A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and public sector news.
Investments & Acquisitions
Tabeeby, Kuwait based social health network, raises $770k from Ground One Ventures, a UK-based VC https://goo.gl/4RwJSU
Wasla, Egypt-based mobile internet provider, raises $180k in pre-seed led by a Cairo-based Private Investment Banker Omar Barakat https://goo.gl/qC8KY5
Nawah Scientific, Egypt based scientific research startup, raises $1M in pre-Series A funding from Endure Capital, 500 Startups, Averroes Ventures and Egypt Ventures https://goo.gl/qXxvyf
Little Thinking Minds, Jordan based edtech startup, raises $1.26M led by Algebra Ventures https://goo.gl/1QhhW4
Expensya, Tunisian SaaS for expense management, raises $4.5M from French investors ISAI and Seventure Partners https://goo.gl/wGSsG7
Agility, Kuwait warehousing and logistics leader, to invest $100M in Shipa Freight, Dubai based freight forwarding platform https://goo.gl/tcbbEq
Badr, Egypt based data solution startup, acquired by Incorta, US analytics company https://goo.gl/5t8wba
Vezeeta, Egytian healthtech startup, raises investment from IFC https://goo.gl/zniJ5Z
RiseUp, Egypt’s leading tech and entrepreneurship conference, raises seed funding led by Endure Capital, as well as Enara Capital, 500 Startups, and Kamelizer https://goo.gl/rXNrfc
Sawari Ventures raise $35M as part of its $70M fund to invest in Egypt, Tunisia, & Morocco https://goo.gl/dLrUsW
Mubadala and SoftBank invest in ParkJockey, American parking startup, at valuation over $1B https://goo.gl/cLd6eN
Tokopedia, Indonesian eCommerce, raises $1.1B led by Softbank’s Vision Fund and Alibaba https://goo.gl/aVN15v
Egyptian Minister announced plans to launch a Digital Library in collaboration with the UAE and Saudi, 26 international publishing houses have already signed https://goo.gl/vPc3te
OSN appoints new CEO, Patrick Tillieux, who served as chairman and board member https://goo.gl/of8qcN
Business Incubators and Accelerators Company (BIAC), collaborate with VentureSouq (VSQ) to launch a new investment services vertical within BIAC targeted towards Saudi startups https://goo.gl/LE4Fpk
MENA based investors: Mindshift Capital and Global Ventures, and Flat6Labs, commit to The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, to increase investment in women led startups https://goo.gl/pnEsUX
UAE regulators will expand their recognition of investment fund licenses https://goo.gl/fRhvam
US-Libya Space Camp Scholarship Program open and accepting applications https://goo.gl/Htsif4
Wamda launches “Wamda X” fellowship program that offers grants and co-working in Dubai Design District https://goo.gl/N8dBdt
Now the fintech news:
Two new fintech accelerators announce their launch at RiseUp Summit:
– Ahli Bank launched their Corporate Fintech Accelerator in Amman, Jordan
– Startupbootcamp, in partnership with Pride Capital, launched Fintech Cairo, Egypt https://goo.gl/2SoC4b
Egypt’s Enara Capital and Falak start-up accelerator sign MoU to establish new clean technology investment fund https://goo.gl/RSdATi
Beam Wallet announces plans to expand services into Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan in the next 6 month https://goo.gl/kmS9kE
UAE Exchange, to launch cross-border remittance to Asia via Ripple https://goo.gl/RGPHSb
EmiratesNBD’s Liv., has signed a service agreement with Australian payments fintech Verrency (They launched in 2016 and have raised $7.5M to date) ( https://goo.gl/AHmVjh EmiratesNBD also announced plans to expand digital services into Egyptian market https://goo.gl/ES857R
Network International has partnered with China’s Alipay to provide mobile payment service to Chinese shoppers https://goo.gl/pJ8m8B
Almoayed Technologies, first company to graduate from Bahrain’s Regulatory Sandbox https://goo.gl/8Uc3J8
It’s more than a decentralized financial market
The biggest fear that crypto-currency sparks in governments (and world leaders) is a potential radical shift in world order. Financial institutes, world trade agreements, fiat currencies, markets, regulators, and a plethora of institutions whose sole purpose is to maintain centuries of “order”.
The trade war between the US and China, renewed sanction on Iran, and looming financial bubbles have shown that maybe the centuries old dynamics are due for disruption.
Governments around the world are beginning to rethink the financial strong hold that the US and EU have on trade, and alternate paths (crypto- or not) and weighing the risks involved.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have announced that they’ll be using (their uniquely developed) crypto-currency for cross-border settlements.
The UAE also signed with India on currency swap agreement, amounting to 2B AED (35B INR), allowing the governments to settle directly in INR, strengthening the Rupee. As part of agreement travelers can use INR for purchases in the UAE without having to convert to AED (a first for the country)
India and Iran signed another a pact, based on which, Iran will accept payments for oil purchased by India in INR.
Russia and China have been settling bilateral trade in the yuan and ruble in sectors such as agriculture and machinery, and looking to expand that to new sectors as well.
Regardless of whether countries decide to build crypto infrastructures for the trade, or their respective local fiat currencies, a global shift is upon us. It will empower financial technology providers and open the door for more innovators. Maybe a chance for a true financial revolution, in lieu of the fourth industrial one.
Middle East Group suspected of series of hacks against telecoms, embassies and oil companies https://goo.gl/NM1gkh
London based Private Equity Firm, Actis, is bid to take over more than $2B of assets from Abraaj Group https://goo.gl/mc8dpe
Abraaj Credit Fund to Be Taken Over by Kuwait’s NBK Capital https://goo.gl/shHc9k
Sharp drop in Nvidia’s stock price impacts Softbank’s Vision Fund portfolio valuation https://goo.gl/PVdUuc
High-speed rail planned between Fujairah, UAE and Mumbai, India to exchange water, oil and passengers https://goo.gl/eS839z
“The Egyptian Startup Manifesto” launched at RiseUp Summit, read more about it here: https://goo.gl/oQ4z9P
ArabNet Business Intelligence launches report: “Corporate Artificial Intelligence Adoption Strategies and Implementation 2018″ by DSOA’s D-tec and NYUAD’s startAD https://goo.gl/kSLPth
According to the UN’s “B1C E-Commerce Index 2018” report, Morocco is 5th Most Ready for eCommerce in Africa, https://goo.gl/jKuJbc
To get your daily dose subscribe to the Tech In MENA telegram channel here: https://t.me/technologyinmena