GCC Startup Ecosystem News | October 2020

GCC Startup ecosystem, MENA startups, Magnitt, Covid impact, Plus VC, Dtec Ventures, Dtec coworking, DSOA, Hub71, coworking, Foodics, ArabyAds, Foundation ventures, TEchstars Hub71, Bahrain Fintech Bay

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


Covid impact felt in Q3 2020 with 50% drop in investment deals in MENA from Q2: Magnitt’s Q3 2020 report shows that the quarter has seen the lowest number of investments since Q1 2018, highlighting the impact of COVID-19 6 months later, with a 50% decline in the number of startup investments compared to Q2 2020, reflecting the impact of decisions taken by investors in Q1 and Q2.



Startup Sector / Industry Location Amount & Round Investors
Sweetheart Kitchen F&B UAE $17.7M, Series C led by Peter Schatzberg, from Delivery Hero
FoxPush IoT UAE $15M, undisclosed round JGroup (Lebanon)
Kaykroo F&B UAE $4M, Pre-Series A family offices and regional investors
Floward Consumer services Kuwait $2.75M, Bridge led by Impact46, from Faith Capital, BNK, et al
Retailo Retail KSA $2.3M, Pre-Seed led by Shorooq Partners, from 500 Startups and 92-Ventures
NowPay Finance Egypt $2.1M, Seed led by Foundation Ventures & Endure Capital, from BECO, 500 Startups, Plug and Play, 4dx Ventures, MSA Capital, EFG-EV Fintech, and Ebtikar, and angels
Flick Finance Egypt $1M, Pre-Seed Angel investor
Garage Transportation KSA $260K, Pre-Seed Angel investors
IQRAA Education Jordan $115K, Pre-Seed Undisclosed
Amjaad Technology IoT Egypt Undisclosed amount, Pre-Series A Dhaman Bahraini
Brantu Fashion Egypt undisclosed amount, Series A led by Sawari Ventures
Dreevo Logistics Egypt undisclosed amount, Pre-Seed EF Logistics
La Reina Fashion Egypt undisclosed amount, Seed 500 Startups, Algebra Ventures, and angels
MARJ3 Education Egypt undisclosed amount, Seed Expert DOJO (US) and angels
Milango Community Management Egypt undisclosed amount, Seed A15 and angels
Miswag Consumer services Iraq undisclosed amount, Seed (2nd close) led by Euphrates Iraq Fund and Shwan Ibrahim Taha, and existing investors



2020 YTD investments in MENA Startups ( From Magnitt’s Q3 2020 MENA Venture Investment Report)

  • Q3 2020 saw a 50% decline in the number of startup investments compared to Q2 2020; the lowest number of deals of any quarter since Q1 2018.
  • Despite this decline, the YTD amount invested in MENA startups has already matched full funding for 2019 of ~$802M
  • 2020 has seen a record H1 for capital deployed driven by an increase in average deal-size at both Series A (up by 34%) and Series B (up by 91%) from 2019.
  • The UAE ranked 1st by number of deals (with 26% of all deals), as well as by amount of capital invested;
  • E-commerce gets top spot by deal-share with 21% of all deals in 2020, overtaking FinTech. Together, the industries made up 40% of all deals in MENA in Q3.


  • F&B and retail startup FOODICS (KSA), launches FOODICS CAPITAL, a $100M (SAR 375m) fund to further support Saudi SME F&B merchants  post COVID-19 through Shariah-compliant microloans, offering loans from $5K up to $133K with approval within 7 days.
  • Dtec-based company and advertising intelligence platform in MENA ArabyAds acquires AdFalcon, a pioneering advertising and data platform, and former technology hub of Noqoush Media Group
  • B2B healthcare marketplace platform Aumet acquires Uniorder (Jordan), an order management platform and connections channel between pharmacies and warehouses, which would allow  Aumet to offer services to remote pharmacies within Jordan
  • Abu Dhabi-based non-profit organization Emirates Angels Investors Association has been launched by a group of young investors with focus on launching training programs to educate startups on investors and entrepreneurship. The organization is registered Under the Ministry of Social Development in the UAE.
  • Berlin-based micro-mobility provider TIER launches its first fleet of e-scooters in Dubai, the first to launch since e-scooter service was banned by RTA on safety grounds in 2019. Designated parking spots for the e-scooters have been outlined across Dubai for both TIER and Arnab, which has been operational in Abu Dhabi over the past year
  • Crown Prince of Dubai  HH Sheikh Hamdan announces the Nasdaq Dubai Growth Market, to support SMEs to achieve a streamlined and cost-effective listing (IPO) on the region’s international exchange for  businesses with at least one year of operation, valued below $250M. The initiative is expected to launch next year.


  • Sharif El-Badawi and Hasan Haider, former managing partners of 500 Startups’ Falcons Fund launched Plus Venture Capital (+VC) with a $60M debut fund to invest in early-stage tech startups MENA region and its diaspora. The fund will target 120 startups in 3 years.
  • Foundation Ventures launches its debut Egypt-focused fund for early-stage Egyptian investments ranging from Pre-Seed to Series A, with initial deployment in 4 startups: two fintech, one consumer internet/entertainment and one logistics startup


  • TechStars Hub71 Accelerator to select 10 startups for its program to kick off in 10th January 2021 which will be run virtually.
  • Fintech Saudi to launch Fintech Accelerator powered by Flat6Labs. Accelerator to consider startups with fintech solutions should display interest in KSA market and have validated business models with traction over past 3 months.
  • Bahrain Fintech Bay (BFB) partners with US State Department’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), to launch virtual acceleration program “Build for Bahrain” to support 20 tech-enabled local startups into building an MVP. Top 3 teams will receiving further funding to develop their solution.
  • Amazon Web Services and Halcyon Incubator (US), partner to launch the incubator “2021 Bahrain Women’s Intensive” which will support 10 women-led, Bahrain-based startups via a virtual program of training & mentorship, and introduce them to the U.S. market and investors
  • Google to launch Google for Startups Accelerator Programme for MENA startups. The 3- month program is slated to begin in November with a cohort of 15 startups


  • Hub71 partners with French national investment bank, Bpifrance to launch programmes to provide select startups in the Abu Dhabi and French tech ecosystems access to mentorship, partnerships and investors. They also agreed to explore co-investment opportunities in startups




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