GCC Startup Ecosystem News | March 2021

Mena Investments , startups, Dtec, nasdaq, anghami, , Oqal , fintech, Mena startups, entrepreneur, company setup

This report is also available in a downloadable PDF version via this link: GCC Startup Ecosystem News Roundup – 2021-03 V2.0


Anghami goes public on NASDAQ via merger with SPAC:  Anghami the region’s leading music-streaming platform is set to become the first tech company in MENA to be listed on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange  through SPAC at a valuation of $220 million.

Mena startups raised $160 million in February 2021: According to Wamda. The appetite to invest in tech start-ups across the MENA region will only increase further, A substantial jump from the $43 million raised in January this year.

Dtec teams up with Oqal network to promote entrepreneurship in the Gulf: Dtec the largest tech hub in the MENA region signed MoU with OQAL, to improve & enhance the venture investments in startups and support young entrepreneurs in GCC.


Startup Sector / Industry Location Amount & Round Investors
Pure Harvest Smart Farms Agriculture UAE $50M  Undisclosed led by SHUAA Capital
iKcon F& B UAE $20M  Series A led by regional investment groups including Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Group, AlTouq Group, Derayah Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners, AbdulMohsin Al Houkair Holding Group, and Nazer Group.
Lendo Finance KSA $7.2M  Series A led by Derayah Ventures
Service My Car Transport UAE $10M  Seed led by Oman’s Bahwan
Mubawab Real Estate Morocco $10M  Undisclosed from the Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), its parent company
Zid IT KSA $7M  Series A led by Global Ventures and alongside existing investors Elm and Arzan VC.
NOW Money Finance UAE $7M  Undisclosed led by Anthemis Exponential Ventures, and several other investors, including Knuru Capital, Wamda, Commercial Bank of Dubai, DIFC FinTech Fund, Accion Venture Lab, Greenhouse Capital, and Hambro Perks Oryx Fund.
Hala Finance KSA $6.5M  Series A from Wamda &Impact46 and other strategic investors
Abwaab Education Jordan $5.1M  Seed from 4DX Ventures, BECO Capital, EQ2 Ventures, Foundation Ventures, GSV Ventures, and Spartech Ventures
Koinz, F & B EGYPT $4.8M  Seed led by Justin Mateen, with participation from 4DX Ventures and strategic angel investors in Egypt
Grubtech F & B UAE $3.4M  Pre-Series A from large regional family offices, a US-based VC firm, and some angel investors
Dayra Finance Egypt $3M  Pre-seed from Tanmiya Capital Ventures, EFG EV, EFG Hermes, and different angel investors.
Verofax Limited E-commerce UAE $1.2M  Seed led by Trove Capital UK. Other investors included MFD Holding, Kepler Fund Managers, and Casablanca Holding.
Fenix Transport UAE $1.2M  Seed led by KSA-based Emkan Capital and UAE’s Panthera Capital Ventures
baraka Finance UAE $1.1M  Pre-Seed led by Class 5 Global, with participation from FJ Labs, IMO Ventures
Klaim Healthcare UAE $1M  Seed from Techstars and a group of strategic regional investors
Soul Artists Entertainment UAE $350K  Bridge  round from Falak Investment Hub and Wasel
Aumet, E-commerce Jordan Undisclosed amount  Pre-Series A led by Shorooq Partners.
Sanar Healthcare KSA Undisclosed amount  Seed led by Impact46


  • Anghami, the MENA region’s leading music-streaming platform, is listed on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange as a result of a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc. Anghami is set to become the first tech company in the MENA region to be listed on a US stock exchange. The transaction, which is expected to close in Q2 of this year.
  • Abu Dhabi-based hatch & boost,  has officially launched in the Middle East. The startup aims to empower local talent and home-grown innovation and support the advancement of impact-driven business models in the region. operating in the UAE, hatch & boost has plans for further expansion across the region in the coming years, such as KSA and Egypt.
  • SBX Capital & Farah AlHumaidhi, an entrepreneur, have acquired 40% of Kuwait-based Edtech marketplace, Dawrat. The platform allows users to search and find their desired training courses, workshops, & seminars in various fields. Following the acquisition, Dawrat has plans to expand its offerings, and grow its market share across the region.
  • Kitab Sawti, a Dubai-based Arabic audio content production and distribution platform – initiating a strategic review with the intention of merging the regional Storytel app. Kitab Sawti / Storytel team will offer the world’s largest audiobook library in Arabic to subscribers in the MENA region under the consumer brand Storytel.
  • Triterras Inc., a Fintech company for trade and trade finance, announced that it is set to acquire Invoice Bazaar, a Fintech operating in Dtec UAE Following the acquisition, which is set to close on or around April 30, 2021, the startup will continue to operate under its current brand under the Triterras umbrella.
  • KSA-based Fastcoo, and Tracking, have confirmed the official close of a mutual acquisition agreement for $720K The acquisition, will provide technical solutions to the delivery & logistics sector based on the Internet and aims to localize the IoT industry in KSA.


  • The UAE witnessed the highest number of investments with 16 deals in February amounting to $88.8 million. Source Wamda
  • UAE leads GCC in ease of doing business, supported by reforms .According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2020, the UAE is the 16th best country in the world for doing business. Source Dubai Startup Report 2021
  • FinTech, E-Commerce, and Delivery & Logistics and transport industries displayed a continuous growth in MENA, that is parallel to the pandemic induced lifestyle
  • According to the Dubai Startup Report 2021 :The number of middle East Fintech Startups is projected to increase from 96 in 2019 to 465 by 2022, while the value of Fintech investments is expected to increase eightfold from $287 to $2.28 Billion.


  • Dubai-based Venture Capital firm, Knuru Capital has entered into an agreement to manage an early-stage venture portfolio from DP Ventures Holdings , to invest in early-stage technology companies globally. The VC will work with the startups to provide support in several ways, from expanding their reach to helping with geographical expansion, using internal and external networks.
  • ADQ, a holding company based in Abu Dhabi, has developed DisruptAD to consolidate the entity’s venture capital efforts under a unified platform. DisruptAD aims to support and nurture over 1,000 startups over the next five years to create a thriving local community of founders, fund managers, incubators, and accelerators.
  • Propeller, a Jordan-based early-stage VC, announces the first close of Propeller Ventures II. The new fund will invest in pre-seed and seed-stage startups in Jordan and other MENA countries. The fund is sector agnostic but will favor investments in software and technology startup.
  • The Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF), an investment fund in Jordan, has announced its commitment to a venture fund with MSA Capital., which will make the international experience available to Jordanian entrepreneurs, whilst facilitating market access to the East.


  • KAUST and SABB Now Welcome Applications For Its 2021 TAQADAM Startup Accelerator Program TAQADAM, a Saudi Arabia-based startup accelerator program that aims to develop high-potential startups, has announced its 2020 winners and opened applications for its 2021 cohort. applications closing on April 10, 2021.



Entrepreneur Middle East