GCC Startup Ecosystem News | August 2021

This report is also available in a downloadable PDF version via this link: GCC Startup Ecosystem News Roundup – 2021 August


  • Saudi Arabia LAUNCH(ed) $1.2bn worth of tech initiatives to improve digital skills of 100,000 Saudi youngsters by 2030: During KSA’s event called “Launch”, several initiatives were announced including eWTP Arabia Capital’s $400 million Chinese-Saudi capital fund to support tech startups in the Kingdom. Multinational corporations including Amazon, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, Informa, and Microsoft, also announced their partnership with the kingdom to create digital capability centers and innovation hubs for tech startups


Startup Sector / Industry Location Amount & Round Investors
Tabby Finance UAE $50M Series B led by Global Founders Capital and STV
Syarah Automotive KSA $20M Series B led by Impact 46 and Elm company, from Budget, Vision Ventures, et al
Red Sea Farms Agriculture KSA $16M Pre-Series A Wa’ed (Aramco), KAUST, Global Ventures, AppHarvest, Bonaventure, et al
Sarwa Finance UAE $15M Series B led by Mubadala, from  500 Startups, Kuwait Projects et al
Hala Insurance UAE $5M Series A led by Entrée Capital, from Mubadala Investment et al
POSRocket Finance Jordan $5M undisclosed round led by SANAD Fund, from MSME and Algebra Ventures
Baraka Finance UAE $4M Seed Global Founders Capital, FJ Labs, Raptor Group, et al
Mabaat Real Estate KSA $2.4M Seed led by Derayah Ventures, from SEEDRA Ventures
Odiggo Automotive Egypt $2.2M Seed Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Plug and Play Ventures et al
Invygo Automative UAE $1.9M Bridge to Series A Signal Peak Ventures, JS Group, Wealth Well, et al
MyHome Consumer Services Kuwait $1.75M Bridge to Series A Rasameel Investment Company et al
Sihaty Health $1.3M Pre-Series A Rasameel Investments, Doha Tech Angels, The Taken Seat Fund (Kuwait)
Flicron Media KSA $1.07M undisclosed round Crowdfunding
Bookr Beauty Kuwait $1M Seed led by Desert Ventures
The Stock Media KSA $667K Pre-Seed led by VEST Investment Company, from angels
Splyer Global Marketplace UAE $500K undisclosed round Quality & Saving Center (Oman)
Augustus Media Media UAE $400K debt financing led by Beehive
MySyara Automotive UAE $400K undisclosed round Steve Mayne (Angel)
BithTV Gaming Jordan $205K Seed led by Oasis500, from BeyondCapital and angels
1Trolley Logistics Egypt $150K Seed SOSV (USA)
Silkroad Images Media UAE $150K Bridge to Series A ISSF
ADAM.ae Enterprise software Egypt / USA Undisclosed  amount, Pre-Seed led by Atlassian Ventures
Clinicy Health KSA Undisclosed  amount, Pre-Series A led by Mad’a Investment Company
Forus Finance KSA Undisclosed amount, Series A led by Yazeed Alrajhi and Brothers Holdings and Riyad Fintech Fund
Intelmatix AI KSA Undisclosed amount & round STV and Sultan Holdings
Oda Logistics KSA Undisclosed  amount, Pre-Seed Angels
Palm.hr Human resources KSA Undisclosed amount & round led by Nama Ventures, from angels
Schoolz Transportation Egypt Undisclosed  amount, Pre-Seed Undisclosed
Tegeera Marketplace Egypt Undisclosed  amount, Pre-Seed led by Alexandria Angels Network



  • Riyadh and UAE-based E-commerce enabler, Opontia acquired UAE-based direct-to-consumer (D2C) medical equipment and therapeutic product provider, Novimed, following the former’s latest Seed round of $20M. The acquisition aims to improve Novimed’s inventory operations, increase marketing spend and enhance product placement.
  • Music streaming major Anghami is set to launch entertainment venues in Dubai and Riyadh ahead of its listing on Nasdaq New York. The company will launch Anghami Labs, a hybrid of digital and traditional entertainment, enabling music creators to experiment by co-creating music to be performed at the venue. The music will be made available exclusively on Anghami platform.
  • Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and eBay partnered up to launch eBay for Business – UAE Program to help Chamber members and UAE businesses expand globally and boost online sales worldwide by utilizing eBay.com. With the program, UAE companies will receive practical training and tailor-made support to start a new store and scale their businesses on eBay.com
  • Former Head of Careem Pay launches SimpliFi, a Cards as a Service platform for MENA and Pakistan. Headquartered in Dubai, SimpliFi enables any business to  issue virtual or physical cards, for different use cases almost instantly and manage the entire program from SimpliFi’s online portal.
  • UAE’s latest unicorn Swvl, agreed to buy Spain-based Shotl, an Uber-like service for bus and van operators that caters to municipalities, corporations and educational institutions serving  22 cities across 10 countries, including Brazil and Japan. Shotl will serve as Swvl’s European hub to double the latter’s footprint.
  • Egyptian ecommerce logistics startup Bosta appointed Fetchr’s co-founder Omar Yaghmour as its Chief Growth Officer. Omar co-founded Fetchr about nine years ago and served as its Chief Operating Officer until April 2020. Prior to Fetchr, he was an executive manager at MarkaVIP, one of the first ecommerce platforms in the region
  • Egypt’s state-run El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company has started to test drive a new electric vehicle (EV) model, called “E70”, in cooperation with the international ride-hailing company Uber, in preparation for manufacturing the first Egyptian EV. Production is scheduled to start by second half of H2 2022.
  • Lebanese gameplay streaming platform Rawa.tv gets acquired by US-based gaming content and clip-sharing platform Medal.tv. The acquisition will open new monetization avenues and new ways to engage Medal.tv’s community. Rawa.tv raised a total of $800+ since launch.
  • Chari, a Morocco-based B2B Marketplace acquires mobile credit book application Karny.ma to offer its customers a simple and effective solution to debt financing. The acquisition follows the recent Pre-Seed fundraise by Chari, led by Plug and Play Ventures and Y Combinator.


  • Telecom operator Zain Group launched Zain Ventures and the closing of investments in USA-based Pipe (Fintech) and UAE’s Swvl (transportation). The launch of Zain Ventures is part of the telecom operator’s ‘4Sight’ strategy to become a full-fledged digital services company.
  • Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF, Jordan) announced its $1M investment in UAE-based VC Fund Access Bridge Ventures (ABV) in support of Jordanian early-stage startups. ABV announced the first close of its $25M back in January 2021.


  • Hotel management company, Aleph Hospitality (Dubai) opens applications for their Hotel Innovation Lab for startups in Artificial intelligence (AI), hotel guest & employee guest experience, sustainability & renewable energy, food & beverage and/or community service(s). Onboarded startups will receive office space, business support and advisory, product testing facilities and investment opportunities.
  • Arab Bank launched the AB Accelerator in Egypt, a fintech-focused corporate acceleration programme. Eligible startups will receive up to $500,000 in funding, along with banking and commercial collaboration for product validation and market access
  • US-based Village Capital launched an investment readiness accelerator program for impact startups from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. Supported by International Finance Corporation (IFC), will host two cohorts consisting of 21 companies. The top two companies from each cohort will be awarded $20,000 in equity investment
  • Dubai-based luxury retailer Chalhoub Group has launched the flagship edition of its fashion design incubator Fashion Lab in Saudi Arabia. The Fashion lab will culminate with a Demo Day in December, with Saudi brands to receive funding of $15,000 with potential for equity partnership
  • The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accepts 24 startups into its accelerator program which begins September. This is the largest cohort they have to date, comprising of 13 UAE-based and 11 internationally located startups