MENA Startup Ecosystem News | April 2023

Dtec Ventures, Wamda, Magnitt, Hakbah,, Cafu, Careem, Cashew BNPL

Here is this month’s compilation of startup news. This report is also available in a downloadable PDF version via this link: MENA Startup Ecosystem News – 2023 April


MENA Startups raise $7M in April, a 97% drop from March 2023: Wamda reports startups in MENA raised a little over $7M in April raised across 11 deals — a drop of 97% compared to March 2023 and a 99% drop compared to April 2022.

  • The slowdown is apparently compounded by the Eid and Easter breaks and the subsequent fallout from the Silicon Valley Bank crisis. It also highlights the decline in tech startup investment globally, following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
  • A little of $3M went to 3 startups in the UAE, and the another $3M to KSA startups


Hakbah Finance KSA $2M, Pre-Series A Global Ventures, Aditum Investment Management Gaming UAE $350K, undisclosed round Undisclosed Consumer services Tunisia $336K, undisclosed round 216 Capital Ventures
Ajras Finance KSA $335K, undisclosed undisclosed
CoaChess Gaming Tunisia $191K, Seed Omicrone
Midient Gaming Iraq $125K, Pre-Seed Flat6Labs, Loyal VC
FlykSoft Beauty / Wellness UAE $55K, Seed Angels
Cashew Finance UAE Undisclosed Shaker Group
Eighty6 Retail UAE Undisclosed 500 Global
Madark Education KSA Undisclosed Lean Node
Lemonade Fashion Fashion Lebanon Undisclosed Razor Capital


Camel Ventures launches $16M VC fund

The new VC fund dubbed “Camel Ventures for Investment I (CVI)” from Egypt-based Camel Ventures will focus on supporting Egypt’s fintech startup ecosystem, by providing them with both equity investments for early-stage startups, as well as venture debt for later-stage startups.

Scalo Technologies moves its HQ to Dubai

In a  strategic move to identify and guide startups with the potential to enter global markets. Singapore-based VC firm Scalo Technologies  intends to invest $100M in promising startups over the next three to five years with a focus on cloud-based AI products and gaming companies.

King Saud University invests in STV’s Total Growth Platform

Through its investment arm, Riyadh Valley Company (RVC), King Saud University invests in the $150M VC fund Total Growth Platform that was launched by STV. Total Growth Platform will offer regional tech ventures access to a suite of funding solutions (equity and debt) to support their growth.


Cashew raises undisclosed investment from Shaker Group: UAE-based BNPL fintech startup Cashew raised an undisclosed investment from Saudi company Shaker Group, for a 10% stake. Shaker Group is a Saudi AC importer and manufacturer and distributor. The investment will allow Shaker Group to strengthen its e-commerce and retail platforms by adopting digital financing solutions.

KSA’s Savvy Games acquires US’s Scopely: KSA-based, PIF owned gaming platform Savvy Games acquired the game developer and publisher, Scopely, for $4.9B. The acquisition is intended to strengthen Savvy’s ability to “deliver new and exciting products” for the global gaming community. Savvy aims to invest $38 billion with the aim of turning the kingdom into one of the world’s major gaming hubs.

UAE raises tax thresholds for startups: UAE’s Ministry of Finance raised the minimum threshold for corporate tax from $100K (AED375K) to $816K (AED3M) for small and micro businesses, startups and freelancers effective June 2023 until December 2026. This is to support startups and other small or micro businesses by reducing their corporate tax burden.

CAFU to expand to Canada: Fuel on demand startup CAFU announces its plans to launch in Canada with an EV charging solution. Cafu’s new innovative service will allow car owners in Quebec to charge their cars with a simple tap of a button, boosting access to charging infrastructure

Autocheck acquires majority stake in AutoTager: Nigeria-based car financing platform Autocheck has acquired Egypt’s used car marketplace AutoTager for an undisclosed amount. This will enable Autochek to deepen its presence in North Africa starting with Egypt,

Noon lays off 10% of its workforce: According to Bloomberg, this move by the KSA-based ecommerce platform included roles in marketing and advertising and other department, in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Everdome receives additional investment commitment from GEM Digital Limited: In addition to the $10M funding from GEM in August 2022, total investment commitment from GEM Digital Limited in UAE-based metaverse startup Everdome is now at $60M, in the form of a further structured token subscription agreement,

e& acquires majority stake in Careem’s Super App: Communications firm e& acquired a 50.03% stake in Careem’s Super App spinout for $400 million, to support the latter’s expansion plans. Careem’s ride-hailing business will remain fully owned by US mobility firm Uber and will be available with all Careem’s services on the existing app for customers.


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