GCC Ecosystem News Roundup by Dtec Ventures | December 2018

Dtec Ventures with d in yellow with startup ecosystem news December 2018.

Wishing you everyone an awesome 2019! As we say goodbye to 2018, Dtec Ventures brings you a recap of the highlights and news back in December. Scroll down for upcoming events and what’s to come as 2019 kicks off.



  • Yallacompare (financial comparison site, UAE) – $8 million, Series C, led by STC Ventures & Wamda
  • Little Thinking Minds (edtech platform, Jordan) – $1.27 million Series A led by Algebra Ventures
  • Tabeeby (social health network, Kuwait) – $770,000 undisclosed round, from Ground One Ventures (UK)
  • Ajeer (home services marketplace, KSA) – $500,000 Seed round, from two angel investors
  • PlanetPegasus (block-chain based gaming, UAE) – $100,000 Seed, from ArabianChain’s VC arm
  • Gathern (chalet booking platform, KSA) – undisclosed amount, Seed round from Inspire Venture, et al
  • Inagrab (AI deal assistant, Bahrain) – undisclosed amount, Seed round, led by 500Startups



  • Astrolabs launches coworking space in Riyadh, KSA. They also received incubator license from Saudi Arabian Government Investment Authority (SAGIA), allowing them to help startups expanding to Saudi with expedited licensing procedures & no capital requirements.


  • Souq.com opens a 23,000 sq.m. Dubai call centre, expected to create around 600 jobs. The office is the company’s 3rd fulfillment centre.
  • Aramex launches Aramex Fleet, a crowdsourced shipping model for last mile delivery for Saudi Nationals
  • Emirates NBD launches VAT-based loan solution for SMEs covering home, auto and business loans
  • Careem vs Uber:
  • Careem launched Careem Bus in Egypt. A day after their announcement, Uber launched Uber Bus, also in Cairo. Less than a month f launching Careem Bus, they quietly launched Tuk-tuks in Cairo.
  • Shortly after, Careem launched their food delivery services, Careem NOW in Dubai and Jeddah.
  • RTA announced that they will launch a new taxi service with Careem, after receiving bids from 5 other global ride-hailing services (rumored to include Uber).


  • Sawari Ventures raises $35M of its $70M fund for startups in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco
  • Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) takes insights from their Bahrain FinTech Bay experience in drafting the rules to regulate cryptocurrencies
  • Wamda’s second fund of $100 million expected to close in Q2 2019.Fund to be invested in Series A through to Series B, and to reach Africa and Pakistan.
  • Mubadala Investment Company of Abu Dhabi, announced the launch of its first San Francisco-based VC arm to oversee 3 areas: 1) the Mubadala Ventures Fund 1 of $400 million for early growth stage fund by Mubadala and Softbank, 2) Fund of Funds with $200 million to be invested in emerging and established fund managers and 3) its $15 billion commitment to Softbank’s Vision Fund.


  • Arabnet Startup Challenge, Dtec – 14 Jan
  • Intelak Cohort 5 Pre-incubation bootcamp, Dtec – 14, 16, 17, 21 Jan
  • Prototype Interactive Office Hours (Microsoft), Dtec – 16 Jan
  • Fintech Navigator Course by Pearson, Dtec – 19, 26 Jan
  • Workshop: “How to create a more balanced and fulfilled life as entrepreneur”, Dtec – 28 Jan
  • Step Conference, Dubai Internet City – 13-14 Feb


  • Sheraa Series A Program – 13 Jan
  • Startup Grind Accelerator Program – 15 Jan
  • WamdaX – 20 Jan
  • Step Conference Startup Basecamp – 01 Feb
  • MBRIF Accelerator – 07 Feb