Adapting to what now seems as the new normal, GCC countries launch stimulus packages and other measures to help entrepreneurs and boost economies. On the investment front, indications of the Covid-19’s ramification start to show as March shows a decline in the number of deals, with further impact expected to be seen in the coming months.
In this edition of the GCC Startup Ecosystem News, in addition to our regular news bits, we’ve dedicated a section (Covid-19 Startup Resources) to feature articles on COVID-19’s impact on the regional ecosystem along with relevant information for startups and SMEs to help them navigate the current landscape.
You can download a PDF version via this link: GCC Startup Ecosystem News Roundup – April 2020
- GCC governments provide support for entrepreneurs. In response to the disruptive impact of Covid-19 on economies and businesses, GCC countries launch stimulus packages and other economic measures to aid startups and SMEs during the crisis and help boost economies.
- Covid-19 impact on startup investments to be seen post-Q1. Funding results in Q1 remained positive but ramifications are expected to be seen in the coming months. Indications are starting to show in March which had a decline in the number of deals closed.
- Merger of EMPG and OLX Group announced. Property portal group Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), and global classifieds business OLX Group, announced their merger in Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE, including US $150 million investment round by OLX valuing EMPG at US $1 billion post-transaction
|Startup||Sector / Industry||Location||Amount & Round||Investors|
|Pure Harvest Smart Farms||Agriculture||UAE||$20.6M, Series B||Wafra International Investment Company|
|SARY||Ecommerce||KSA||$6.6M, Series A||led by Raed Ventures, from MSA Capital and Derayah Ventures|
|360Vuz||Entertainment||UAE||$5.8M, Series A||led by Shorooq Partners from KBW Ventures, Vision Ventures et al|
|Mamo Pay||Finance||UAE||$1.5M, undisclosed||led by Global Founders, from Global Ventures, 500 Startups et al|
|Hotel Data Cloud||Hospitality||UAE||$350K, Seed||Undisclosed|
|Baims||Education||Kuwait||Undisclosed, Seed||led by Al-Wazzan Education, from angel investors|
|Eventtus||Events||Egypt||Undisclosed amount & round||led by Algebra Ventures, Hala Ventures and DAAL VC|
|HubPay||Finance||UAE||Undisclosed, Seed||led by Signal Peak Ventures (US), from Falcon Network|
|Mumm||F&B||Egypt||Undisclosed, Pre-Series A||Alex Angels|
|TAKER||F&B||KSA||Undisclosed, Seed||led by 500 Startups, from Saudi Venture Capital and angels|
|YouGotaGift||Consumer Services||UAE||Undisclosed amount & round||Faith Capital|
Magnitt’s Q1 2020 Investment Report
- Top 5 funding rounds in Q1 account of 61% of all MENA startup funding in the quarter.
- While there was an increase from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020 in terms of funding amount, 4 out of 5 funding rounds were all announced pre-Covid-19 lockdown.
- March saw a significant slowdown in number of deals, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming months as the ramifications of Covid-19 come into play.
- Phaze Ventures (Oman) invests in SpotLight, a French geoscience startup providing dynamic detection of subsurface movements
- Global Ventures (UAE) closes its first fund of $50M earlier this year and has invested so far in 15 startups including Kitopi, HolidayMe, Mumzworld, Elmenus, Floranow
- Newly established Egypt-focused fintech fund Disruptech invests in Khazna (mobile financial services) and Brimore (retail E2E platform)
- Alexandria Angels announces launch of Alex Angels Fund, a $6.3 million (EGP 100 million) fund to invest in Egyptian startups
- Anghami commits $3 million worth of free audio ads for small businesses on its music stream service
- Careem launches grocery delivery service in Dubai called “Careem Shops”
- Luxury fashion ecommerce startup The Modist shuts down after raising more than $15 million in venture capital
- Facebook launches video chat feature Messenger Rooms to take on Houseparty and Zoom. The feature is being tested in selected countries and to be rolled out globally in the coming weeks.
- Tradeling, a UAE-based supply chain B2B marketplace launches its Beta version. The venture is backed by DAFZA and endorsed by Dubai Free Zone Council
- Subscription-based office lunch delivery startup Dailymealz (KSA) partners with retail giant Panda to launch grocery delivery service
- Talabat and Kitopi join forces to distribute 1,000 meals daily, over lunch and dinner, delivered to communities that need it most, in close collaboration with Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Police
- TransferWise (UK), opens office at ADGM, licensed as a Money Services Provider, and launches its low-cost cross-border online money transfer service in UAE
- Cairo-born, Dubai-headquartered healthtech startup Vezeeta launches its doctor-booking platform in Kenya
ACCELERATORS / INCUBATORS
- Krypto Labs together with UAE Space Agency to kick off its Global Space Industry Accelerator initiative with webinars and virtual roadshows on space entrepreneurship
- In5 partners with Jupiter Business Mentors (JBM) to provide business owners access to free mentorship sessions and 10% discounts to JBM’s services
- startAD selects 3 winners for its Youth Entrepreneurship Program. Winning projects include SolarGridX (solar power tech), Finllect (financial literacy app), BestBy (F&B ecommerce)
- Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai’s 2nd cohort completed its accelerator program featuring 10 startups signing over 40 PoCs
- Hub71 announces 15 new joiners to its Hub71 Incentive Program, prioritizing startups in Edtech and HealthTech fields including Aumet (US), Altibbi (Jordan) and Kinderly (UK)
- US data residency hosting platform, InCountry, to set up its Middle East Headquarters at Hub71, and set up in ADGM as regional subsidiary.
ARTICLES WORTH READING
- Magnitt: The case for consolidation: Tech startups in MENA
- MENAbytes: Improved regulatory landscape and changing consumer demographics fueling the rise of fintech in MENA
COVID-19 | STARTUP RESOURCES
A curated list of essential articles and updates on the Corona pandemic, its impact on the regional ecosystem and approaches on how founders and startups can navigate the current landscape
- MENA startup countermeasures for COVID-19
- Six major implications that COVID-19 has on MENA’s businesses
- How the TravelTech industry has pivoted in an attempt to adapt to COVID-19
- A look back into the future: Parallels between the Arab Spring and COVID-19
- A 6-step guide to successfully fundraising during the COVID-19 crisis
- COVID-19 and the Evolution of the Supply Chain
On support initiatives or stimulus packages:
- Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority offers rent waivers and other incentives to businesses, residents
- A Guide To The Relief And Stimulus Measures Offered For Businesses In Dubai Amid The COVID-19 Crisis
- Saudi Arabia Announces USD 31.9 Billion Stimulus Package to Mitigate the Economic Crisis Caused by the COVID-19 Outbreak
- Business Incubators and Accelerators Company (BIAC), KSA has launched multiple support functions for Saudi entrepreneurs and startups
- Stakeholders offer innovative support for Egypt’s entrepreneurs