Weekly Startup Ecosystem Overview in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) / 12 – 25 May

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Last 2 weeks, there were 5 investments and 3 secondary transaction in the MENA between 12 – 25 May:


2 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), 2 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 1 Morocco, 1 Palestine


2 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 1 Jordan


1 Qatar-based VC firm invested startups in different regions.

Sectors Received Investments:

2 E-commerce

1 B2B / FinTech

1 FinTech

1 HealthTech

1 Artificial intelligence

1 Software

News of the Week

🎯 E-commerce and fintech platform Chari raised funding.

Chari, a B2B e-commerce and fintech platform that helps retailers procure inventory for their stores and offers them financial services, has received a second investment from Plug and Play. The amount invested was not disclosed. 

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: 

Investors: Plug and Play

Co-founders: Ismael Belkhayat, Sophia Alj

Country: Morocco

🎯 Cloud-based POS system Wosul Payments raised funding.

Wosul, a cloud-based POS system that enables merchants to accept digital transactions online or in-store, has raised a $3.2 million in Seed funding round, led by Khalab’s company. Group of angel investors in the fintech and retail sectors also participated in the investment round.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $3.200.000

Investors: Khalab’s company, angel investors

Co-founders: Fahad Alghamdi

Country: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

🎯 Legaltech startup Clara raised funding.

Clara, a legaltech startup that digitises and automates legal tasks for entrepreneurs, including setting up companies in different countries, digital company formations, cap table and data room management, and automated legal document generation, has received an undisclosed investment from Plug and Play.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount:

Investors: Plug and Play

Co-founders: Ahmed Arif, Arthur Guest, Hannah McKinlay, Lee McMahon, Patrick Rogers

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🎯 E-commerce marketplace Baytonia raised funding.

Baytonia, an e-commerce marketplace that provides exceptional value in the form of distinctive and high-quality homeware collections, has closed an undisclosed Seed funding round. The investment round was led by Khwarizmi Ventures (KV), with participation from angel investors.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: 

Investors: Khwarizmi Ventures (KV), angel investors

Co-founders: Karam Rajab, Ibrahim AlHowaish

Country: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

🎯 Social commerce platform Vatrin raised funding.

Vatrin, which allows SMEs to easily set up an online store using their WhatsApp number, has received an investment from Ibtikar Fund. The amount of investment was undisclosed.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount:

Investors: Ibtikar Fund

Co-founders: Diala Khashan

Country: Palestine

🎯 Mental healthcare platform Lifemost raised funding.

Lifemost, which offers a platform for corporates to provide employees with mental healthcare services, has raised a $650.000 in pre-Seed funding round from group of angel investors.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $650.000

Investors: Angel investors

Co-founders: Dennis Yudchitz

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🎯 Software design platform Builder.ai raised funding.

Builder.ai, an ai-supported application development platform that assists companies and small businesses in creating and running software without requiring technical expertise, has raised $250 million in Series D funding round. The investment round was led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), with participation from Iconiq Capital, Jungle Ventures and Insight Partners.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $250.000.000

Investors: Qatar Investment Authority, Iconiq Capital, Jungle Ventures, Insight Partners

Co-founders: Sachin Dev Duggal, Saurabh Dhoot

Country: United Kingdom (UK)

🎯 Customer experience personalization platform Insider raised funding.

Insider, which enables marketers to connect customer data across channels, predict behavior with AI, and individualize cross-channel experiences, has raised $105 million from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Esas Private Equity.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $105.000.000

Investors: Qatar Investment Authority, Esas Private Equity

Co-founders: Arda Koterin, Hande Cilingir, Mehmet Sinan Toktay, Muharrem Derinkok, Okan Yedibela, Serhat Soyuerel

Country: Turkey

🛒 EDGE acquires majority stake in MARS Robotics.

UAE-based advanced technology and defence group EDGE has acquired MARS Robotics, a company that specializes in developing autonomous robotic technology for drones.

Transaction Type: Acquisition

Investors: EDGE

Co-founders: Mohammad Amin Al-Jarrah

Country: Jordan

🛒 ZainTech acquires Adfolks.

UAE-based ZainTech has acquired cloud-native engineering company Adfolks.

Transaction Type: Acquisition

Investors: ZainTech

Co-founders: Arun Mohan

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🛒 Galaxy Racer acquired by Riva Technology and Entertainment Limited.

Australia-based Riva Technology and Entertainment Limited (RTE) has acquired esports platform Galaxy Racer Holdings Limited (GXR), to merge into one entity under the name “Celestial”.

Transaction Type: Acquisition

Investors: Riva Technology and Entertainment Limited (RTE)

Co-founders: Paul Roy

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Other News:

📌 Paymob, Egypt-based financial services enabler in the MENA region, has received Payment Technical Services Provider (PTSP) certification in Saudi Arabia. The certification will allow them to offer its seamless and secure payment gateway services to merchants across Saudi Arabia.

📌 Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with talabat UAE, to support Emirati small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Abu Dhabi.

📌 UAE-based defi blockchain startup Reef, has launched a $10 million accelerator programme for Web3 projects building on the Reef Chain.

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