MENA’s Digital News, Week #22

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Mile, Dubai-based delivery and logistics management platform, raised seed funding (amount undisclosed) in round led by Riyad Taqnia Fund http://bit.ly/2SHnnTf 

Feel22, Lebanon’s beauty eCommerce platform, raises series A funding by Equitrust, Choueiri Group’s investment arm http://bit.ly/2S86FHE 

Golden Scent, Saudi perfume and scents ecommerce, raises an undisclosed funding round from existing investors http://bit.ly/2XhILNx

Nalbes, Kuwait’s local online fashion-centric, raises $2M in series B http://bit.ly/2E34HmI

LUNCH:ON, Dubai-based lunch subscription, closes $3M series A round, led by Wamda Capital, EATventure, Arzan VC and Abu Nayyan Holding (for expansion in UAE + to Saudi) http://bit.ly/2GtO1bB 

GoodsMart, Egypt-based grocery startup, secures funding from Algebra Ventures in pre-series B http://bit.ly/2GL548y 

Mad’a Investment Company, Saudi-based private equity & venture capital firm, invests in Dubai based Family Souk Ventures and its online retail subsidiary Babysouk.com http://bit.ly/2ImOqyy 

SEED Group, The Private Office of Sheikh bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, names INVAO as “exclusive” intl. blockchain investments partner http://bit.ly/2BDv5Di (this marks the second foray in crypto-assets publicized by SEED Group, scroll to last Wednesday for the first)

Haute Hijab, NY-based eCommerce startup co-founded by ex-MarkaVIP’s Ahmed Zedan, raises $2.3M in seed funding led by Cue Ball Capital with Ludlow Ventures, Sinai Ventures, Maveron, Muse Capital, AngelList and The Helm http://bit.ly/2EgXQYo 

Sector News (sectioned)

Aramex sells India unit to logistics startup Delhivery http://bit.ly/2GvKGZG

OSN officially launches low-cost Saudi offering El Farq http://bit.ly/2T5JYbo 

DMS announces the launch of its new digital ad performance product “DMS Perform http://bit.ly/2Sdfksn 

Expansions

Skiplino, Bahraini digital queue service, expands into Kuwait http://bit.ly/2SNCISj 

Deliveroo launches in Kuwait with 900 restaurants http://bit.ly/2SUkLSh 

Hepsiburada, Turkey’s Amazon.com, launches it’s first foray into global markets with it’s first Arabic and English website editions http://bit.ly/2SGib24

If you lose me you know where to find me!

LEGO opens offices in Dubai to support expansion http://bit.ly/2X9bqUX 

All Egypt

Noon confirms expansion to Egypt http://bit.ly/2SMlh4A

TBWA expands to Egypt through partnership with AB Group http://bit.ly/2GtnVWd

Uber agrees to pay VAT in Egypt https://reut.rs/2Sd1uGa 

Financial Technology and Blockchain

Apple activates Apple Pay services in Saudi Arabia ahead of official launch http://bit.ly/2Gw2J1T 

STC Pay launches international remittance service in partnership with Western Union http://bit.ly/2T2TmwD 

Dubai Caesars Bluewaters will start using Lucid Pay blockchain wallet technology (already in use by Atlantis Hotel and Resort) http://bit.ly/2V5wIRy 

TradeAssets, the blockchain-powered e-marketplace for trade finance assets, is now live with 25 banks http://bit.ly/2TZLzNh 

Further Reading

Flexport, a software-focused freight forwarder, raises $1B in funding led by Softbank Vision Fund http://bit.ly/2E53Th9

Mubadala to launch a $400M fund for EU tech investments with Softbank as an investor http://bit.ly/2BFhT0F 

Dubai Ports World extends acquisition of P&O, the British freight firm, to include subsidiaries: P&O Ferries and P&O Ferrymasters http://bit.ly/2twNGMY

The re-birth of blockchain

I have along anticipated that the hype over blockchain would die off and we’ll get a more mature applicable understanding of how the technology can be used to simply make transactional, verification or contractual ledgers work more seamlessly.

Well it seems we’re finally getting there. Less over-hype and more business-as-usual.

From hotels using crypto-based wallets for on-premise transactions (above), blockhain powered trading (also above), cross border remittances powered by Ripple and custom clearance at ports (Week#15), as far as even developing a single use crypto-coin to settle cross border trade (Week#12), blockchain powered POS systems (Week #4), Islamic Digital Sukuk (Week#3), and all of Week#13‘s crypto-section.

While popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and Ripple have slipped in market valuation, that’s not a indication of it’s practical value as a technology.


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MENA’s Digital News, Week #19

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Melltoo, Dubai-based secondhand ecommerce platform, closes bridge round from 500 Startups, KISP Ventures, Khwarizmi Ventures and Shorooq Investments http://bit.ly/2B3dCnu

VentureSouq invests in US-based Oxygen, digital bank, focused on freelancers and the gig-economy http://bit.ly/2t0axQQ 

Sector News

Saudi’s PIF hedged most of its 4.9% stake in Tesla http://bit.ly/2Wt6Osh 

Oyo, Indian hotel management chain, signs tech deal with Saudi’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah http://bit.ly/2Dx4n0o 

Saraha, Saudi anonymous posting app, launches “Enoff” an app for anonymous office-place harassment reporting (AR) http://bit.ly/2ML1HPH 

Swvl, Cairo’s on-demand shuttle service, expands operations to Nairobi, Kenya http://bit.ly/2HBuHe9 

Viu, Singapore-HQ OTT service with MENA presence, launches original content series in Saudi Arabia http://bit.ly/2HDLfCh

Etihad Airways the launch of an in-house AI academy in partnership with Microsoft http://bit.ly/2UsWAXb

Wired Middle East to launch with a partnership between Condé Nast International and Nervora http://bit.ly/2G2G1Ov

Further Readings

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Union National Bank (UNB) to merge and together to acquire Al Hilal Bank http://bit.ly/2MEQ2SI

Independent Arabia has been launched under a licensing agreement between the UK news brand and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) http://bit.ly/2HHFnHZ

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announces a Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank Merger http://bit.ly/2HwE7rb

China is looking to increase investment in the UAE via an “Annual Investment Meeting” http://bit.ly/2CUPYK4 

MSCI and Saudi’s Tadawul launch a tradeable index: MSCI Tadawul 30 Index http://bit.ly/2WzHr8b


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

MENA's Digital News on Telegram

MENA’s Digital News, Week #17

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

This week’s round up is late, I’m catching up on winter in Lebanon and was frankly enjoying the weather a tad too much yesterday to sit in front of a computer.

Investments & Acquisitions

Yawmi, Dubai-based food startup, just closed a seed round from Shorooq Investments https://goo.gl/xKFCxt

Lucidya, Saudi-based arabic social media monitoring platform, raises ~$1M (4M SAR) in Series A funding from BIAC (EN) https://goo.gl/SXWJSH (AR) https://goo.gl/3RyJns

Dubizzle has now been fully acquired by Naspers, $190M was paid for remaining equity. https://goo.gl/V6Kxg8 

Aramex Acquires Saudi TAL for Commerce and Contract Company Ltd (“Saudi TAL”), for approximately $80M https://goo.gl/VygCas 

Modanisa, Turkish modest fashion eCommerce, sells minority stake to Goldman Sachs https://goo.gl/BnU3s6 

Sector News

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is looking to make equity-free investments of up to $100k in startups using data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) or similar technologies. https://goo.gl/KSLxZ3

Saudi Government issues regulations and permit procedure for personal and commercial drones https://goo.gl/VcAS4S

Chinese consumer electronics and mobile communication company, Oppo, launched in Saudi Arabia, and commits to helping MENA countries foster 5G powered innovation through Qualcomm partnership and AI R&D https://goo.gl/EibLZK

Google Assistant launches Arabic Language Support in Beta https://goo.gl/LTcZDF 

Further Readings

DP World to buy a 71.3% stake in Chile’s Port Service Puertos y Logistica SA https://goo.gl/eHfYPN

Vietnam’s Yeah1 Media Group acquire’s MCN’s ScaleLab, Youtube multi-channel management platform, which has offices in Latin America, Russia, the UK, and the Middle East https://goo.gl/yp3zNC 

ZDNet: Middle East tech: What does 2019 have in store?

Damian Radcliffe reached out before the end of 2018 to contribute to their annual 2019-predictions article on ZDNet.

I’m honored to be featured along amazing regional leaders such as Chris Schroeder, Jawad Abbassi, Sevag Papazian, and Jaime Galviz.

What does 2019 hold for the region, check out the article here.

Long Reads

African Venture Capital 2018 Report – $725.6M Invested In 458 Deals https://goo.gl/4ZZrCS


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