Weekly Startup Ecosystem Overview in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) / 21-27 October

Top News

There were 12  investments in the MENA between  21-27 October:

Investments: 

5 United Arab Emirates (UAE), 3 Egypt, 3 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Kuwait

Acquisitions: 

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

Sectors Received Investments:

2 Proptech 

2 Cleantech 

2 Edtech

2 Fintech 

1 Data Analytics

1 Private equity firm

1 Sustainability

1 Logistics 

News of the Week

🎯 Education startup Thatek has been crowdfunded.

Saudi-based personal development and education platform Thatek has raised $532,000 in seed funding through crowdfunding platform Emkan AlArabiya.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $ 532.000

Investors: Emkan AlArabiya

Co-founders: Mamdouh Faleh

Country:  Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

🎯 AI-powered B2B market UNLOCK, raised funding.

UNLOCK, the AI-powered and fintech B2B professional services marketplace, announced the close of its 6-digit round of angel investors led by a group of angel investors and Tarek Roushdy of UI Investments.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investors: Tarek Roushdy (UI Investments), Angel Investors

Co-founders:  Mona El-Kheshen, Fady Younan

Country: Egypt

🎯 UAE-based food traceability startup Seafood Souq, raised funding.

Seafood Souq, a food traceability startup focusing on global seafood trade, traceability and sustainability, has raised $500,000 from the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $500.000

Investors: Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute

Co-founders: Fahim Al Qasimi, Sean Dennis

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🎯 Education and entertainment startup Jeel Platform, raised funding.

Jeel Platform, a family platform initiative that combines education and entertainment, has completed a financing round with a seed fund of 1.2 million dollars from Kuwaiti and Jordanian angel investors.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $1.200.000 

Investors: Angel Investors

Co-founders: Ahmed Sobaih 

Country:   Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

🎯 Kuwait-based fintech startup Ruba, raised funding.

Fintech startup Ruba, which makes Kuwait-based education accessible to all, raised an undisclosed amount from undisclosed investors in its pre-seed funding round

Transaction Type: Investment

Co-founders: Ameen Nadoom, Fawaz Al-Rashdan, Menawer Al-Azmi

Country: Kuwait

🎯  Egypt-based private electricity and solar company KarmSolar, raised funding.

Egypt-based clean technology startup KarmSolar has secured $2.4 million in financing from Qatar National Bank ALAHLI (QNB ALAHLI). The new investment will finance the solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) battery storage system in Egypt.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $2.400.000

Investors:  Qatar National Bank ALAHLI

Co-founders:  Ahmed Zahran, Omar Hosny, Tamer Essawy

Country: Egypt

🎯 Logistics startup Tachyon, raised funding.

Tachyon, a Saudi Arabian-based B2B logistics platform focused on managing shipping and logistics operations, has raised $1.6 million in pre-Seed funding from undisclosed investors.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $1.600.000

Co-founders: Abdulrahman Ijaabo, Nidal Alattas, Maysarah Michaal, Hamzah Abu Sitta

Country:   Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

🎯 Egypt-based proptech Seqoon, raised funding.

Real estate partnership startup Seqoon Banque Misr’s pilot program to support startups in Egypt and angel investors raised $500,000 in a pre-Seed round.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $500.000

Investors:  Banque Misr’s pilot programme, Angel Investors

Co-founders: Omar Eldessouky, Mohamed Elkhatieb

Country: Egypt

🎯 UAE-based cleantech Avani Eco Middle East , raised funding.

Using technology as a solution to combat the UAE-based global plastic pollution epidemic, Avani Eco Middle East received $680,000 in financing from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund’s (MBRIF) Guarantee Plan.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $680.000

Investors:  Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund’s (MBRIF)

Co-founders:  Peter Avram

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🎯 UAE-based private equity firm Aliph Capital, raised funding.

UAE-based private equity firm Aliph Capital has secured a $125 million investment in its first fund, Aliph Fund I (LP), from Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company ADQ.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $125.000.000

Investors: ADQ (Aliph Fund I (LP))

Co-founders: Huda Al-Lawati

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🎯 Artificial intelligence supported customer analysis application Lune, raised funding.

UAE-based banking customer analytics startup Lune raised $850,000 in a pre-Seed round led by the Dubai Future District Fund (DFDF), Flat6Labs and an undisclosed group of angel investors.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount:  $850.000

Investors: Dubai Future District Fund (DFDF), Flat6Labs, Angel Investors

Co-founders: Helal Tariq Lootah, Alexandre Soued

Country:United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🎯 Dubai-based unicorn EMPG has raised funding.

Real estate portals group EMPG raised $200 million in funding led by Affinity Partners and with participation from KCK, Acacia Partners and Prosus. The company operates major portals such as OLX, Dubizzle, Bayut, Zameen and Lamudi.

Transaction Type: Investment

Investment Amount: $200.000.000

Investors: Affinity Partners, KCK, Acacia Partners, Prosus

Co-founders: Imran Ali Khan, Zeeshan Ali Khan

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

🛒 Modus Capital acquires Saudi Arabia-based venture founder Agile Ventures.

US-based Modus Capital has acquired Saudi Arabian startup studio Agile Ventures. Financial details were not shared.

Transaction Type: Acquisition

Investors: Modus Capital

Co-founders: Ahmed Abutaleb Firas AlMohasen (Agile Ventures)

Country:   Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

🛒 ZainTech acquires cloud provider startup Bios Middle East

ZainTech, a regional provider of ICT and digital solutions combining the ICT assets of Kuwait-based Zain Group, has acquired UAE-based cloud provider startup IT Systems and Cloud Systems Integrator Bios Middle East. The purchase is subject to regulatory approval and financial details were not disclosed.

Transaction Type: Acquisition

Investors: ZainTech (Zain Group)

Co-founders:  Emil Hewage (Bios Middle East)

Country: United Arab Emirates (UAE)

✏️A Slice of Entrepreneurship 🍰

“Stay away from those people who try to disparage your ambitions. Small minds will always do that, but great minds will give you a feeling that you can become great too.”

  •  Mark Twain

Other News:

📌 Lebanon-based VC firm IM Ventures has launched a $12 million fund under the USAID Lebanon Investment Initiative (LII) to support entrepreneurs from the seed stage to the growth stage.

📌 Beban, a Bahrain-based equity crowdfunding platform and subsidiary of Hope Ventures, has obtained a license from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) for its crowdfunding efforts.

📌 The Saudi Ministry of Investment has released a report showing the kingdom’s economic performance in the third quarter. Strategic alliances and partnerships saw 53 investment deals signed by MISA and investors in various sectors such as the communications, energy and healthcare industries in the ‘Investment Highlights Q3 2022 report, which highlights the Global Supply Chain Flexibility Initiative (GSCRI), which focuses on improving the supply chain.

📌 The Saudi Telecom Company has committed another $300 million to VC firm STV to support its plans to support and scale digital initiatives in the region.

📌 UAE-based digital asset wallet and exchange BitOasis has partnered with Mastercard to launch their crypto card program.

📌 The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has established 5 different companies regionally to invest in Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Iraq and Sudan. The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) plans to invest up to $24 billion (SAR 90 billion) in key industry verticals, including infrastructure, healthcare, financial services, food and agriculture, telecom and technology.

📌 The Saudi Space Commission, together with Techstars, has launched the ‘Saudi Space Accelerator Programme’, an acceleration program for startups in the space and aeronautics at the idea stage.

📌 Aramco launches its $1.5 billion Sustainability Fund.

📌 Tunisia has passed a draft law requiring contracts in public procurement to allocate 10% of their respective value to the benefit of enterprises for research, work and the provision of products and services.

📌 Saudi-based supply chain-focused startup Brexm has partially merged with NTC, a Saudi-based company that provides shipping services for energy and shipping. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

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