MENA’s Digital News, Week #46

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

Investments & Acquisitions

NowPay, Egypt-based payday advance startup, raises $600k in Seed funding from Endure Capital and 500 Startups http://bit.ly/2Zxq0pf 

Mecal, eCommerce platform focused on men’s accessories, raises investment from Ibtikar Fund and Innovative Startups and SME’s Fund (ISSF) – amount undisclosed http://bit.ly/345jdq8

Trolley, Egypt-based grocery delivery, raises $200k in funding from a Kuwaiti angel investor It’s unclear if that funding is inclusive of the amount raised from Y Combinator or not http://bit.ly/2PdqLUu 

Falcon Network, Dubai-based angel investment network, invests $450k in 6 startups: Aion Sigma, Caravan, Saaya Health, Teacherly, Virtual i Technologies and Workaround http://bit.ly/2ZueDT3

SINC, Bahrain-based workforce management startup, raised $250k led by Dubai Angel Investors and other regional investors for expansion http://bit.ly/340gnmB 

Platform 9, US-based fully managed hybrid cloud platform, raises $25M in series D led by NGP Capital, joined by Mubadala Ventures and others https://tcrn.ch/2NDqgAE

Drop, Canadian retail offers startup, raises $44M led by HOF Capital (a fund led by some of Egypt’s wealthiest family groups) https://tcrn.ch/2NvGrQI

Cisco acquired US-based Voicea (Egyptian founders); Voicea had previously acquired Dubai-based Wrappup & their team, which are now a part of the second acquisition. Wrappup had raised investment from BECO Capital, 500 Startups, Arzan VC, Womena, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Dubai Angel Investors, and Hala Fadel http://bit.ly/2Zsnj8g 

Sector News

Jordan introduces new taxes for social media, influencers and eCommerce http://bit.ly/2MJniLB 

Eventtus, Egypt HQ event platform, expands to Saudi http://bit.ly/2zq4VlO 

Paytm, India, plans expansion of Paytm Mall & eBay into the Middle East http://bit.ly/2ZskzrA 

Aster DM Healthcare to setup an “Aster Innovation and Research Centre” between GCC and India http://bit.ly/2Hsr1ZI 

Viu, Asian content streaming platform with operation in MENA, announces collaboration with Wattpad “social storytelling platform” to produce more original content http://bit.ly/2Hpci1s 

Fintech

BLOMbank, Lebanon, upgrades existing NFC-enabled BLOMPay, mobile payment service, with Mastercard integration http://bit.ly/2Znb10S 

ADGM Reglab, Abu Dhabi, adds 4 more startups: DAPI (UAE), PointCheckout (UAE), Jibrel Network (Switzerland) & Ekofolio (Luxemburg) http://bit.ly/2PdzBle 

Central Bank of Bahrain issues final rules on “insurance aggregators” http://bit.ly/33WftY4 

Tunisian Post launches a QR payment solution “Masterpass QR” in a bid to encourage mobile payments http://bit.ly/2Ht7qs1

Long Reads

Snapchat commissioned a study of Saudi Nationals usage of the platform: Saudi’s watch more online video than traditional TV; 80% view premium short-from videos more here: http://bit.ly/2L6MwA7 

Pew Research Center conducts study “In Emerging Economies, Smartphone and Social Media Users Have Broader Social Networks” on users in 11 countries including: Lebanon, Jordan & Tunisia:
*Users reported using smartphone for getting regular news: 55% Jordan (highest), 51% Lebanon, only 31% Tunisia
*Look up health related information: 70% Jordan (highest), 61% Lebanon, 54% Tunisia https://pewrsr.ch/2MBuIAc

Further Reading

Lulu Group, UAE based retail conglomerate, announces plan to invest $500m in Egypt as part of its expansion into the country http://bit.ly/2Ufq3oQ

For the weekend:

“If you invest in yourself, no one can take that away from you”
– Warren Buffet


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Published by

Racha

A passionate geek and believer in the power of entrepreneurship. I work to create inspiring dialogues for people to learn and flourish. I have spent the last 6 years traveling around MENA (and abroad) building and conducting conferences, competitions, challenges and conversations.