A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and public sector news.
Investments & Acquisitions
Halan, Egypt-based on-demand tuktuk & motorcycle service provider, raises Series A funding from Battery Road Digital Holdings and Algerba Ventures https://goo.gl/Kk4qSK
Buseet, Egypt-based bus booking startup, raises funding from Vision Ventures https://goo.gl/UWHfyf
Gathern, Saudi-based Airbnb for chalets, raises seed funding from Vision Ventures, Inspire Ventures, 500 Startups, Aquilaria Capital Management Fund, and Deyarat Trading Company https://goo.gl/2hiHbn
Meddy, Qatar-based doctor booking platform, raises money from Egypt’s Modus Capital https://goo.gl/QReTS9
ResMed acquires digital respiratory health company Propeller Health. While both companies are in the US, the investors of Propeller health include Hikma Ventures, Corporate VC for Jordan’s Hikma Pharmaceuticals https://goo.gl/tLZntA
Abu Dhabi’s ASGC Construction partners with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) for smart city innovation https://goo.gl/wqegRB
UNICEF is looking to partner with accelerator programs for open-source early stage startups in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia https://goo.gl/nLfeQM
Altibbi, Digital Health Care platform, has partnered with Telecom Egypt (WE) to launch a nation wide telehealth initiative https://goo.gl/VUeWDH
Tunis issues new “Tunisian Startup Act” law to support startup growth in the country https://goo.gl/oHsiVL
First Hackers/Founders event took place in Sudan on December 1st https://goo.gl/TCqyV4
Now the fintech news:
Dubai has developed regulations for security token offerings (STOs) as is evident with Aelf’s (crypto-coin) local partnerships https://goo.gl/543Dth
Qatar Financial Centre Partnering Up with Europe based B-Hive https://goo.gl/FWcJCt
Bahrain Economic Development Board Signs MoU with Maharashtra Government (India) to Cooperate in FinTech https://goo.gl/w5cVnq
African Fintech Ventures Map highlights companies in Morocco, Tunis, Egypt and Somalia https://goo.gl/GfKW1r
Landscape of Fintech Companies in Morocco https://goo.gl/CfwfBT
The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round
Did we reach a new battle frontier: king of the mass-commute sector?
Let’s face it, taxi ride hailing is not for everyone. It’s expensive for the majority of populations to adopt on daily basis, especially in emerging markets. The opportunity is even more alluring when combined with the lack of (or deteriorating state) of public transport in these markets.
But it all happened too fast:
- Sep 25: Careem acquired Commut, Indian bus-shuttle service
- Sep 26: Buseet, Cairo based shuttle service, raises investment from Cairo Angels & 500 Startups, round was finalized with an investment from Vision Ventures yesterday (Dec 6)
- Nov 25: Swvl, Egypt’s bus hailing app, raises Series B at $100M valuation and plans to expand to East Asia
- Dec 4: Careem launches bus service in Egypt
- Dec 5: Uber launched UberBus in Egypt
Targeting the same demographic: Halan (mentioned above) also just closed Series A round, to provide motorcycles and tuktuks on-demand.
The shuttle services are of course not unique to MENA, Grab (Singapore) has shuttle service offerings since last December 2017 and recently expanded that service to include school and airport shuttles. Of course it’s truce with Uber in Singapore has helped focus it’s efforts on serving new segments instead of burning cash on competition
Mass commute is a space that ride-hailing companies have tried and failed to crack in the past, so it’ll be interesting to see who will acquire whom first.
Softbank’s Vision Fund is hiring an investment team to be based in China’s Shanghai https://goo.gl/4oXeVS and has now raised $98.58B of it’s $100B goal from 14 investors, up from $93.15B from eight investors a year ago https://goo.gl/WJiY3i
Ajman (UAE) Department of Finance case study using Salesforce https://goo.gl/Q1Gy8f – queue govtech startups that can provide services via API
Addis Ababa has overtaken Dubai as the world’s gateway into Africa, with Ethiopian Airlines now traveling to over 60 destinations on the continent https://goo.gl/HGA81e
Noon.com sponsors Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad Football team, the “biggest sponsorship deal in the history of the club” (AR) https://goo.gl/SkPLJo
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