MENA’s Digital News, Week #49

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Teacherly, UAE-based edtech platform, raises funding from Shorooq Partners http://bit.ly/2kD8BNF

UPayments, Kuwait-based epayment provider, raises seed funding from Angel Investors http://bit.ly/2kGzDnm

Wahed Invest (Wahed), raises a “multi-million dollar investment” from Dubai Cultiv8 Investments Limited, a subsidiary of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Fund for SME (an integrated division of the Department of Economic Development) http://bit.ly/2lX2Muy

Investcorp, Bahrain, to acquire Italy-HQ ticketing platform Vivaticket which has more than “2,100 clients across 50 countries including Walt Disney World, Musee du Louvre and FC Barcelona” http://bit.ly/2m07jww

Etisalat, UAE, to acquire full ownership of cybersecurity firm Help AG’s businesses in the UAE & Saudi http://bit.ly/2mmKsLz

Sector News

Swvl expands into two new cities in Pakistan and launches engineering office in Karachi http://bit.ly/2kgQTiC

Halan, Egyptian tuk-tuk startup, to expand to Ethiopia https://reut.rs/2ksDJzh

Dubizzle, UAE-based Olx subsidiary, launches a new portal for listing off-line projects in the UAE http://bit.ly/2m0OusK

Ipsos shares stats on Subscription video on demand (SVoD) in Saudi Arabia for 2018 http://bit.ly/2lWFHs4

Fintech

DIFC FinTech Hive’s 2019 Accelerator Program accepts 31 Startups for their upcoming cycle. DIFC provides support for three month but no direct equity based investment http://bit.ly/2kJPgKA

National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) joins trade finance blockchain network Marco Polo, which has 22 members including Mastercard, BNP Paribas, ING & Standard Chartered http://bit.ly/2mfD3xF

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) launches blockchain-based trade finance http://bit.ly/2kMjywj

EmiratesNBD, UAE, to launch audio banking capabilities through Amazon Alexa http://bit.ly/2lTdkuH

Further Reading (Policy & Economy)

Egypt to start work on $2.4B telecom network for first phase of a new capital city https://reut.rs/2mfDqZ5

University of Bahrain (UOB) announced the launch of a new cloud computing degree program in collaboration with AWS Educate Cloud Degree initiative http://bit.ly/2lV9elW

Egypt Cabinet approves Ride-Hailing Apps Act, which will require companies and drivers to pay, registration, licensing, taxes and social insurance http://bit.ly/2kTdFNU Official Gazette (AR) http://bit.ly/2lZxDXp

Central Banks of UAE and Saudi lower interest rates after US Fed cut http://bit.ly/2mqvdBz

Rand Merchant Bank, South Africa, 2020 investment report says Egypt is still the most attractive country to invest in in Africa, followed by Morocco, then South Africa http://bit.ly/2mhUsFQ (full report will be available in Jan 2020 for non-RMB clients)


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MENA’s Digital News, Week #48

This is last weeks post due to challenges with the hosting service, cancellation and transfer to a new host. We’re up on running now!

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Shelvz, Lebanon-based Saas-workforce management platform, raises funding from iM Capital http://bit.ly/2kfmMIv

Foloosi, UAE-based fintech startup, closes a angel funding round of $500k (inclusive of the committed funding in June) http://bit.ly/2A5bxGA

Misk Growth Accelerator kicks off cycle with 11 startups, each of which will receive up to $100k in funding from Seedstars & Vision Ventures by end of cycle http://bit.ly/2kFN7zz

Sector News

Wired Magazine launches Middle East edition http://bit.ly/2LlmVVh 

Youtube launches subscription based premium music streaming service in MENA http://bit.ly/2k6ehiG 

Arrow Labs, Dubai-based wearable workforce management, expands to the USA. They had raised a single funding round from Global Ventures (Dubai) in May, 2018 (amount undisclosed) http://bit.ly/2LoJUPz

Qatar blocks Uber’s acquisition of Careem within the country http://bit.ly/318Vx2y 

Fintech

CareemPay launches mobile top-up capability in Egypt and Pakistan http://bit.ly/2lQpeFw 

Accion Venture Lab & Fund, $33M, launches to invest in MENAP based startups focused on financial inclusion http://bit.ly/2A0bImT

Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM) grants the first full digital banking license to Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank, which will allow it to provide corporate banking services to Abu Dhabi based companies starting with ones based in ADGM http://bit.ly/2ZTVkmf 

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) is considering to expand the scope of digital currencies to banks & other countries http://bit.ly/30dybHr 

Central Bank of Egypt to launch over $50M fintech fund http://bit.ly/2kc7KDc 

Further Reading

Saudi’s Ministry of Labor launches a new platform to facilitate freelance work licenses in the kingdom (AR) http://bit.ly/2kaPzhc 

Egypt’s ICT Minister says they plan to launch 7 technological parks in 7 universities across Egypt, with EGP 1B (~$60M) budget from the government, and aims to increase ICT contribution to GDP to 4% by end of year http://bit.ly/2kFEFjE 

Egypt begins digitization of its energy grid http://bit.ly/2ka3qEr

Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, (owned by Mubadala) and the UK government have invested £70M ($86.5M) in a new green technology fund to be managed by London-based Zouk Capital http://bit.ly/2lIVsmk

Long Reads

The World Economic Forum publishes the 2019 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report. The UAE leads MENA enablement, infrastructure, ICT, labor and at a globally competitive level, however it’s not faring well on nature, openness and price. Full report here: http://bit.ly/2kqLhCF


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MENA’s Digital News, Week #40

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Clara, UAE based legal-tech startup, raises $2M seed financing from Techstars, 500 Startups, Wamda Capital, VentureSouq, Delta Partners, Shorooq Investments and Dubai Angel Investors http://bit.ly/32lwURg 

Washmen, Dubai-based mobile laundry, raises $6.2M in series B funding led by AddVenture joined by Henkel, Cedar Mundi Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners and Clara Ventures http://bit.ly/2XvILNH 

ChangeLab, Cairo-based accelerator, initiates their first cohort of 10 startups http://bit.ly/2G77bSV 

Fungible, Data center management and optimization startup, raises $200M Series C led by Softbank Vision Fund https://tcrn.ch/2YIBxCq 

Byju, India based Edtech platform, raises a $150M finacing round led by Qatar’s Investment Authority http://bit.ly/2G6X0Og 

Creditas, Brazilian lending platform, raises a $231M financing round led by Softbank Vision Fund https://reut.rs/2XEcTqm 

SURE International Technology, Saudi-based system solutions agency, acquires web & app development agency Maxsys for undisclosed amount in what looks like a capabilities acquihire (EN) http://bit.ly/2FYDO52 (AR) http://bit.ly/32bU506

Inking Ideas, India-based advertising and marketing agency, and Dubai-based Free-To-Air Bollywood movie channel Imagine Movies have announced merger http://bit.ly/2L8339h

Sector News

Saudi’s Misk Innovation, Seedstars and Vision Ventures launch new Saudi based accelerator http://bit.ly/2Xzmtpo 

Badir Program for Technology Incubators & Accelerators in Saudi, officially launches Haramain Technology Accelerator http://bit.ly/2L5BYUt 

Fawry, Egyptian online / mobile payment platform, to IPO on the Egyptian Exchange by next month eyeing a valuation of ~$300M http://bit.ly/2NJ1XDa (AR) http://bit.ly/32f5Gvz 

Saudi’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment issues official eCommerce Regulations, detailed law can be found on this link in Arabic http://bit.ly/32hgxVB no English draft is available as of yet, however the link to official announcement http://bit.ly/2XWrHQi and a small snippet of laws http://bit.ly/2XTaebD

STC pay, Saudi Telecom, partners with Paytabs & Hyperpay to integrate their payment solutions within their service http://bit.ly/32l9XO4 & http://bit.ly/2NK8Fsu

Spotify launches a Lite app edition across 36 countries including 12 MENA ones http://bit.ly/2NKRZRB 

Further Readings

Egypt may pass decree that grants investors a chance to acquire an Egyptian passport and/or permanent residence. An amendment to existing laws has already been issued to support (AR) http://bit.ly/2YMovEg

Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC, issues 4 new licensing categories (Short-term and Restricted Licenses, Commercial Permissions and Dual Licenses) with reduced fees http://bit.ly/2S43pi2

Sharjah decrees to establish an “Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport,” AASTMT, in the emirate http://bit.ly/2S1RMYO 

Dubai’s value of non-oil external trade with Saudi Arabia was 55B AED (~$15B) in 2018 http://bit.ly/2Jz7J57

Dubai’s DAMAC Properties, real-estate developer, to acquire Italian Fashion house Roberto Cavalli for ~$180M http://bit.ly/2YKGGtN


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