MENA’s Digital News, Week #29

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Jumia raises $196M in New York Stock Exchange IPO http://bit.ly/2X9ueT6 

Inagrab, Bahrain based B2B analytics, raises follow-on funding from Faith Capital http://bit.ly/2Gmq2sj 

Foodics, Saudi cloud POS for F&B, raises bridge investment from Faith Capital (also) http://bit.ly/2UGBk4W

MerQ, Egypt AI, closes seed round at $800k valuation http://bit.ly/2VGJtTg 

Lunchon closes Series A funding at $5.5M http://bit.ly/2Devm0p 

Eyewa, Dubai-based eye wear ecommerce, raises $7.5M in Series A led by Wamda Capital, along with GS shop, Equitrust (Choueiri Group), 500 Startups and Faith Capital http://bit.ly/2IuJNAN 

Fordeal, Chinese cross-border global eCommerce platform, raised “tens of millions of dollars” in Series C funding from Chinese investors http://bit.ly/2ZcIxrR

Property Finder acquires Bahraini property portal ‘Bahrain Property World’ http://bit.ly/2v9eRhH 

Sector News

Arabic Added To Amazon Polly Text-To-Speech Cloud Service http://bit.ly/2DjYZgU

Aramex Inaugurates New e-Commerce Fulfillment Center in Dubai http://bit.ly/2UHMwhq

W Motors, Dubai based premium car manufacturer, to launch the region’s first “Automotive Academy” http://bit.ly/2DjUyTg

Drees & Sommer, international construction and real estate consultancy, has launched a Dubai-based innovation hub http://bit.ly/2XegIO8 

Uber Eats launches in Dammam, Eastern Province Saudi http://bit.ly/2Ukcti1 

Workz Group, Dubai-based mobile & IoT solutions provider, expands into EU with Dublin HQ http://bit.ly/2Kywcet

Anghami expands subscription to include video content – starting with Game of Thrones. http://bit.ly/2DgLMFm 

Long Reads

Mintrics Launches Online Video Analytics Report for Ramadan http://bit.ly/2VQhlgF

CrowdAnalyzer launches annual State of Social Media 2019 Report http://bit.ly/2VNwhMi 

Recently Read:

Technically Wrong

Technically Wrong by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. The challenge of tomorrow is that Artificial Intelligence is being built on the premise that today’s world is perfect and has all the answers, not on the conscious realization that we need to make the world a better, more “fair” place to live. That’s primarily because the majority of the engineers and decision makers behind AI are not subject to the abject discrimination and social ailments that the rest of the society is doomed for.

If we ever need to be afraid of AI, I would be fear the people developing and strategizing it, not the technology itself. We have seen that with drones, drugs, and chemicals, today it’s “artificial intelligence”

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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

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

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