GCC Startup Ecosystem News | September 2020

Startup Ecosystem news, Dtec Ventures, Jandi, JustClean, Elves, WizHolding, UAE-Israel treaty, The List, Luxury Closet, Careem, AWOK, Fetchr, Talabat, Foodics, Huawei, Bayut, Sheraa, Dtec, Dtec Coworking, Virtuzone, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, AFKAR Ventures, Riyadh Angel Investors, Venture Capital, dubai VC

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


UAE and Israel sign peace agreement, paving opportunities for startups: UAE signs peace treaty with Israel,  together with Bahrain, opening the gates to companies from various sectors for new collaborations as the agreement centers in on  high-tech, health, academia, intelligence, defense and space solutions


Startup Sector / Industry Location Amount & Round Investors
Jandi Productivity app UAE, South Korea $13M, Series B led by SoftBank Ventures Asia
JustClean Consumer services Kuwait $8M, Series B Faith Capital Holding
Elves Consumer services Egypt $2M, undisclosed Sawari Ventures and existing investors
WizHolding Ecommerce UAE $2M, Seed undisclosed investors from USA, Canada, and KSA
Penny Procurement KSA $1.35M, Seed Wamda, Class 5 Global, Outliers VC, Plug and Play and angels
Rology Health Egypt $860K, Pre-Series A led by HIMangel. Dubai Angel Investors (DAI), from The Asia Africa Investment & Consulting, and Athaal Group
Anubis Gaming Gaming Egypt $300K, Seed undisclosed
Udenz Health UAE $100K, Bridge Global Ventures and angels
360Moms Consumer services Jordan undisclosed amount & round Ibtikar Fund and ISSF
Isqan.com Real estate Egypt undisclosed amount, Pre-Seed undisclosed
Kashier Payments Finance Egypt undisclosed amount, Seed Glint Venture et al
La Reina Fashion Egypt undisclosed amount, Seed 500 Startups, Algebra Ventures and angels
RoadRunner Logistics Egypt undisclosed amount & round undisclosed
The List Fashion UAE undisclosed amount, Bridge Nervora (media company, UAE)
The Luxury Closet Fashion UAE undisclosed amount & round Huda Beauty Investments



  • Dubai-based ecommerce platform Awok has shut down just a little over a year after the company’s first external funding round of $30 million, recognized as one of the largest investment  for an ecommerce startup in the region. (For more info,  check out the Articles Worth Reading section below)
  • Pre-loved luxury e-commerce The Luxury Closet (TLC) receives funding from Huda Beauty Investments (HBI) as part of its ongoing $11M fundraise. HBI Co-Founder Mona Kattan to join the Board of Directors alongside shareholders MEVP, Wamda Capital, Knuru Capital and Precinct Partners
  • Logistics startup Fetchr confirmed receiving $15 million in fresh capital as part of its Series C (announced earlier in July) and looks to raise additional $10 million before end of the year. With the confirmation of the investment, Fetchr also launched its new website and logo.
  • Dubai-headquartered Talabat (Delivery Hero’s main brand in MENA), officially launches in Egypt, replacing and rebranding from Otlob, the oldest food delivery brand in the region.
  • Restaurant management platform Foodics (KSA) expands to Egypt with an on-the-ground presence in Cairo, a little over a year after their $4 million investment round.
  • Saudi e-commerce platform provider Salla has partnered with KSA-based Tamara to offer customers the chance to buy now and pay later without fees.
  • Huawei partners with Fintech startup, TPay Mobile to make it easier and more convenient for developers in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region to monetise their apps on Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) via TPay Mobile’s Direct Carrier Billing service for all of Huawei’s HMS customers
  • Dubai Economy partners with digital marketplace noon.com, to connect Emirati startups havinga Dubai Economy’s DED Trader license with customers across the region through its Mahali digital store.
  • Real-estate property portal Bayut launches School Guide section on their portal to help parents make informed choices of campus facilities, fee structures, admissions policy and scholarship schemes offered by schools across the UAE.
  • Beehive partners with Sharjah Media City (Shams) to provide Shams SMEs in the creative or media industries, access to low-cost finance up to AED500,000 through Beehive’s regulated peer to peer lending platform
  • Chat commerce startup Zbooni partners with Virtuzone to provide the latter’s clients access to transaction solutions via Whatsapp, as well as access to Zbooni’s social commerce platform
  • Careem is goes remote-first, giving its employees across 36 offices around the region the option to work from home on a permanent basis, with Careem’s offices to be repurposed as collaboration spaces.
  • Mastercard launches Fintech Express in MEA to support digital payment innovators by making it simple to collaborate with Mastercard and its partners to launch new fintech products



  • Jordan’s Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) invests in Shorooq Partners’ Bedaya Fund, which focuses on seed and early-stage startups across fintech, software, and platform startups in the GCC, Egypt, and Jordan
  • Saudi-based angel groups Riyadh Angels and Najd Angels have announced combining their network into one group, the Riyadh Ange Investors (RAI) now with a total of 35 members.
  • Endeavor Catalyst closes its third fund, Endeavor Catalyst III, with $134 million to co-invest in equity financing rounds of startups with founders within Endeavor’s network. Investors in the fund include Careem’s 3 founders (Sheikha, Olsson & Elyas)
  • AFKAR Ventures launches in the Middle East to invest in Seed stage startups in the energy technology sector.



  • Standard Chartered Bank partners with Womena to launch the 2020 Womentum Accelerator programme for female led startups throughout Africa and Middle East.  The programme is set to launch in late September.
  • DIFC and Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) partner to launch a technology acceleration program to support blockchain and AI-driven startups.


  • Dtec and Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry selects top 5 homegrown startups as the second phase of Dubai Startup Hub’s Emirati Development Program concludes. The winner, Baytuki, receives a one-year free company setup at Dtec, additional acceleration support, mentoring, access to Dtec meeting rooms and a chance to showcase  at GITEX 2020.







On UAE-Israel Peace Agreement: