MENA Startup Ecosystem News | April 2022

MENA startups, Dtec Ventures, Dtec Sandbox, SWVL, Careem, Cryptocurrency Rain, Flat6Labs, SVC, Dubai Venture Fund

This report is also available in a downloadable PDF version via this link: MENA Startup Ecosystem News – Apr 2022


MENA startups raise $864M in Q1 2022: According to Magnitt’s Q1 2022 Venture Investment Report, $864M was raised in venture funding in MENA over the first quarter of the year; signifying a strong start for the ecosystem.

  • This surpasses the previous quarter by 33.3%, and that of Q1 2021 by 161%. Startups in the UAE accounted for 27.3% of all deals and 34.4% of total funding raised.
  • Sectors Fintech and Transportation & Logistics constitute more than half (53%) of total funds raised. One Mega Deal ($100M+) was closed in the quarter by cryptocurrency Rain.
  • MENA-based investors outnumbered global backers for deals lea than $5M, while international investors kept to larger sized rounds ($5M+).


Foodics F&B KSA $170M, Series C Led by Prosus, Sanabil Investments, from Sequoia Capital India, STV, Endeavor Catalyst
Millenial Brands Beauty & Wellness UAE $35M, undisclosed round  Global Emerging Markets Group (USA)
Pylon Energy / Environment Egypt $19M, Seed Led by Endure Capital, from  Cathexis Ventures, Khawarizmi Ventures, Loftyinc Ventures, et al
Red Sea Farms Agriculture KSA $18.5M, undisclosed round Led by Wa’ed (Saudi Aramco), The Savola Group, from KAUST Innovation Fund, OlsonUbben LLC
Zenda Finance UAE $9.4M, Seed STV, COTU Ventures, Global Founders Capital, VentureSouq
Raha Consumer services Kuwait $6.7M, Seed Undisclosed
The Food Lab F&B Egypt $4.5M, Pre-Seed Led by Nuwa Capital, Shorooq Partners, 4DX Ventures, et al
Queros Education UAE $3M, Pre-Seed COTU Ventures, Collee Capital, from Globivest, Plutus21 Capital, Dubai Angel Investors, et al
Right Farm Agriculture UAE $2.8M, Seed Led by DisruptAD, Enhance Ventures
Kaya Beauty & Wellness KSA $2.6M, Seed Revival Lab, Al-Dowayan Investment Company, Al-Sulaimaniya Investment Group.
O7 Therapy Health Egypt $2.1M, Seed Led by Hikma Ventures, C-Ventures, Lotus Ventures
Wisewell Consumer services UAE $2M, Pre-Seed Led by BECO
Repzo Enterprise SaaS Jordan $1.5M, Bridge Led by Arab Palestinian Investment Company (APIC), Jabbar Internet Group, Ahli Fintech, et al
Lawazem Ecommerce KSA $1.3M, Seed Led by Merak Capital, from Merced (KSA)
Sprints Education Egypt $1.2M, Seed Led by  Alexandria Angels Network, from MED Angels, AUC Angels, Cubit Ventures, et al
Joi Gifts Consumer services UAE $1M, Pre-Series B Panthera Capital
Spoilz Games Gaming KSA $692K, Pre-Seed Angels
Nessiam Fashion Morcco $305K, undisclosed round CDG Invest
WafR Finance Morocco $278K, undisclosed round Led by UM6P Ventures, Plug and Play, from angels
Fine Diner F&B UAE $150K, Seed Undisclosed
Lune Finance UAE $68K, undisclosed round Sandooq Al Watan
Gathern Real estate KSA Undisclosed amount, Pre-Series B Led by Shurafa Real Estate Development, from STV, Al Majdia Residence, et al
PayMint Finance Egypt Undisclosed amount, Seed AUR Fintech
Shift EV Transportation & mobility Egypt Undisclosed amount, Series A Union Square Ventures, Algebra Ventures, and Wamda, otf Jasoor Ventures
Rology Health Egypt Undisclosed amount, Series A Egypt Ventures, Sequence Ventures, Waseel, Tawaref, and Viktoria Ventures.
QiDZ Entertainment / Education Egypt Undisclosed The Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund
WakeCap Construction KSA Undisclosed Wa’ed (Saudi Aramco)


  • Swvl acquires Transit Firm Volt Lines: The Dubai-based ride sharing startup acquired Turkish transportation-as-a-service operator Volt Lines valued at around $40M. This 4th acquisition by Swvl gives the startup access to Volt Lines’ tech and over 110 corporate clients
  • KSA-based GLT Express acquires Egypt’s Gallop Express: KSA-based Logistics company GLT Express acquired the Egyptian logistics company Gallop Express, as part of the former’s expansion beyond the GCC countries and into further countries in the MENA region.
  • Egypt’s M&A Firm PIE acquires online marketplace, Exits: Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory Firm PIE has acquired Exits, a regional online marketplace for buying and selling websites, apps, and traditional businesses. PIE aims to build the “microacquire” of the region and make it easier for smaller companies to gain more visibility to investors and eventually list on an M&A marketplace and for buyers to be able to search for potential acquisitions online.
  • Clara secures investment from The LegalTech Fund: UK-based, MENA-focused startup Clara raised investment from US-based The LegalTech Fund which is focused on startups transforming the world of law. This takes Clara’s seed funding to more than $3.5M as it emerges from beta phase. Clara’s platform provides an integrated set of self-service tools to help founders digitally form, manage and scale startups.
  • UK’s Footballco acquires UAE-based Kooora: Football-focused digital media company Footballco acquires online sports content startup Kooora for $25M. This enables Footballco to expand its regional fanbase to 42 million. Both companies are relocating their headquarters to KSA
  • YallaMarket accepts cryptocurrencies as payment on its app: The quick-commerce startup launches the new payment method, after partnering with CoinMENA, the digital assets exchange licensed by Central Bank of Bahrain. Stable coins USDT (Tether) and USDC are accepted for orders made via their app. The startup is also considering paying salaries via digital assets in the future
  • Careem adds car rental service to its super app: As a result of their partnership, ride-haling app Careem now offers car rental services via Swapp app. Swapp allows customers to browse cars on its app, and rent them on a monthly basis, initially for a minimum of 30 days, after which they can renew, return the car or swap it for a different one.
  • Cryptocurrency exchange Rain waives trading fees: Rain, a cryptocurrency exchange that is licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, has introduced zero per cent trading fees, with the aim to attract and on-board new customers in the region. This move follows the startup’s Series B funding in early 2022.
  • Careem shifts focus to financial services: The move aims to position the super app as a key fintech player in the Middle East and Pakistan. Following regulatory approval and in partnership with First Abu Dhabi Bank, they now offer a wider range of services with its Careem Pay digital wallet, including bill payments and peer-to-peer money transfer using a phone number, QR code, or payment link, all with the ability to cash out
  • B2B Marketplace Retailo acquires DXBUY (UAE): Retailo, the Saudi-based one-stop shop marketplace for SMEs and retailers, acquired DXBUY for undisclosed amount. This helps the company develop inroads in DXBUY’s hotel, restaurant & café marketplace, as the former plans expansion to the MENAP region.
  • UAE Cabinet announces new rules for long term visas: A set of executive regulations announced now make long-term permits to enter and stay in the country more accessible, as the country aims to attract and retain top talent. This includes a new set of flexible requirements for entrepreneurs and startup owners to potentially qualify for the Golden Visa


  • Dubai launches $100M Venture Capital Fund for Startups: Aimed to bolster startup projects in the emirate, the fund is will be deployed in June, to be governed by DIFC, which also contributes 15% to the fund. It will run for 8 years and is expected to provide 8,000 jobs for emerging talents and strengthen Dubai’s position as a regional center for entrepreneurship, FinTech, innovation and venture capital.
  • Flat6Labs & Saudi Venture Capital (SVC) launch $40M Startup Seed Fund: Named the “Startup Seed Fund”, the fund aims to support more than 20 Saudi startups annually with seed capital over the next three years, in addition to a number of other benefits, such as support via Flat6Labs Riyadh Seed Program.
  • IFC pledges $15 million investment in Algebra Fund II: The International Finance Cooperation’s (IFC) investment Algebra Ventures’ $90M second fund will support the growth of 20 tech startups, primarily women-led and serving rural communities in Egypt and wider Africa
  • KSA’s KAUST launches VC fund for deep tech startups: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Innovation Fund will invest in seed stage startups with large potential market, superior product/tech, and are in alignment with KAUST’s main research areas. Ticket size would range from $200K-$2M.


  • DIFC launches venture studio platform to develop fintech in Dubai: In collaboration with Enhance Ventures and Silicon Foundry, the “Studio Launchpad” will focus on finance and digital asset technologies to build a “Ubiquitous Finance” ecosystem. It is part of DIFC’s 2030 strategy to incubate 10 unicorns, 100 scale-ups and over 8,000 innovation jobs from Dubai, to attract $272M in venture capital.
  • Dtec’s SANDBOX for early-stage startups puts Founders at its core: Dtec’s landmark 12-month startup program offers founders 200+ hours of workshops, 100+ hours 1:1 with expert practitioners, USD $950,000+ in-kind credits from partners, access to award-winning office space, Equity Warrant of USD $50,000, business licensing support, and much more. If you are an early-stage tech entrepreneur in Dubai, seeking to test, grow and scale, APPLY TODAY
  • Startup Programs Application Deadlines


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