MENA’s Digital News, Week #28

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

This week was so packed I had to further split sections and cut out some news to make it even reasonable to follow! Good times ahead

Investments (and 1 IPO)

Network International Sells $1.4B of Stock in Europe’s Biggest IPO of 2019 YTD https://bloom.bg/2uWGtpZ 

YaLLa Esports, MENA esports entity, raised seed funding round from a group of “strategic investors” http://bit.ly/2U4QI62 

Haseel, Saudi fresh food’s mobile app, raises funding led by Riyadh Taqnia Fund and joined by Vision Ventures and 500 Startups (EN) http://bit.ly/2KuUhCU (AR) http://bit.ly/2XbNFuP 

PointCheckout raises $600k from Arzan VC, 500 Startups, Dubai Angel Investors, Hala VC, and DTEC Ventures. http://bit.ly/2UqDTI5 

CaptainPanel, Kuwaiti SaaS for maritime activities, raises $1.2M from Faith Capital and 500 Startups. (CaptainPanel is an expansion of Fishfishme, the yacht/boat booking platform started in 2012) http://bit.ly/2GhDf63 

Oliv, dubai based career portal, raises $2M in series A ed by Aloshban and Alnamlah Family Groups in Saudi Arabia, and Mohammed Khoory in the UAE http://bit.ly/2OVvJl2

ProTenders, Dubai based “construction intelligence and procurement company”, raises $3M in pre-series A from undisclosed investors http://bit.ly/2UIZTNC

ArabyAds raises $6.5M in funding from Equitrust, the investment arm of Choueiri Group http://bit.ly/2OScbhz 

Shedul, booking platform for salons and spas, raises $20M in Series B at a $105M valuation https://tcrn.ch/2Z1npVr  

AWOK.com, Dubai based e-commerce platform, closes $30M series A from StonePine ACE Partners and Al Faisaliah Ventures and co-invested by Endeavor Catalyst http://bit.ly/2G9qR9k 


Noon “acquires” Sivvi, Dubai based eCommerce, owned by Rashid Al Abbar, Mohammed Al Abbar’s Son http://bit.ly/2VpNScZ 

Bayut acquires Rocket Internet’s property portal Lamudi in UAE, Saudi & Jordan to fuel its expansion across GCC http://bit.ly/2UKr3E2

Vista Global, Dubai based charter flights booking, to acquire JetSmarter, US based on demand charter booking app http://bit.ly/2IrPMq

Property Finder to Acquire JRD Group, UAE-based real estate technology provider http://bit.ly/2U520Hp 

Sector News

Choueiri Group launches a TV attribution performance product, “Brand4mance” http://bit.ly/2D0isTl

Twitter MENA, signs content partnership deals with 17 media houses to produce / host featured content http://bit.ly/2GcSnmj

Reebok launches eCommerce site to serve the UAE and Saudi markets http://bit.ly/2IsWn3H

Uber partners with Dryve, egypt-based car-sharing platform http://bit.ly/2P1LM0V 

AlAnsari Exchange, UAE, to launch multi-currency travel card with Wirecard, Germany http://bit.ly/2uYaXIf

Zoho partners with Paytabs in MENA as part of their regional expansion http://bit.ly/2InGrzH 

Funding Ecosystem

Seedstars announces $100M fund to invest in African tech startups in collaboration with Paris based First Growth Ventures http://bit.ly/2D2fk9w

Saudi Arabia to Launch a Bank for SMEs http://bit.ly/2UuMx7B 

AfricInvest and Cathay Capital launch $169M African venture fund http://bit.ly/2P7XAyE

Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai Accelerator adds Mashreq bank as a backer for the program (Visa, HSBC and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) are already onboard). http://bit.ly/2Uu8epd

IFC is now backing both Startupbootcamp Fintech Cairo and AUC Venture Lab http://bit.ly/2KuDcsT

The World Bank allocates $200M to support entrepreneurship and SMEs in Egypt http://bit.ly/2Dac4Jz 

Mubadala opens NY office, focus on financial services, private equity https://reut.rs/2UNJ8kw

Government Support

UAE government to offer long-term (5 year) visas to start-ups, starting with the “top 100 startups” selected for the World Economic Forum that just took place in Jordan http://bit.ly/2U48XbP 

UAE and Saudi Arabia sign MoU to develop digital education system. MoU also involved university twinnings across 8 universities – no details on the MoU’s detailed outlook yet http://bit.ly/2DjOeez

Badir Program, Saudi, partners with Propeller in Jordan, http://bit.ly/2Ua00gU

Long Reads

Mintrics launches report on the State of Social Video in Egypt (in time for Ramadan preps) http://bit.ly/2G8Gn5f

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MENA’s Digital News, Week #24

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

Investments & Acquisitions

AvidBeam Technologies, Egypt big data analytics, begins Series A round with commitment from Egypt Ventures http://bit.ly/2tSiCXX 

Beehive, P2P SME Lending Platform, Raises Further $4M Investment as Part of a Series B Round from Riyad TAQNIA Fund (RTF) https://prn.to/2TeGwfm and expands to Bahrain http://bit.ly/2XHI6Fa 

Syarah, Riyadh-based online car marketplace, raises investment from Elm http://bit.ly/2tSMVhv

Blueground, Greek turnkey flexible rental apartments, raised $20M from VentureFriends, Endeavor Catalyst, Jabbar Internet Group and Kevin Ryan (angel) https://tcrn.ch/2H1MolN 

SoftBank Invests $350M In Delhivery, India based food delivery startup, at $1.6B valuation http://bit.ly/2NJvqZY and $1.5B in Grab, India’s top Uber competitor) http://bit.ly/2TCuM5M 

Mubadala Investment Company’s EU Fund led an investment into WeFox’s series B round which raised US$ 125M in funding http://bit.ly/2EQQ5sq

Sector News

ITP Media Group launches “ITP Gaming” which will focus on managing large scale gaming events, representing gaming publishers and influencers, and creating new multi-language games http://bit.ly/2TnWoM7 

Namshi to expand into Egypt http://bit.ly/2NE7qr4 

Wadi.com pivots to grocery-focus (used to sell everything) in the GCC companies it serves (twitter) http://bit.ly/2ITXN93 – the website now redirects to app with clear different branding and positioning wadi.com

Zomato raises $105M in it’s latest funding round led by Delivery Hero http://bit.ly/2EKYgWU and relinquished it’s UAE business to Delivery Hero to focus on increasing competition with Swiggy in India http://bit.ly/2NJhCP3 (Now Delivery Hero owns most of the regional food delivery players: Talabat, Carriage, Zomato UAE, and Hungerstation)

Paymate, Indian enterprise payment management, to expand to MENA supported by Visa (their partner in the Indian market) http://bit.ly/2NFfU1e

MidChains, Abu Dhabi-based blockchain enabled financial investment exchange, to open a crypto exchange business under the new Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Crypto Asset regulatory framework http://bit.ly/2XJB0jJ

Orange (Telecom) launches affordable 3G-featured phone in partnership with KaiOS Technologies and UNISOC in 16 MEA markets http://bit.ly/2C4KAEy 

The Food Battle .. continues.

.. yes it’s yet another battle in a long war.

In 2012 Delivery Hero was one of dozens of food delivery startups in Europe, and has since acquired half the market, or burnt out the other. In MENA, Delivery Hero financial results for 2018 show a two fold growth in MENA revenues (4 weeks ago) and it may be no surprise as they own most of the market!

Source: ArabNet

The latest acquisition increases Delivery Hero’s power of the delivery market and spells more trouble for Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Careem Now, who collectively hold a much smaller market share (confidential source) than Delivery Hero’s kingdom.

There are local players still standing strong to Delivery Hero’s dominance in Saudi: Wssel and Jahez. In Lebanon, Onlivery is still growing strong; Zomato launched delivery in 2018, however it is doing it in collaboration with other food delivery services (Toters). Egypt, Akelni ($1.2M funding), Yumamia ($1.3M funding) and ElMenus ($1.5 funding), are taking a crack at the market which may be big enough to share.

What’s interesting to watch is the new trend in lunch focused services like: LunchOn (Dubai, $3.5M) that specialize in curated lunch options, and Mumm (Cairo, $450k). As well as of vertical delivery like Cofe (Kuwait, $3.2M) and Sippy (Dubai) that provide a coffee shop market place to consumers.

Zomato did not drop it’s Dubai business due to losses, but the competition on its Indian home-turf with Swiggy has taken priority, and lets face it, India is a far larger market than all of MENA combined.

So next time you stare at Talabat, Carriage, and Zomato in the UAE deciding to order from either or, remember, it’s Rocket Internet anyway.

Reports & Long Reads

Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index 2019 http://bit.ly/2J4Bxt0 “

E-commerce in MENA: Opportunity Beyond the Hype” by Bain & Co’s http://bit.ly/2UoimM2

A Map of Health-tech in MENA http://bit.ly/2ETdk52

Further Readings: The Bigger Economic Picture

Petra Engineering Industries Company, Jordanian manufacturer, signed (the first ever deal in Jordan) with Siemens to supply Petra with the building technology and software to develop a line of smart HVAC and building management systems http://bit.ly/2NKmlzX

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

MENA's Digital News on Telegram

You now join the daily updates on whatsapp (admin posting only) right here