GCC Startup Ecosystem News | June 2020

GCC Ecosystem news, startup news, mena startup news, gcc startups, dubai startups, jio platform, covid-19, ncov, covid pandemic, magnitt, insead, magnitt-insead report, startup funding, coworking news, VC news, accelerators, incubators, uae accelerators, careem, noon, fundraising

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


  • Founders & investors anticipate lasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic: Cash flow challenges, fundraising and health & safety are primary concerns of startups during the pandemic. Accelerated fundraising in Fintech and ICT startups, while retail, transportation, and entertainment ventures saw reduced valuations More from the Magnitt-INSEAD Report


Startup Sector / Industry Location Amount & Round Investors
Jahez F&B KSA $35M Series A Led by Impact46
Wahed Finance UAE $25M Series C Led by Wa’ed Ventures and BECO, from Cue Capital, Dubai Cultiv8 et al
Noon Academy Education KSA $13M Pre-Series B Led by STV, from Alturki Holding and NFX Ventures
Tabby Finance UAE $7M undisclosed round Led by Raed Ventures, from MSA Capital and Arbor Ventures
MoneyFellows Finance Egypt $4M Series A Partech and Sawari Ventures
Rizek Human Resources UAE $3.5M Seed ADIO, Rozana Capital, et al
Band Industries Entertainment Lebanon $2.8M Series A Led by Cedar Mundi Ventures, form iSME, B&Y Venture Partners, Berytech Fund, SOS Ventures (USA)
Zedny Education Egypt $1.2M Pre-Seed Angel investors
Steppi Health UAE $720K Seed undisclosed
KRISPR Agriculture UAE $600K, Pre-Seed led by KAIZEN FZCO
Ajar Real Estate Kuwait Undisclosed amount, Pre-Series A SBX Capital, 500 Startups, and Seeds Partners
Chefaa Health Egypt Undisclosed amount, Pre-Series A 500 Startups, Vision Ventures, Womena, et al
Clip the Deal Retail UAE Undisclosed amount, Series A Led by Optiscape Network Holdings
Muniz Consumer Services KSA Undisclosed amount, Pre-Series A Led by Vision Ventures, from Al Khathlan Holding Co. and Seedstars
Shezlong Health Egypt Undisclosed Asia Africa Investment & Consulting et al
Shgardi Logistics KSA Undisclosed Mad’a Investment Company (KSA)
Syarah Automotive KSA undisclosed amount, Bridge to Series B Impact 46 and an angel investor
Ureed Human Resources UAE Undisclosed amount, Seed Wamda and Anova Investments


H1’20 Sentiment Report: Quantifying the impact of Covid-19 by Magnitt & INSEAD

  • Data collected from startup founders across UAE, KSA, Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman & Iraq,
  • Startup founders (especially those based in KSA and later-stage ventures) are more worried than investors about the impact of Covid-19 crisis,
  • 61% of founders & 48% of investors expect the crisis to end between Q4 ‘20 & Q1 ’21
  • Operational impact: Almost half report a significant impact of COVID-19 on operations
  • (46%); 22% put their operations on hold
  • A significant share of ICT, EdTech and Fintech startups report being unaffected by the crisis (18%)


  • Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) invests $5M in the Shorooq Partners’ Bedaya Fund to accelerate the latter’s support in Abu Dhabi-based seed stage companies
  • Angel group Cairo Angels partners with Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative to provide fundraising consultancy service to 5 startups selected by Microsoft in Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Pakistan


  • Careem launches their Super App, which consolidates Careem Services available for the specific area they operate.
  • Careem partners with VISA to accelerate cashless payments and digital financial inclusion for Careem captains in MENA.
  • Amazon and Souq launch Amazon.sa in KSA, replacing Souq.com. Souq Saudi is now redirecting all the users to Amazon.sa
  • Arabic audiobook production Kitab Sawti partners with Careem KSA to allow Careem riders to exchange points for subscriptions on the Kitab Sawti app.
  • Noon quietly launches NowNow in Dubai, a 60-minute on-demand grocery and essentials delivery platform, with no minimum order and charges a AED5 fee.
  • Lunch:On changes name to MUNCH:ON and expands its discounted meals service to bring its AED25 signature lunches to residential locations across all meal times
  • Twitter launches 140-second voice tweets available for limited users and to be rolled out to all Twitter users in iOS in the coming weeks.
  • DHL express partners with fintech startup Tabby to provide DHL customers with a “pay later” option to address the region’s dependence on cash
  • Kuwaiti beauty ecommerce platform Boutiqaat is looking to raise fresh funds at a valuation of up to $1 billion
  • Amazon and fintech company Payfort, launches  #StartUpStayUp initiative to fund merchant partners with 3-month digital marketing campaign worth AED1M for increased brand exposure and increase traffic to their online sites
  • Dtec-based startup Hotel Data Cloud (HDC) was awarded “Healing Solutions for Tourism” by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), beating startups from 100 countries in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on tourism.
  • Digital healthcare platform Vezeeta, partners with KSA’s Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development of Saudi Arabia (MHRSD) to extend free telehealth services to the company’s workforce.
  • UAE online & mobile first fashion platform Nisnass by Al Tayer Group confirmed to close down with last trading date set for 16 July 2020
  • Peer to peer mobile app Mamo Pay joins VISA’s Fintech Fast Track program to reach a wider audience
  • Yousif Abdulaziz, CEO of Delivery Hero’s KSA subsidiary HungerStation (the eading food delivery player of the country), has left the company
  • HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VP & UAE Prime Minister UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the Dubai Future Labs (DFL), a global hub that will develop future tech and produce the latest, life-changing innovations.
  • Bird shuts down scooter sharing in the Middle East which is managed by Circ, the micro-mobility startup it acquired in January 2020
  • Dubai fintech Tpay Mobile acquires Turkish payments company Payguru


  • AstroLabs partners with Google for Startups to launch its Digital Upskill and Startup Acceleration Scholarship Programs awarding 100 digital upskill scholarships, 15 start-up acceleration scholarships, and offering AED240,000 in grants for tech startups
  • Hub71 partners with Mubadala-owned IT services Injazat to accelerate startups and connect with Injazat’s portfolio of corporates and government clients


  • Pre-seed accelerator and Silicon-Valley based programme Founder Institute to launch its newest chapter in Dubai.
  • HSBC’s C3 Social Impact Accelerator selects 24 finalists for their latest cohort.
  • Startup accelerator and investment fund manager Oasis Venture II Fund invests in new cohort of 8 early-stage startups: AlHaq, TakalamTech, Jordilight, FITELY, Pi Pharma, ByrdByte, Quiq Claim, and Tanda.
  • UAE Space Agency and Krypto Labs selects 4 Emirati startups to enroll in the 3-month UAE NewSpace Innovation Program