers, announced a new chapter in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

📌 The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) published the ‘National Payments Usage Study’. According to the report, 57 percent of all payments made by consumers in the Kingdom for the first time in 2021 are cashless (mobile phone, card, NFC etc.) payments.

📌 Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has acquired shares of Alphabet,  JPMorgan Chase, and Zoom. It also increased its stake in Meta, Paypal, Amazon, Electronic Arts (EA), Lucid Group, and others

📌 Anghami filed its preliminary results for H1’2022. Anghami revenue increased by 29% year on year to $21.1 million, while active users increased by 46% to reach 19.5 million users.

📌 Blockchain solutions, Smart contracts, Cryptocurrencies technologies focused acceleration program Corporate Sprint Accelerator (CSA) application period has started. The program is organized by startAD.

📌 Callsign has released its “Digital Confidence Index” report, which surveys consumers globally about their attitudes towards online services.

📌 EmiratesNBD has launched a global accelerator program for Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) Fintech Hive and Microsoft metaverse startups.

📌 Swvl filed its preliminary results for H1’2022. Swvl revenue increased by 3.2x YoY to $40.7M, from over 40.1M bookings (3.7x growth YoY). 

📌 UAE-based  G42, launched a $10B fund, G42 Expansion Fund, a global technology growth fund formed in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Growth Fund (ADG). The fund focus on late-stage companies.

📌 KSA-based FinTech  CASHIN has signed a partnership with the Saudi National Bank to support small and medium enterprises through Fintech and payments technology.

📌 According to the report “Turning a Tech Hub into a Talent Magnet” published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Dubai ranked a top global hub for talent and innovation.

📌  As part of its efforts to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the emirate, the Competitiveness Office of Abu Dhabi (COAD), part of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED),  has launched the “Abu Dhabi innovation incubators programme“.

📌 Bahrain’s first Business Angels Company Tenmou, collaborates with CIPE to launch SME growth program.

📌 Saudi-based accounting and finance startup Levers has joined Y Combinator’s Summer 2022 group.


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