GCC Startup Ecosystem News | September 2021

GCC Ecosystem news, startup news, Unifonic, Projects of the 50, 100 coders a day, Trukker, Sehteq, MNT Halal, 500 STartups 500 Global

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


  • UAE announces  Projects of the 50 in celebration of the country’s 50th National Day. The initiatives revolve around progressive reforms and economic programs to usher in the next phase of growth for the country. Projects such as the Tech Drive (AED5 billion fund), Emirates Investment Summit, 100 coders a day initiative, PyCon MEA, Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, Invest.ae all emphasize on the role of technology and investments in building the country’s sustainable future



Startup Sector / Industry Location Amount & Round Investors
Unifonic Communications KSA $125M undisclosed round led by SoftBank Group Corp, via Sanabil (KSA sovereign wealth fund)
MNT-Halan Finance Egypt $120M undisclosed round led by Apis Growth Fund II, Development Partners International (DPI), and Lorax Capital Partners
Capiter E-commerce Egypt $33M Series A led by  Quona Capital and MSA Capital, from Savola Group, Shorooq Partners, Foundation Ventures, et al
Leena AI Human Resources UAE $30M Series B led by Bessemer Venture Partners, from Greycroft
Nomad Homes Real Estate UAE $20M Series A led by  01 Advisors and The Spruce House Partnership
Zbooni E-commerce SaaS UAE $9.5M Series A March Holding, Enterprise Fund, Chalhoub Group
Cartona E-commerce Egypt $4.5M Pre-Series A led by Global Ventures, from Kepple Africa Ventures, T5 Ventures and angels
Enhance Fitness Health UAE $3M Series A led by Global Ventures
JOI Gifts Consumer services UAE $2.5M Series A led by Knuru Capital, from MENA Moonshots, Wa’ed
Elkaso F&B UAE $2.1M Pre-Seed led by  Global Founders Capital and MSA Capital, et al
Moya App Consumer services KSA $2M undisclosed round led by MLM Invest
Kashat Finance Egypt $1.75M bridge led by Launch Africa, from Cairo Angels
CashIn Finance KSA $1.6M Seed led by BIM Ventures, from angels
KLAIM Health / Finance UAE $1.6M Pre-Series A led by  Mad’a Investments, from Arzan Venture Capital, Wealth Well, Techstars
Miswag E-commerce Iraq $1.6M Pre-Series A Khudairi Group and Euphrates Iraq Fund
Scalers Education / Training KSA $533K Seed Undisclosed
Supy F&B UAE $1.5M Pre-Seed led by COTU Ventures and Valia Ventures (USA)
Rumbl Health KSA $1.07 Seed led by Investor’s Mine Angel Group
Hotdesk Coworking UAE $1M Seed led by Virtuzone, from Zayani Venture Capital, angels
Sotech Health / IoT Egypt $1M Pre-Seed led by Innlife
Koala Picks Consumer services UAE $408K undisclosed round Undisclosed
CloudFret Logistics Morocco $390K undisclosed round Azur Innovation Fund
DataPathology Health Morocco $232K undisclosed round led by WitamaxOne
Lacaisse.ma Finance Morocco Undisclosed led by WitamaxOne
Pravica Blockchain Egypt Undisclosed Crypto Valley Venture Capital (Sweden)
Shiphaly Travel / Retail Egypt Undisclosed Undisclosed
Starzly Media / Entertainment UAE Undisclosed amount, Seed SEEDRA Ventures, 500 Startups, Nama Ventures
Yegertek SaaS UAE Undisclosed NB Ventures



  • KSA-based storage and last-mile delivery startup Diggipacks acquired undisclosed amount of shares in Egypt’s FWRUN, in an effort to consolidate both companies’ expertise, resources, and technology supporting Diggipacks expansion to the Egyptian market and FWRUN to the Kingdom.
  • Egypt-based FinTech and E-payment solutions provider Fawry successfully acquired shares in social commerce marketplace Brimore. Valued at $1M, the minority acquisition comes in a series of efforts by Fawry to expand its network of partners through strategic acquisitions.
  • Kuwaiti Real Estate company 3S International acquires proptech startup Taskeen Al Oula (Taskeen App) for undisclosed amount, as part of 3S International’s plan to expand the provision of its real estate technical services, leveraging Real Estate technology.
  • UAE-based, freight network TruKKer acquired TruckSher (Pakistan) as part of its expansion into the Pakistan land freight sector, marking the former’s first M&A towards geographic expansion
  • Jordan-based leading online card game studio Jawaker gets acquired by Stillfront Group for $205M, to ground the latter’s position and expand its gaming portfolio in the MENA region.
  • UAE-based InsurTech Sehteq has signed a definitive term sheet of acquisition by Boston-based cloud computing and SaaS startup Cloud Klair, to take effect post-January 2022.
  • Emaar Malls, the retail arm of Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar Properties, is considering selling e-commerce startup Namshi for $600-700 million according to Reuters. Emaar is also considering listing Namshi abroad via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Namshi was acquired by Emaar Malls in 2017 from Global Fashion Group for $151 million
  • eyewa, the largest online eyewear retailer in the Middle East, opens its first store in the UAE at City Centre Mirdiff. This follows their Series B Funding of $21 million and is part of a brisk Mena-based growth push to see the retail brand launching 100 outlets in key locations across the region by 2023
  • Automotive marketplace Contactcars.com (Egypt), acquires Sa3ar Technology Solutions – a platform that provides car valuation technology and a dealer-specific auction platform.


  • Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, has set aside SAR19.1 million ($5.9 million) in Seed grants and loans to Saudi entrepreneurs to fund the best new startups. Wa’ed has deployed more than $106 million in VC investment, loans and incubation services into more than 100 Saudi-based startups since its creation in 2011
  • US-based venture capital firm 500 Startups closed its largest fund to date at $140 million and rebranded to 500 Global. The global flagship funding brings assets under management to $1.8 billion and will invest in accelerators, seed stage and late stage companies
  • Flat6Labs has announced the second close and increase of its Tunisia-based Anava Seed Fund (ASF) from $3 million to $10 million. Sawari Ventures joins the fund’s investors with $1.6 million.


  • New incubator KUBE Ventures launches in UAE focusing on hospitality and tourism to reshape the hospitality, leveraging two crucial entities to empower new ideas: KUBE Circle (community) and KUBE Conscience (governance)
  • Plug and Play Abu Dhabi partners with Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to launch an innovation platform for startups to solve tech challenges and bottlenecks defined by key industry stakeholders and thought leaders from Plug and Play Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem





Khaleej Times