GCC Startup Ecosystem News | May 2021

Startup news, ecosystem news, dtec news, bnpl, spotii, wamda, zip, tech startups, fintech, tamara, cofe, Quantum, Gazal, Sary,Homzmart, Rizek, Mamo, Bosta, Retailo, Dubai Next, Boutiqaat, Stripe, Dtec VEntures, Mindshift Capital, Forte, Amam Ventures, Flat6Labs

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


  • MENA VC investments kickstart Q2 with $175M funds raised in April: Venture activity in Q2 gets a strong start as 44 startups across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) raised more than $175 million in April, up $5 million from March.
  • BNPL startups making news in Q2: Buy Now Pay Later startup, Spotii, gets acquired by Australia’s Zip for an enterprise value of $20 million. This comes in the heels of KSA-based BNPL startup Tamara raising $110M Series A last month


Startup Sector / Industry Location Amount & Round Investors
Sary Retail KSA $30.5M Series B led by VentureSouq (VSQ), from STV, Raed Ventures et al
Homzmart Consumer services Egypt $15M Series A led by MSA Capital and Nuwa Capital, from Rise Capital, Impact46, EQ2 Ventures, Outliers Venture Capital
Rizek Consumer services UAE $10M Series A led by Peak Investments and ADQ
Mamo Finance UAE $8M Pre-Series A led by Global Ventures, from 4DX Ventures, et al
Bosta Logistics Egypt $6.7M Series A led by Silicon Badia, from 4DX, Plug and Play Ventures, Weathwell VC, Khawarizmi VC (KSA)
Retailo Retail KSA $6.7M Seed co-led by Shorooq Partners and Abercross Holdings
Gathern Real estate KSA $6M Series A led by STV, from Vision Ventures, 500 Startups, ARG Limited, Naef Sultan AlAthel
Telda Finance Egypt $5M Pre-Seed led by Sequoia Capital from Global Founders Capital and Class 5 Global.
Flextock Logistics Egypt $3.25M Pre-Seed Foundation Ventures (Egypt), MSA Capital (China), CRE Venture Capital (South Africa), Alter Global (US), et al
Foloosi Finance UAE $2M Pre-Series A led by angel investors from Abu Dhabi
Protect4less Consumer services UAE $1M Pre-Series A Family offices & private investors
Derq Transportation UAE/USA $500K Pre-seed Wadi Makkah Ventures
Maison Duffour Consumer services UAE $400K undisclosed round angels from France & UAE
Doctori Health Bahrain $500K Seed undisclosed
Algebra Intelligence Energy Jordan $310K Pre-Seed led by Oasis500
Trteeb Fashion Jordan $150K undisclosed round ISSF Jordan
CarSeer Automotive Jordan undisclosed amount, Seed Arzan Venture Capital
Gamesbandy Gaming Egypt undisclosed amount, Seed Flat6Labs Bahrain, Tamkeen
Mozare3 Fintech Egypt undisclosed amount, Pre-Seed Led by Algebra Ventures and Disruptech Ventures, from EFG-EV, angels
Qalam Media KSA undisclosed amount & round Wadi Makkah Ventures


Mena startups raised $175 million in April 2021 (Source: Wamda.com)

  • For the first time, Saudi Arabia topped the list in terms of number and value of startup investments. This was led primarily by Tamara’s $110 million Series A round, the buy now pay later fintech company broke regional records for the largest Series A round ever raised by a Mena startup
  • Other notable funding rounds in Saudi Arabia came from Quantum and Gazal, which both raised seed rounds in excess of $2 million, highlighting larger ticket sizes from investors in the country
  • Egypt also performed well, with 10 of its startups raising $16.4 million, while Kuwait’s $10 million came from just one startup, Cofe, an on-demand coffee ordering platform.
  • Besides fintech, foodtech and e-commerce were the most active sectors, reflecting ongoing trends induced by the pandemic.
  • The bulk of investments in April were focused on seed rounds, while Falak’s second cohort pushed up accelerator funding.


  • UAE-based buy now pay later platform Spotii gets acquired by Sydney-headquartered fintech startup Zip for an enterprise value of $20 million. The money will be paid in Zip’s ordinary shares, cash, or a combination of both
  • Crown Prince of Dubai launches Dubai Next – a digital crowdfunding initiative to support entrepreneurs and startups
  • After undergoing investigation for money laundering since July last year, Boutiqaat, the leading Kuwait beauty ecommerce platform has been acquitted in the money laundering case
  • UAE Ministry of Economy announced the amended Commercial Companies Law will come into effect on June 1st, 2021, enabling foreign investors and entrepreneurs to establish and fully own onshore companies. Current and previously licensed companies can also amend their statuses to the new commercial law amendments.
  • Global online payments company Stripe announced its official launch in UAE in April, via partnership with Dubai-based Network International. This follows Stripe’s latest funding round valuing it at $95B. The company is the 2nd large online payments player to expand in the region, following Ayden (Amsterdam)


  • UAE VC Mindshift Capital invests in US-base, female-led startup FORTË, a proprietary solution digitizing fitness offered at gyms and boutique studios. This marks the 9th investment for the VC in its inaugural fund.
  • The Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) and Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF)  to anchor the launch of Amam Ventures, Jordan’s first SME gender lens fund with a target of $30M to offer quasi-equity financing instruments to women-led SMEs
  • Regional Seed Program and Fund, Flat6Labs announced the second close of its Egypt fund of $13.2M to support early-stage Egyptian startups.


  • The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology partners with Raed Ventures Investment Fund in announcing the opening of regsitrations for the Riyadh Techstars Accelerator program. Set to take place in KSA for four months, the program will adopt 10 startups to receive funding of $120,000


  • 02 June | Deadline for submission: Leaders in Fintech Awards
  • 10 June | Leaders in Fintech Awards, Sofitel Dubai
  • 15 June | Digital Marketing Conference 2021, The Meydan Hotel Dubai
  • 24 June |  AMA with Dtec Ventures, Online