MENA’s Digital News, Week #44

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

I anticipate that we will be on hiatus next week, I can imagine there’ll be very little if any significant news to cover during Eid, so enjoy this edition and have a great time off!

Investments & Acquisitions

MoneyFellows, Egypt’s fintech startup that provides peer-to-peer loan facilities, raises a Pre-Series A round of $1M from existing investors 500 Startups and Dubai Angel Investors 

MidChains, Abu Dhabi-based blockchain enabled financial investment exchange, raises investment from Mubadala Investment Company, amount undisclosed 

Harmonica, Egyptian muslim-friendly dating app, gets acquired by Match Group (owner of Tinder and Harmonica was backed by 500 Startups and Flat6Labs Egypt. Acquisition value was not disclosed 

Liquefy, Hong Kong HQ tokenization and compliance solutions, announces “partnership” with SEED Group, The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, to expand the token industry in Dubai

Bykea, Pakistani on-demand transport, logistics, and payments startup, raises $5.7M in series A funding, $2M of which were committed by MEVP 

Jollychic, Chinese eCommerce platform, raises US$65M G42 Group, UAE, in a series C+ funding round 

UrbanClap, India’s home services marketplace, raises $75M lead by Tiger Capital and joined by Dubai based Vy Capital, and other investors 

C2FO, US-based Fintech, raises $200M led by Soft Bank Vision Fund 

Sector News

Circ, Berlin-based micro-mobility startups (scooters), establishes operations in Abu Dhabi, UAE 

Zee Entertainment’s Weyyak, Arabic Video On-Demand streaming application, rolls out paid subscriptions (previous usage was free)

BeyondCapital launches Ifada, an innovation program for finance fellows, via twitter

ENOC Group announced the launch of NEXT, an accelerator program for the energy sector, in partnership with BCG’s Digital Ventures, Moro (DEWA) and EY 

Addenda, Blockchain (distributed ledger) powered Insurtech startup, signs up Aman Insurance, Al Wathba Insurance, National Takaful Company (Watania), Noor Takaful and Oriental Insurance. Addenda is based in DIFC and backed by Beyond Capital (Jordan)

Bahrain Fintech Bay announces a partnership with BetaBlocks, US-based blockchain innovation and learning platform

Further Readings

MBC Group announced the launch of Creative Communities Collaboration (CCC), a public-private association of global media & entertainment executives “to strengthen ties and partnerships between the MENA region and the Hollywood entertainment industry”

University of Wollongong in Dubai launches a Game Design / Development Degree – This would be the first dedicated degree to gaming in MENA, after Ubisoft collaboration with TwoFour54 for a game development courses

Saudi Cabinet approves amendment on laws allowing adult female citizens to acquire a passport and travel without guardian consent (AR) 

Long Reads

IDC’s Worldwide Semi-annual Internet of Things Spending Guide: Saudi Arabia ($1.49 billion), Turkey ($1.24 billion), and the UAE ($0.65 billion), are expected to account for 62% of total IoT expenditure in the MEA region in 2019 (Full report available via subscription) 

The State of the Turkish Startup Ecosystem by Startups.Watch and the Turkish Investment Office

Property Finder releases their bi-annual Real Estate Trends Report, while most of the content is about the real estate market, this edition contains interviews and opinions about Proptech & Innovation from pages 108-127 of the Report

On my long weekend’s reading list:

Books: Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman, Sprint by Jake Knapp

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