MENA’s Digital News, Week #41

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


If you haven’t joined the daily updates, here’s a reason you should: consider:

One of the best if not the best signal to noise ratio channels in the middle East tech scene. Prepared by a team that has been covering tech for years. If you had one channel to add to your radar, start with this one

Kamal Mugahid, former Innovation lead @ du and Currently founder of SuperNode

To get your daily dose subscribe to MENA’s Digital News Telegram channel here or on Whatsapp. Follow the Arabic “MENA’s Digital News” Channels on Telegram & Whatsapp!


Investments & Acquisitions

COLNN, Egypt based school management Saas, raises seed round of $100k from Edventures http://bit.ly/2Y5GZ5k 

AlgoDriven, Dubai-based automotive data platform, raises $625k in pre series A funding from Oman Technology Fund, Dubai-DTEC Ventures, 500 Falcons, and Social Capital http://bit.ly/2Sgpxpj / http://bit.ly/2keMnkH

FineDine, Turkish SaaS management platform for F&B and hospitality, have secured investment from Savour Ventures (undisclosed amount) http://bit.ly/2YMZGYF 

Cryptyd, Alexandria-based mobile game development studio, raises pre-series A funding from Cairo Angels and Alexandria Angles http://bit.ly/30AmBXy 

Loay Academy, Bahrain-based online classes and accreditation platform, raises ~$1.1M from undisclosed investors (AR) http://bit.ly/30FtTJH 

Weego, Moroccan mobility startup, join’s Cape Town’s Startupbootcamp AfriTech accelerator http://bit.ly/30zrUXw

Capital Investment LLC, AbuDhabi, joins series F round (announced in May) with an additional $10M invested into Grofers, India’s grocery delivery startup. The round was led by Softbank Vision Fund and valued at $200M http://bit.ly/2Y6xXVJ 

Sector News

Careem launches Careem Now (food delivery) in Amman, Jordan http://bit.ly/2Y2Y3Zz 

Oasis500, Jordan, launches second investment fund: “Oasis Venture II Fund”, joined by the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD), the Innovative Start-ups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) and Arab Bank http://bit.ly/2YTQoKj

Al Baraka Islamic Bank, Bahrain, launches a “Global API Marketplace” inviting startups to tap into their system http://bit.ly/30BAZij (regionally, Jordan’s Arab Bank (Aug 2018) and UAE’s EmiratesNBD (Nov 2018) have launched such offerings) 

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Free Zone (DMCC) registered companies will now be able to establish a presence & operation in mainland Dubai under a facilitated DED license http://bit.ly/2JQM4VU

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has issued a new regulatory framework for robo-advisors, “digital investment managers”, operating in ADGM http://bit.ly/2XTHb3m 

Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, announces establishment of the Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems Institute (AI Institute) http://bit.ly/2JyhIsm (Jordan’s Princess Sumaya University also launched a Bachelor in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AR) last month)

UAE’s Ministry of Economy announced amended fees and fines prices for over 110 services including: Trademark registration, issuing and renewal of work permits and alteration of labor contracts, as well as labor transfer costs, “sale, merger and acquisition of foreign companies”, among others http://bit.ly/2XKeSJF (AR) http://bit.ly/2SbYGe8 (Full list should be available in the official gazette next month)

Saudi’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment issued new eCommerce Law last week, no official translation is available yet, but here’s a trusted unofficial one: http://bit.ly/2xIViOy

Long Read

Magnitt publishes “MENA Venture Investment Summary” report for H1 2019 http://bit.ly/2Gemp8E 


MENA’s Digital News, Week #38

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

First order of business: Farah Nakouzi has joined me to launch the Arabic “MENA’s Digital News” Channels on Telegram and Whatsapp!

Some changes will come to the weekly roundup soon, but I appreciate your patience 🙌🏻

Now let’s get to it, it’s been a long week!

Investments & Acquisitions

BSynchro, Beirut based insurtech, raises $1M from Berytech & Phoenician Fund http://bit.ly/2Fug6NQ 

Hopi, D2C contact lenses startups, raises seed funding from Esanjo (the latest venture of Jadopado’s Founder) – undisclosed amount http://bit.ly/2KxFXZk

Foodics, Saudi POS tech, raises $4M from Riyadh Taqnia Fund (RTF), Fatih Capital, Tech Invest Com and Naseel Holding http://bit.ly/2XJsQuF (AR) http://bit.ly/2KJDIT7 

Breadfast, Cairo-based baked goods and breakfast delivery startup, raises series A, led by 500 Startups & Egyptian angel investor, and gets accepted to YC combinator http://bit.ly/2KCM8M1

Sprii, eCommerce platform for mothers, raises $8.5M in funding from undisclosed investors http://bit.ly/2RwK6NO 

Noon Academy, Saudi EdTech startup, raises $8.6M co-led by Raed Ventures and Saudi Technology Ventures (STV) http://bit.ly/2KHWRVt (AR) http://bit.ly/2KH7UOu 

Elmenus, Egypt-based food delivery and discovery platform, is raising a series B with commitments currently secured from angel investors http://bit.ly/2NcMaw8

Beyond Capital, Jordan, announces investment in 5 startups under their Scout Program: Bilforon, 360Moms, Addenda, Silkroad Audio http://bit.ly/31VHaiP 

Sector News

Noon.com, re-announces free delivery on all orders. The first announcement was done last week, but was later withdrawn across channels http://bit.ly/2IVmnTB 

Tencent Games to open offices in Dubai’s Internet City http://bit.ly/2Jav1xK 

Oman’s Information Technology Authority (ITA) initiated a new accelerator in the sultanate: Sas Accelerator, powered by Google Developers Launchpad program. First cohort announced. http://bit.ly/2LcNSek

UAE Ministry of Economy approves Careem‘s acquisition by Uber http://bit.ly/2FwNJPn

Toters, Lebanon-based food delivery app, expands to Riyadh (announced via email only) 

Seedstars launched its second MENA hub in Morocco, with commitments to invest in startups through Investment Readiness Program and the Seedstars World. The first was in Cairo http://bit.ly/2Xckvjl 

Fintech

Souqalmal.com, Dubai-based insurtech startup, to expand services to Bahrain http://bit.ly/31TcwGA 

MENA Fintech Association (MFTA) was launched yesterday in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Arab Monetary Fund http://bit.ly/2WZrQhn 
Link to the MENA Fintech Association website http://bit.ly/2IDBsu8

DEX (Digital Assets Exchange) has secured in principle approval from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to operate a Crypto Asset Exchange http://bit.ly/2Yagqcb (this is the second digital asset platform getting initial approval this month) 

Central Bank of Egypt‘s old building in Cairo to be turned into a Fintech Campus. Announcement was made by Greek Campus and Sawari Ventures founder, Ahmed Alfi http://bit.ly/2J4TNQ1

A Public Sector Overhaul in the UAE

UAE’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)’s & Dubai 10X have collaborated on a new initiative: Rahhal, providing “innovative learning pathways blending traditional education with industry qualifications”. Under this initiative GEMS schools and Siemens sign an MoU signed a collaboration to build more integration between schools and industry http://bit.ly/2RvMcOa (to note: GEMS school just expanded it’s investments in Saudi last month)

UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, TRA, launches the ‘UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy’ http://bit.ly/2Xxg3Lw The strategy’s page and full length reading here http://bit.ly/2Xa8OtP (AR) http://bit.ly/2RB4rBN

Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi, announces: – New ~$1.2B R&D Fund – Energy consumption discounts to enterprises – “open data” access to gov’t collected data – shorter payment cycles for gov’t contractors, 30 days – increased number of services that can be applied for online http://bit.ly/2xdRrJ0

Further Readings

Tech/Digital

Snapchat study hows that users of the platform in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the two most dominant markets in using snapchat as a messaging platform http://bit.ly/2FyBTnD 

Byblos Bank, Lebanon, launches a new Data Center, “the only Uptime Institute Tier III certified constructed facility” http://bit.ly/2WZPiej

IBM is launching two new centers in Cairo: Industry Client Center and Marketing Services Center http://bit.ly/31Pk51f

Non Tech/ Digital (Economic)

PSA Group, French Peugeot Citroen manufacturer, launches factory in Morocco http://bit.ly/2KtwGBT 

Tunisia Secures $131.7M Fund from French Development Agency to Develop Its Smart Grid Project http://bit.ly/2KvwFgE

Saudi Arabia now accepting online applications for the permanent residency program http://bit.ly/2IB2Gl4

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) announces 15 MOUs and agreements with South Korean investors, around Artificial Intelligence for Healthcare, Solar Energy Sector among others http://bit.ly/322huBh

Long Read

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report on Economic Development in Africa 2019 http://bit.ly/2X8Kkw9


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

MENA's Digital News on Telegram

Or you on whatsapp (admin posting only) right here


MENA’s Digital News, Week #36

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

Hope you’re re-energized post Eid and back in full gear, also staying safe from the heat! A few of the email subscribers have mentioned that the auto-emails are arriving in a less than enticing manner, so bare with me this week and we’ll hopefully fix that for the next week 😉

It’s a long one. Go!

Investments & Acquisitions

The Stories Studio, Bahrain social gaming startup, has raised follow on funding from an Angel investor post graduation from Flat6Labs Bahrain http://bit.ly/2Zdw9ab 

Foloosi, UAE-based fintech startup, raises undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding from angel investor http://bit.ly/2WyTUYV 

Orcas, Cairo-based online marketplace for babysitters & tutors, raises $500k in pre-series A from Khaled Ismail, Kamelizer, and Cairo Angels http://bit.ly/2XAzoIu

Maroc Numeric Fund, Moroccan Government fund, announces its exit from Ma-Navette.com to Glen Invest (FR) http://bit.ly/2XLuAAe

Tenderd, Dubai-based heavy equipment rental marketplace, raises $5.8M sees round lead by Y Combinator and BECO Capital, and also includes Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Paul Buchheit, Justin Mateen, Matt Mickiewicz, VentureSouq, SOMA, Dynamo, and Global Founders Capital http://bit.ly/2WvtMxN 

Wadi.com app gets absorbed by Carrefour Saudi. Wadi was acquired by MAF earlier in May after it had pivoted to groceries delivery only in March. The shift to groceries may have been influenced by MAF as they had invested in Wadi during October 2018 http://bit.ly/2W2p8XT

Ivi, Russian VOD service, raises $40M lead by Mubadala and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) http://bit.ly/2QZA3Rl

FreshToHome, India’s fresh produce delivery startup, raises $11M in series A lead by CE Ventures, joined by Das Capital, Kortschak Investments, TTCER Partners, Al-Nasser Holdings, Abdul Azeez Al-Ghurair and M&S Partners http://bit.ly/2WsboWM 

Sector News

BeyondCapital raised $450K from Mercy Corps to invest in a pool of early-stage companies in Jordan http://bit.ly/2K0gTKs

Amazon Prime now available in the UAE for $4 http://bit.ly/2WquMmR 

Trolley, Kuwaiti e-grocery startup, partners with Jazeera airways, Kuwait’s low-cost carrier, to provide on-board convenience store http://bit.ly/2QQ1wEU

Swvl, Egypt shuttle service, expands to Nigeria and to launch in Lagos (they had launched in Kenya in January) http://bit.ly/2F1RHiz 

Oliv, Dubai-based career platform, announces expansion into Singapore http://bit.ly/2EYnEbs

Careem expands services to Basra, Iraq http://bit.ly/2Wuis5e 

XtreeE and Concreative, French concrete 3D printing companies, to set up 3D solutions production unit in UAE http://bit.ly/2WC7hwf 

Arabian Bourse (ABX), UAE crypto asset exchange and custodian, has received initial regulatory approval from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) http://bit.ly/2WHQ58G

Mastercard Partners with Bahrain FinTech Bay http://bit.ly/2wGquxs 

Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) is working on a draft law for crypto-related activities which will oblige financial institutions to obtain licenses creating, advertising or operating platforms that issue or facilitate trading of cryptocurrencies http://bit.ly/2Wz7Q9R

Long Reads

NUMBER AND VALUE OF INVESTMENTS BY YEAR

ArabNet’s State of Digital Investments in MENA 2013-2018 Report http://bit.ly/2WFn3qc

Further Readings (Non-tech news that should be on your radar)

GEMS Education buys Saudi school group Ma’arif, through a joint venture with Hassana Investment http://bit.ly/2XgpdZv (GEMS schools network grew substantially over the past two years in the UAE and are known among tech circles for continuously engaging with coding and entrepreneurship ecosystems) 

Egyptian Ministry of Public Works announced a plan to merge three public land #transport government companies into one entity and offer it as an opportunity for foreign investment (the system transports 1.4B passengers a year) http://bit.ly/2wNq7Rv 

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) and SEERA (previously Al Tayyar Travel Group) signed a strategic partnership agreement to strengthen travel demand from Saudi to Dubai http://bit.ly/2MEVSHr

Network International stocks now listed on FSE 250 Index raising over $1B since IPO http://bit.ly/2WGAPIX

Dubai Islamic Bank to acquire Noor Bank http://bit.ly/2WC4gM9

Dubai issues “new insolvency law for companies operating in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)” http://bit.ly/2IDLqe3


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

MENA's Digital News on Telegram

Or you on whatsapp (admin posting only) right here