GCC Ecosystem News Roundup by Dtec Ventures | November 2018

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

Dtec Ventures brings you a roundup of the startup news from the GCC Ecosystem for the month of  November 2018



  • Dtec recognized as the ‘MENA Fintech Accelerator of the Year’ at the FinX – Excellence in Fintech Awards for 2018. Dtec-based company Arabian Chain wins ‘MENA Fintech Startup of the Year’ award.
  • Dtec Ventures portfolio company 360Vuz makes it to the shortlist of the Start Up Pitch Competition at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Property Finder, a online real estate business platform based in the UAE, has raised $120M of funding. The round was led by US-based Private equity firm General Atlantic.
  • Majid Al Futtaim has acquired Beam Portal, the owner of UAE mobile wallet app ‘Beam’. The acquisition grants Majid Al Futtaim ownership of Beam’s IP rights, branding, and e-wallet services across the region.
  • Tecom has launched its GoFreelance permit (for Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Knowledge Park). The Freelancer permit cost Dh7,500 a year and access to a Business Centre. List of allowed activities here.
  • IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, invests $10 million in BECO’s newest VC fund, which is expected to reach up to $100 million


  • Property Finder (real-estate classifieds platform, UAE) – $120 million, led by US-based PE firm General Atlantic
  • Holidayme (travel tech, UAE) – $16 million, Series C, from Gobi Partners, Global Ventures, Algebra Venture et al
  • WakeCap (safety & protectivity IoT, UAE) – $1.6 million, Seed, from Consolidated Contract Company et al.
  • Kamkalima (Arabic edtech, Lebanon) – $1.5 million, Series A, from Phoenician Funds I, iSME and Tarek Jallad
  • Volt Lines (subscription-based transportation, Turkey) – $1.28 million, Pre-Series A, from Dubai Angel Investors
  • LoadMe (digital transport broker, UAE) – $1 million as part of Series A, from family office establishments in KSA
  • Fakahany (fresh produce ecommerce platform, Egypt) – $700,000 Seed, led by Endure Capital
  • Gathern (booking platform for chalets & camps, KSA) – undisclosed amount, Inspire Ventures, Vision Ventures
  • Bluering (fintech, Lebanon) – undisclosed amount, Series A, from Phoenician Funds
  • Whyise (impact management software, Jordan) – undisclosed amount, Seed, from Propeller Inc.
  • Swvl (mass transit system, Egypt) – undisclosed amount, Series B. led by BECO plus all existing investors


Startup directory and investment data platform, Magnitt.com released their Q3 2018 MENA Venture Investment report with the following insights on Funding Institution Activities:

  • 2018 YTD most active venture capital investors were 500 Startups (28), MEVP (12) Arzan Capital (9) based on number of investments
  • Accelerator programs remain a key stakeholder in supporting early stage startups: Flat6labs Cairo with 18 startups, and Oasis500, Flat6labs Bahrain, Flat6labs Beirut and Flat6Labs Tunis graduating cohorts of 8 startups each
  • Emerging investors: Flat6labs Bahrain, Kingsway Capital, Cedar Mundi, Phoenician Funds and Fikra Labs.


  • 500 Startups partners with Misk Innovation to launch 500 MENA Accelerator Program for early stage startups


  • Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Co. leads $60 million Series B round of U.S.-based logistics software startup Turvo
  • Alabbar’s $1 billion e-commerce platform Noon hunts for acquisitions to bolster its operations
  • The Kuwait Stock Exchange plans to set up a VC market to attract and support the country’s growing startups,
  • Emirate NBD launches its API sandbox to enable open collaboration with fintech firms. 4 firms were onboarded to date, to create POCs on the platform.
  • Dubai-based payments processor, Network International, picks Citigroup, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley as coordinators for stock sale (IPO)
  • Careem launched a bus service in Egypt and has plans to bring the service to KSA and Pakistan.
  • Careem working with investment bank Jefferies indicating potential deal (M&A) with Uber. It is also rumored to be raising $100-200 million from Chinese investors


  • New Venture Challenge by AUS – 01 Dec
  • Market Access by Dubai Startup Hub – 10 Dec
  • 500 MENA Accelerator Program – 15 Dec
  • StartAD Beyond the Pitch – 15 Jan
  • Innovation Impact Grant Programme – 04 Dec
  • Startupbootcamp Fintech Hive – 20 Dec


  • Fintech Navigator Course by Pearson – 10 Dec – 17 Feb
  • Dubai Chamber Focus Group: Fundraising in the UAE – 10 Dec
  • Dtec Forum: AI and Arabnet Report launch – 11 Dec
  • Emirati Bootcamp – 11 – 15 Dec
  • Dtec Mixer – 19 Dec


  • Open Data Science Meetup – 01 Dec, Dubai
  • Facebook App Summit Dubai – 04 Dec, Dubai
  • RiseUp Summit Egypt – 07-08 Dec, Egypt
  • The Next 100 Africa Startups Initiative, 08-09 Dec, Egypt
  • Middle East Mompreneur Forum – 10 Dec, Dubai
  • UX Design Thinking Masterclass – 09-10 Dec, Egypt
  • Smart SME MENA 2018 – 10-11 Dec, Dubai
  • Startupbootcamp Demo Day – 11 Dec, Dubai
  • Enrupt Innovation Forum – 12 Dec, Dubai
  • Intelak Cohort 4 Demo Day – 17 Dec, Dubai