MENA’s Digital News, Week #4

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

Investments & Acquisitions

Careem raises $200M from existing investors, increasing it’s valuation to over $2B (EN) https://goo.gl/6kPEML (AR) https://goo.gl/wvnY3H

Unifonic, Saudi telecom startup, raises more than $21M in a Series A round from STV, Riyad TAQNIA Fund, Endeavor Catalyst, ELM, & Raed Ventures (EN) https://goo.gl/XYhcjx (AR) https://goo.gl/pJ2tS6

HitchHiker, Egypt’s crowd-shipping startup, raises its $200k seed investment https://goo.gl/XjbS79

Kashtah, Bahrain-based on-demand pool reservation, acquired by Kuwaiti Investors with plans to launch in Kuwait during 2019 https://goo.gl/4YN4gL

Emaar Invests in Texas based 3D printed housing technology startup ICON along with other investors https://goo.gl/GQUGWS

Sector News

UAEPASS, a National Digital Identity and Signature Solution, launched in partnership between Smart Dubai and the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) https://goo.gl/NisR1H

Dubai’s Emcredit launches blockchain powered payment with Pundi X POS systems https://goo.gl/2ibrvm

Ecommerce platforms in Egypt are now required to charge and remit VAT https://goo.gl/umfpe8 

New Pan-African Data Centre Association launched in Morocco https://goo.gl/nbVzvo 

Smaat launches programmatic advertising platform Shaheen https://goo.gl/JhLYAA 

The Lab:Suli, Iraq’s first co-working space launches in Sulaimani https://goo.gl/KHM5Gm

UAE-based global satellite operator, Yahsat launches YahClick in Zimbabwe https://goo.gl/FWP2bm

PolicyBazaar, Indian Insurtech startup back by Softbank, expands to the UAE https://goo.gl/TWco65

RYOT Studio, Verizon Adtech subsidiary, launches in MENA in partnership with ConnectAds https://goo.gl/kLKp6T

Further Readings

Softbank Vision Fund in active talks with UK based Oaknorth, digital lending platform, for potential investment, this would mark the fund’s 3rd UK investment https://goo.gl/osJxrw

Recent Books 

The Fix, How Countries Use Crises to Solve the World’s Worst Problems by Jonathan Tepperman
A global cruise exploring how different leader solved national disasters from lack of natural resources to fighting poverty. 

“…when confronted with an impossible situation, wisdom often lies in forgoing the optimal for the acceptable”

No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein
I wish we could apply this book to really life, but in my humble experience in the emerging world, the immediate realities of poverty, lack of access and education would make this utopia a little far off

“multinationals were competing in a race toward weightlessness: whoever owned the least, had the fewest employees on the payroll, and produced the most powerful images as opposed to things, won the race” – about the rise of brands that led to the election of the “Trump Brand”

The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis (audible Only)
Highlights the historic treasure trove of environmental data held at the US economic department threatened by corporate influence on politics and the lethal implications that can ensue due to ignore the facts on climate change. 


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In Personal News…

This has been published later than usual today, as I have been caught up with preps for a short vacation and work trip to Istanbul starting tomorrow to attend Startup Istanbul, and speak at Global South Tech’s Turkey Meetup. If you’re in town, do reach out or join either event!