MENA’s Digital News, Week #8

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Fakahany, Egypt-based grocery startup, raises $700k from Endure Capital and angel investors https://goo.gl/F51tNn

Bluering, Lebanon based fintech startup, raises Series A funding from Phoenician Fund (amount undisclosed) https://goo.gl/4mkua1 

WakeCap, UAE-based construction tech, raises $1.6M from Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Graphene Ventures, Abunayyan Holding, Inspire Ventures, SOSV, startAD Seed and SeedCo Capital https://goo.gl/5XvnN6 

VoltLine closes their pre-series A round at $1.28M with participation of Dubai Angel Investors – they had raised part from MEVP & Hedef Filo (& individuals) in August https://goo.gl/cqvsk7 

Twiga Foods, Kenyan marketplace for farmers and vendors, raises $10M investment led by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme, with participation from previous investors including Wamda Capital. https://goo.gl/pGeH1n

Mubadala Ventures Leads $60M Funding Round Into US Logistics Tech Firm Turvo https://goo.gl/XV7dxw

WISE Power, Kentucky based Internet of Things (IoT) energy storage company, raises $3M from Saudi based SilverNote Investment Capital (among bigger round) https://goo.gl/f42rVD 

Sector News

UAE based payment processor Network International seems to have plans for a $3B IPO, no date set, but IPO advisers have been hired https://goo.gl/rQbFzC

DMS, Choueiri Group’s digital arm, adds Zee Network’s “Weyyak” to its portfolio of Video-on Demand (VoD) platforms https://goo.gl/VdwMBj

Slighter, Lebanon based hardware startup, a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree https://goo.gl/12oZm7

Google Pay launches in the UAE https://goo.gl/fRPBNR 

Spotify launches MENA wide https://goo.gl/FZmHYJ 

X8, Swiss cryptocurrency firm, gets certified for Sharia compliance by the review board, in plans to launch in MENA https://goo.gl/dwEmbH

500 Startups launches pre-accelerator program with Misk Foundation in Saudi https://goo.gl/Dn152N

Modus Capital, New York based venture capital firm, plans to expand into Egypt with incubation, seed and series A investment, and coworking space https://goo.gl/vZtyYs

UAE’s Al Zarooni Group and US’s Crypto Bulls trading house to open the first official crypto-currency exchange to be registered in the UAE https://goo.gl/CXEmp5 

Batelco Signs Deal To Build New Bahrain Data Centre With Huawei https://goo.gl/cVSvYD 

ADGM Signs MOU with Central Bank of Bahrain to Promote Fintech https://goo.gl/c1x6qR

Further Readings

Egypt Fintech Ecosystem by AsokoInsights

Saudi children are among the youngest in EMEA that receive smartphone, at approximately 7 years of age (AR) https://goo.gl/b1mFDC 

According to the Arab Investment Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, China now holds nearly a third of the foreign direct investment (FDI) stock in the Arab word https://goo.gl/C275wL 

Github launches it’s growth numbers with promising MENA prospects highlighted: Algeria is the fastest growing country by repository creation, and Egypt leads the way in the highest number of open source repositories https://goo.gl/Rz1bKh

Fintech Landscape maps of Bahrain https://goo.gl/b2WMG3 & Egypt https://goo.gl/1XDpZ3 

Long Reads

Faith Capital release a MENA Venture Capital Regulatory Framework white paper https://goo.gl/MjxcZD 

ESCWA launches their 2018 “Fostering Innovation in Small and Medium Enterprises in the Arab Region” report https://goo.gl/ZCcQXb

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Wow, this week was eventful, and long. I will post a snippet or two of personal thoughts on some regional news later in the week, as I have to rush out early for a long day in the wilderness. 

Thoughts about the newsletter:
Given how much vertical news there seems to be (mostly fintech and occasionally crypto), I’m considering spinning those out into a separate section or even post altogether… what do you think?