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 (My two cents about this from late last year, read the last section)

GBarena, Giza-based esports and gaming community, has raised seed funding from HIMangel 

Receet, Palestine based payment digitizations service, raises investment from Ibtikar Fund

The Modist, UAE based conservative fashion ecommerce, raises “strategic investment” from Farfetch and Nicola Bulgari (Vice Chairman of Bulgari Group)

Jamalon raises $10M in Series B led by Wamda Capital, and joined by Anova Investments, 500 Falcons and Endeavor Catalyst 

Alibaba Group will be acquiring ABBC Foundation (Alibabacoin Foundation), Dubai-based crypto-developer of AlibabaCoin, as part of their lawsuit settlement over name trademark

Infibeam Avenues, Indian eCommerce player, plans expansion into the Middle East via a 51% acquisition by UniPropitia, UAE based investor

Smartchoice, Pakistani financial comparison startup, raises $100k from Oman Technology Fund’s Wadi Accelerator

SoftBank Vision Fund joins $300M investment round into Opendoor, US based real-estate platform

Sector News

Jeeny, Rocket Internet’s ride-hailing company, asked to shut down Jordan operations by regulator 

HIMangel, Alex Angels, Cairo Angels, & AUC Angels Sign a Syndication Protocol

CAFU, UAE fuel delivery startup, signs exclusive deal with Nakheel for boat owners on Palm Jumeirah

Innovation Hubs across Iraq Coordinate to Launch the 1st Nationwide Hackathon

Mastercard to invest $300M in Network International IPO

Masdar City launches startup accelerator specializing in clean technology and sustainability, The Catalyst 

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.

Carriage, Kuwait HQ food delivery, expands to Egypt

Joi Gifts expands to Cairo

Uber launches “Uber Lite” (lighter edition of the app) in Saudi and the UAE (AR) (EN)

Egyptian Central Bank sets up a 1B EGP ($57M) to support Fintech startups

Further Readings: The Bigger Economic Picture

Oman has launched a Vision2040 to be driven by digitization

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” 

Alhokail Medical Group, Saudi, announced plans to inaugurate its first full-fledged digital medical complex in Bahrain at a value of $13.2M

Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group, massive regional retailer, diversifies into solar energy in partnership with Dubai Investments Park (DIP) and delivered by Yellow Door Energy 

Saudi Aramco to Buy Majority Stake in Petrochemicals Producer SABIC for $69.1B

Long Reads

UK Lebanon Tech Hub launches Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2018 report for Lebanon 

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, 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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