MENA’s Digital News, Week #2

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Faith Capital invests $1.5M in Snapbook, online to print service. (AR) https://goo.gl/eDEFmv (EN) https://goo.gl/fQjn89

Mumzworld, mother and child ecommerce platform, closes $20M Series B investment round https://goo.gl/NWnGRD

iCommunity, mobile platform for real estate, raises $600K in Series A funding from Algebra Ventures https://goo.gl/chrA9Z

Sector News

Careem resumes services in Oman https://goo.gl/T8tw4X and has launched services in Sudan earlier in the month https://goo.gl/dc5ozR

Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) launch eCommerce platform “Al Mall” “المول” today (AR) https://goo.gl/4L7giY – SRMG is the holding company of Sayidaty Magazine which also operates Sayidaty Mall.

Storytel Arabia, audiobooks, partners up Jamalon as a distribution platform https://goo.gl/smBzRQ – Storytel is a Stockholm based audiobook company that has recently expanded into MENA. The regional audiobook startup space features startups such as Dhad, Kitab Sawti and Alrawi

A Big Week for Saudi Arabia’s Financial Sector

STCPay, man holding phone against QR code
Picture via Hashtag Saudi’s Twitter

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) inaugurated STCPay services on Tuesday October 2nd at a prestigious event with key market stakeholders. The service is already supported by Arab National Bank ATMs and some retail outlets. The live coverage of the event is available on STCPay’s twitter account. A small write up

Following the launch of STCPay (next day) Apple to affirmed  that their payment solutions will be launching in Saudi very soon (AR) https://goo.gl/vn6HN7 and have started testing it’s ApplePay service with some (AR) https://goo.gl/7Spuxe – followed by a tweet today from Mada urging the confirmation further (AR) https://goo.gl/6DW27q

Saudi Arabia has been broadening its digital payments offering and facilitating the move to a cashless society. Mada, a service launched by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, has allowed local consumers to use their local issued debit/credit cards to pay online, something was not possible without explicit bank permission for a substantial amount of consumers due to previous restrictions.

Now, when will AliPay, SmasungPay and GooglePay launch in the Kingdom?

Further Readings

Softbank Vision Fund invests in 2 proptech companies over the past week: Compass, $400M and Opendoor, $400M. Bringing Softbank Vision Fund’s investments in proptech up to $8B https://goo.gl/QYSqCY

Abu Dhabi launches 5-year plan for Smart Cities and AI: Zayed Smart City Project https://goo.gl/h61cPw

DFSA & Financial Services Authority of Japan sign fintech cooperation agreement https://goo.gl/6cTsSz

Saudi British Bank secures binding deal for $5 billion acquisition of Alawwal https://goo.gl/wvNDSq

MIT and Qatar Computing Research Institute are working on a training computers to detect fake news sites https://goo.gl/MtCGrJ

Telecom Egypt announced the 50% acquisition of its subsidiary Egyptian International Submarine Cable Company (EISCC) for $15M https://goo.gl/8s6zr8


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