MENA’s Digital News, Week #28

A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and the public sector.

This week was so packed I had to further split sections and cut out some news to make it even reasonable to follow! Good times ahead

Investments (and 1 IPO)

Network International Sells $1.4B of Stock in Europe’s Biggest IPO of 2019 YTD https://bloom.bg/2uWGtpZ 

YaLLa Esports, MENA esports entity, raised seed funding round from a group of “strategic investors” http://bit.ly/2U4QI62 

Haseel, Saudi fresh food’s mobile app, raises funding led by Riyadh Taqnia Fund and joined by Vision Ventures and 500 Startups (EN) http://bit.ly/2KuUhCU (AR) http://bit.ly/2XbNFuP 

PointCheckout raises $600k from Arzan VC, 500 Startups, Dubai Angel Investors, Hala VC, and DTEC Ventures. http://bit.ly/2UqDTI5 

CaptainPanel, Kuwaiti SaaS for maritime activities, raises $1.2M from Faith Capital and 500 Startups. (CaptainPanel is an expansion of Fishfishme, the yacht/boat booking platform started in 2012) http://bit.ly/2GhDf63 

Oliv, dubai based career portal, raises $2M in series A ed by Aloshban and Alnamlah Family Groups in Saudi Arabia, and Mohammed Khoory in the UAE http://bit.ly/2OVvJl2

ProTenders, Dubai based “construction intelligence and procurement company”, raises $3M in pre-series A from undisclosed investors http://bit.ly/2UIZTNC

ArabyAds raises $6.5M in funding from Equitrust, the investment arm of Choueiri Group http://bit.ly/2OScbhz 

Shedul, booking platform for salons and spas, raises $20M in Series B at a $105M valuation https://tcrn.ch/2Z1npVr  

AWOK.com, Dubai based e-commerce platform, closes $30M series A from StonePine ACE Partners and Al Faisaliah Ventures and co-invested by Endeavor Catalyst http://bit.ly/2G9qR9k 

Acquisitions

Noon “acquires” Sivvi, Dubai based eCommerce, owned by Rashid Al Abbar, Mohammed Al Abbar’s Son http://bit.ly/2VpNScZ 

Bayut acquires Rocket Internet’s property portal Lamudi in UAE, Saudi & Jordan to fuel its expansion across GCC http://bit.ly/2UKr3E2

Vista Global, Dubai based charter flights booking, to acquire JetSmarter, US based on demand charter booking app http://bit.ly/2IrPMq

Property Finder to Acquire JRD Group, UAE-based real estate technology provider http://bit.ly/2U520Hp 

Sector News

Choueiri Group launches a TV attribution performance product, “Brand4mance” http://bit.ly/2D0isTl

BroadcastPro ME on Twitter

Twitter expands #videocontent in #MENA with over 16 partnerships. https://t.co/Cxq4LbDSXF

Twitter MENA, signs content partnership deals with 17 media houses to produce / host featured content http://bit.ly/2GcSnmj

Reebok launches eCommerce site to serve the UAE and Saudi markets http://bit.ly/2IsWn3H

Uber partners with Dryve, egypt-based car-sharing platform http://bit.ly/2P1LM0V 

AlAnsari Exchange, UAE, to launch multi-currency travel card with Wirecard, Germany http://bit.ly/2uYaXIf

Zoho partners with Paytabs in MENA as part of their regional expansion http://bit.ly/2InGrzH 

Funding Ecosystem

Seedstars announces $100M fund to invest in African tech startups in collaboration with Paris based First Growth Ventures http://bit.ly/2D2fk9w

Saudi Arabia to Launch a Bank for SMEs http://bit.ly/2UuMx7B 

AfricInvest and Cathay Capital launch $169M African venture fund http://bit.ly/2P7XAyE

Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai Accelerator adds Mashreq bank as a backer for the program (Visa, HSBC and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) are already onboard). http://bit.ly/2Uu8epd

IFC is now backing both Startupbootcamp Fintech Cairo and AUC Venture Lab http://bit.ly/2KuDcsT

The World Bank allocates $200M to support entrepreneurship and SMEs in Egypt http://bit.ly/2Dac4Jz 

Mubadala opens NY office, focus on financial services, private equity https://reut.rs/2UNJ8kw

Government Support

UAE government to offer long-term (5 year) visas to start-ups, starting with the “top 100 startups” selected for the World Economic Forum that just took place in Jordan http://bit.ly/2U48XbP 

UAE and Saudi Arabia sign MoU to develop digital education system. MoU also involved university twinnings across 8 universities – no details on the MoU’s detailed outlook yet http://bit.ly/2DjOeez

Badir Program, Saudi, partners with Propeller in Jordan, http://bit.ly/2Ua00gU

Long Reads

Mintrics launches report on the State of Social Video in Egypt (in time for Ramadan preps) http://bit.ly/2G8Gn5f


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MENA’s Digital News, Week #27

A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and the public sector.

Investments & Acquisitions

Brimore, egypt’s manufacturer to consumer platform, raises $800k from Algebra Ventures and Endure Capital, with participation from 500 Startups, Flat6Labs, and some angel investors http://bit.ly/2FI3Mcd 

Social Champ, Pakistani media planning solution, raises $100k from Oman’s OTF Wadi (2nd investment into Pakistan this year) http://bit.ly/2OHEAqe

Forward Delivery, Dubai based last mile delivery, raises $2.6M in a pre-series A from multiple investors including Saudi-based Al Rajhi “family members” http://bit.ly/2HNdP3b

Property Finder increases stake in Turkish property platform Zingat to 40% http://bit.ly/2CPt9s9 

Sector News

Google Assistant launches in Arabic [AR] http://bit.ly/2I2fwJo 

Egyptian Competitive Authority (ECA) launches review into Uber-Careem acquisition deal http://bit.ly/2uAoO7v 

Sarwa launches “Halal and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)” investment portfolios http://bit.ly/2uDk40Y

Bahrain’s Al Salam Bank and Arab Financial Services (AFS), launch a digital pay-roll solution for unbanked blue-collar workers in Bahrain http://bit.ly/2Vnodld

Aramex Builds Integration with WhatsApp Business Solution via Nexmo APIs https://prn.to/2uLIKEA

Zoho launches Zoho One for startups in Saudi Arabia http://bit.ly/2ONUgsa

Long Reads

Fintech in Francophone Africa (including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria) http://bit.ly/2UnL1nP 

Cleantech in MENA by Arzan VC http://bit.ly/2WBNKYc 

BECO Capital‘s Investment Periodic Table http://bit.ly/2OPMTjT

Magnitt’s Startup Ecosystem in the Arab World WEF Report http://bit.ly/2UqsO9g


To get your daily dose subscribe to MENA’s Digital News telegram channel here: https://t.me/technologyinmena

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You now join the daily updates on whatsapp (admin posting only) right here


MENA’s Digital News, Week #26

A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and the public sector.

Investments & Acquisitions

Uber buys Careem for $3.2B https://nyti.ms/2uuqWh4 (My two cents about this from late last year, read the last section)

Mudassir Sheikha on Twitter

Congratulations to every @Careem Captain, Customer and Colleague on this special moment. We’ve been blessed to impact the lives of millions in the region and it’s only the start as we join forces with @Uber.

GBarena, Giza-based esports and gaming community, has raised seed funding from HIMangel http://bit.ly/2uvbMZ5 

Receet, Palestine based payment digitizations service, raises investment from Ibtikar Fund http://bit.ly/2UT5uOr

The Modist, UAE based conservative fashion ecommerce, raises “strategic investment” from Farfetch and Nicola Bulgari (Vice Chairman of Bulgari Group) http://bit.ly/2HP8TtI

Jamalon raises $10M in Series B led by Wamda Capital, and joined by Anova Investments, 500 Falcons and Endeavor Catalyst http://bit.ly/2TRhFOv 

Alibaba Group will be acquiring ABBC Foundation (Alibabacoin Foundation), Dubai-based crypto-developer of AlibabaCoin, as part of their lawsuit settlement over name trademark http://bit.ly/2Fp2ELN

Infibeam Avenues, Indian eCommerce player, plans expansion into the Middle East via a 51% acquisition by UniPropitia, UAE based investor http://bit.ly/2UXjcQm

Smartchoice, Pakistani financial comparison startup, raises $100k from Oman Technology Fund’s Wadi Accelerator http://bit.ly/2FvjEzM

SoftBank Vision Fund joins $300M investment round into Opendoor, US based real-estate platform https://tcrn.ch/2HDSA3Q

Sector News

Jeeny, Rocket Internet’s ride-hailing company, asked to shut down Jordan operations by regulator http://bit.ly/2U9MRIW 

HIMangel, Alex Angels, Cairo Angels, & AUC Angels Sign a Syndication Protocol http://bit.ly/2CBxBKV

CAFU, UAE fuel delivery startup, signs exclusive deal with Nakheel for boat owners on Palm Jumeirah http://bit.ly/2FE6yAt

Innovation Hubs across Iraq Coordinate to Launch the 1st Nationwide Hackathon http://bit.ly/2JMaJyp

Mastercard to invest $300M in Network International IPO http://bit.ly/2Oq6MOp

Masdar City launches startup accelerator specializing in clean technology and sustainability, The Catalyst http://bit.ly/2upN643 

Mubadala and Softbank Group launched Hub 71, a “tech hub”, also committing $142M (AED 520M) of investment to tech start-ups. This project is in conjunction with Abu Dhabi’s Ghadan 21 $13.6B stimulus package, but it was not clarified what the dynamics between the funds is. http://bit.ly/2USwkpR

Carriage, Kuwait HQ food delivery, expands to Egypt http://bit.ly/2HpeKqj

Joi Gifts expands to Cairo http://bit.ly/2OaeBaH

Uber launches “Uber Lite” (lighter edition of the app) in Saudi and the UAE (AR) http://bit.ly/2Of7uxR (EN) http://bit.ly/2FnSOtv

Egyptian Central Bank sets up a 1B EGP ($57M) to support Fintech startups http://bit.ly/2ulF63P

Further Readings: The Bigger Economic Picture

Oman has launched a Vision2040 to be driven by digitization http://bit.ly/2HGpPmj

Saudi’s Alfanar and Huawei sign agreement to “co-create 5G and IoT solutions that will accelerate the digital transformation of the Middle East’s electricity industry” http://bit.ly/2HDfZCn 

Alhokail Medical Group, Saudi, announced plans to inaugurate its first full-fledged digital medical complex in Bahrain at a value of $13.2M http://bit.ly/2HHGmqM

Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group, massive regional retailer, diversifies into solar energy in partnership with Dubai Investments Park (DIP) and delivered by Yellow Door Energy http://bit.ly/2Wq3hdz 

Saudi Aramco to Buy Majority Stake in Petrochemicals Producer SABIC for $69.1B https://on.wsj.com/2HIdq21

Long Reads

UK Lebanon Tech Hub launches Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2018 report for Lebanon http://bit.ly/2OrrEVk 

The re-rise of Egypt’s economy

Egypt’s back baby! (Yes, I have always been a fan!)

The Egyptian tech ecosystem had slipped into silence for a few years, but it seems the slump is over: Investments in startups in up and growing . The African Business Angel Network (ABAN) even ranked Cairo Business Angels as the second most active angel network in Africa (followed by Tunisia’s Carthage Angels) < from the Week#18 roundup 

Egypt has also recently a witnessed a rise in media and business expansions from Noon.com, Namshi and Carriage to TBWA!

… and it’s not just about selling to a country of 100M. It’s also about about tapping into Egyptian talent: from the re-launching on Flat6Labs Cairo, to Startup Bootcamp’s new Fintech accelerator, Enara Capital and Falak accelerator’s clean technology investment fund, and a new angel investment syndicate launched (above).

The Egyptian Central Bank even set up a 1B EGP ($57M) to support Fintech startups (also, above).

I hope 2019 being the resurge of Egypt’s good streak!

(Yes, Central bank subsidies have not been the most directly successful vehicles the past few years.. but they have created early stage stimulus that we have yet to judge the mid-term value of)

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