GCC Startup Ecosystem News | December 2020

Tabby, Black Swan 2020, Covid 19, magnitt, eMushrif, Dtec Ventures, Dtec Ventures portfolio, Dtec coworking, Dtec Services, Clara, Floward, TruKKer, Jahez, Sprii, Mashreq, Fodel, Morni, Salasa, Global Ventures, Gellify, SAIN, Oqal, Falak Angels, Palm Ventures

This report is also available in a downloadable PDF version via this link:  GCC Startup Ecosystem News Roundup – 2020-December


2020 Black Swan cements the move to online and business digitization: Magnitt’s 2020 recap, show which sectors flourished amidst the pandemic as investor interest gravitated towards positively impacted sectors: e-Commerce, F&B, Fintech, cementing the move to online and business digitization.


Startup Sector / Industry Location Amount & Round Investors
Tabby Finance UAE $23M Series A Arbor Ventures and Mubadala Capital, from STV, Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, JIMCO, Global Ventures, Venture Souq, Outliers VC, MSA Capital, HOF and AB Accelerator
Morni Logistics KSA $9.1M Series B led by GSquare Investments, from Al Turairi et al
Salasa Logistics KSA $8.6M Series A led by Al Sulaiman Group, from  Saudi Venture Capital Company and 500 Startups
eMushrif IoT Oman $2.3M Series A led by IDO Investments, from Phaze Ventures, otf Jasoor Ventures, Dtec Ventures, Myrad Holding, and angels
Qoyod Finance KSA $2.1M Series A led by Merak Capital
Abjjad Media Jordan $1M Series A Rimal Capital, JordInvest and ISSF
GasNas Consumer Services Jordan $200K Pre-Seed StarLabz
Unihance Education Jordan $120K Pre-Seed StarLabz
Bab Makkah Retail KSA $65K Pre-Series A Wadi Makkah Ventures
Tarteel IoT KSA $55K Seed Wadi Makkah Ventures
360Vuz Entertainment UAE undisclosed amount and round Knollwood Investment Advisory, Impact46, AlFalaj Investment, and DAI.
Dsquares Consumer Services Egypt undisclosed amount, Series B Lorax Capital Partners (Egypt)
Progressive Generation Media Jordan undisclosed amount, Pre-Series A Oman Tech Fund, 500 Startups, and ISSFJO
QVM Corporate Services KSA undisclosed amount, Seed led by Awab Holding Company, from angels
Sigma Fit Fashion Egypt undisclosed amount & round Innlife Investments
Spotii Finance UAE undisclosed amount & round Zip Co (Australia)
Source Beauty Health / Beauty Egypt undisclosed amount, Seed led by ACE & Company (Switzerland), from angels
Teami Health Iraq undisclosed amount, Pre-Seed Iraqi Angel Investors Network, KAPITA, Iraqi Tech Ventures, angels
Urent Transportation UAE undisclosed amount, Pre-Series A undisclosed
Zeal Rewards Finance Egypt undisclosed amount, Seed undisclosed



  • Legaltech startup Clara launches the MENA Series A Term Sheet standard form and is expected to streamline funding rounds in the region. It is currently endorsed by 16 partners including Wamda, +VC, Shorooq Partners and 500 Startups
  • Kuwait-born startup Floward expands to UK with its London launch. This is the 6th market for Floward and the first outside the Middle East. This follows their latest funding round of $2.75M back in October
  • Oman-based IoT startup eMushrif raises $2.3M Series A funding led by IDO Investments, and joined by Phaze Ventures, Otf Jasoor Ventures, Dtec Ventures, Myrad Holdings, and a few angel investors
  • Digital freight platform TruKKer signs $10M venture debt agreement with lending firm, Partners for Growth (San Francisco, USA), the first venture -debt deal of this scale for a tech startup in the region. The debt will be used to finance the working capital needs required for the instant payment of transporters operating on TruKKer’s network
  • Riyadh-based food delivery startup Jahez is planning an IPO for next year, as revealed by their CEO Ghassab AlMandeel. As one of the largest food delivery players in KSA, they plan to list the company on Tadawul (Saudi Stock Exchange). The company raised $36.5M earlier in 2020, the largest financing round for a KSA startup to date
  • Dubai’s baby products e-commerce platform Sprii has been placed into liquidation after running out of cash, appointing Grant Thornton as its liquidator. The startup has raised close to a total of $15 million including an $8.5 million Series A
  • Mashreq bank’s NeoBiz partners with digital law firm Lexyom to provide a digital and seamless company formation process and access to digital bank account
  • Dubai-based logistics startup Fodel (Forward Delivery) launched its services in four new markets including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman



2020 Recap of Investment Highlights (Magnitt)

  • 2020 kicked off with Q1’s mega-rounds include those of Kitopi ($60M), Vezeeta ($40M) and Sellanycar.com ($35M).
  • Touted as the Black Swan of 2020, the pandemic’s impact is felt in Q2 and startups grappled with adapting to the new environment in a frantic pace, Retail, Travel and Hospitality were hard-hit sectors.
  • In Q3, marked decrease in the number of deals is most significantly seen, reflecting the impact of decisions taken by investors in Q1 and Q2.
  • Magnitt’s H1’20 Investor Sentiment Survey indicates 27% of surveyed investors changed their mandate towards positively impacted industries, while the VC appetite for early-stage ventures or new geographies dried up
  • From Q1-Q3, registered shift is seen towards investing in later-stage startups, accounting for 70% of total transactions
  • Sectors that benefitted the most are: e-Commerce, F&B and Fintech
  • KSA, Jordan, and Egypt registered increases in the number of active investors in 2020 Q1-Q3 by 43%, 20%, and 10%, respectively
  • A total of 247 investors took part in the deployment of $803 million invested across 360 successful investment deals between Q1-Q3 2020 in MENA.
  • The most active investors include: 500 Startups, Wamda and Vision Ventures
  • Industry-wise, 500 Startups was MENA’s most active investor in Fintech and E-Commerce with 7 disclosed deals in each sector, While Global Ventures led investments in the Food and Beverage industry with 3 deals

Other Highlights

  • New Unicorn announced in April: Following Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), latest funding round led global classifieds business OLX Group of $150 million, EMPG is now reportedly valued at $1 billion
  • UAE signs peace treaty with Israel, together with Bahrain, opening the gates to companies from various sectors for new collaborations as the agreement centers in on high-tech, health, academia, intelligence, defense and space solution



  • Seattle-based global investment fund-of-funds Capria Ventures, invests in Global Ventures’ (UAE) second fund to access opportunities in the region’s digital health, FinTech, EdTech, and AgriTech sectors.
  • Italy-based accelerator and investor GELLIFY plans to launch a $24M fund for Middle East B2B SaaS Startups in well-being, education, culture, wealth and finance, environment and sustainability, hospitality, and entertainment sectors
  • Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park) launched the Sharjah Angel Investors Network (SAIN), aiming to attract around 30 investors in 2021 to provide capital for startups
  • In partnership with Saudi Venture Capital for co-matching program, Saudi-based angel investor network Falak Angels to hold online pitching event every 15th of the month.
  • Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm, Wa’ed, signs partnership with OQAL Angel Investor Network (KSA & Bahrain) for the latter to channel promising startups for potential investment from Wa’ed Ventures, the VC arm of Wa’ed


  • KSA-based Palm Ventures launches a venture building program that seeks to invest $40K in selected startups after a one-year journey with the program






Khaleej Times