MENA Startup Ecosystem News | August 2023

MENA startups, Magnitt, Rewaa, Flyakeed, Dtec Sandbox, Dtec Ventures, Anghami, Ogram, Binance, Themar, Fawry, Qashio, ISSF, Illuminati Capital, Antler, Flat6Labs, Google, XceleRise

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 August


MENA startups raised $101M in August, showing a decline of 73% year-on-year in deal value: Based on Wamda’s Investments in MENA recap for August:

  • $101M was raised across 26 deals, mostly led by early-stage rounds, with Series A cinching more than 63% of the investment
  • KSA led the total funding raised with $54M across eight deals. UAE comes in second place with $44M across nine deals. The two countries account for 97% of total funds raised in August.
  • In terms of top sectors, Logistics raised most capital with $6M, followed by traveltech, healthtech and Web3. The four sectors contributed 76% of the month’s funding. Fintech slipped to 5th place but topped the list in terms of deal count.
  • B2B startups represented more than half of the funding raised in August, while their consumer facing counterparts raised 27% across nine deals. B2B2C startups raised the remaining 17%

INVESTMENTS (non-exhaustive)

Rewaa Logistics KSA $27M, Series A led by Wa’ed Ventures, STC’s Corporate Investment Fund (CIF), Graphene Ventures, Sadu Capital, Vision Ventures, Khwarizmi Ventures, RZM Investment, Derayah VC, Abdulrahman Sulaiman Al Rajhi & Sons Investment Company.
Flyakeed Travel KSA $15.2M, Series A led by Sanabil Investments, Elm Company; from Artal Capital, Al Rajhi Partners
LVL Health UAE $10M, Series A led by MG Wellness Holding
Anghami Entertainment / Media UAE $5M, undisclosed SRMG Ventures
Maxbyte Robotics UAE $5M, Series A e& capital
UDENZ Health UAE $5M, Series A Hakim Capital Holding, Techcelerate Investments LLC, Inspira Management, and Dubai Business Corporation.
Maly Finance UAE $1.6M, Pre-Seed Angels
Mthmr Finance KSA $1.6M, Seed led by Waed Ventures, Dahran Trading Group, Le Augure, angels
Talents Arena Human Resources Egypt $750K, Pre-Seed UI Investments, angels
YaSchools Education KSA $600K, Seed Angels
SeekMake Construction Tunisia $539K, undisclosed led by Lafayette Group; from Flat6Labs
Lumi AI Logistics UAE Undisclosed Investors Forum Ventures (US), Annex Investments
Buguard Cybersecurity Egypt $500K, Seed led by A15, angels
Gingo Partners Finance UAE $350K, Undisclosed Angels
BitOasis Finance UAE Undisclosed CoinDCX, Wamda Capital, Jump Capital
DataQueue Education Palestine Undisclosed Ibtikar Fund
GoldenScent Consumer services KSA Undisclosed (revenue-based) Tenami Capital
HEDG Finance Egypt Undisclosed, Pre-Seed Undisclosed
Lyvely Media / Entertainment UAE Undisclosed, Seed Cypher Capital
SLE3TI Retail Morocco Undisclosed Cash Plus VC Fund
Wadaie Finance KSA Undisclosed, Pre-Seed led by RZM Investments, Bunat Ventures, angels


Auto-Cure Health Egypt Grinta, Egypt Undisclosed amount
Machinestalk IoT KSA Iot squared, KSA Undisclosed amount



  • KSA launches early-stage focused $200M fund: The fund is 1 of 3 initiatives of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s (KAUST) strategy to turn research into economically beneficial innovations, aligned with the 2030 vision to  deliver unmet investment in local and international firms specializing in high-tech, to enhance economic diversification and contribute to the creation of high-quality technical jobs.
  • Peleset Angels launches to support Palestenian startups: The early-stage investment network consists of Palestinian and diaspora angel investors, providing pre-Seed funding to Palestinian Founders, guiding them in proving their concepts, helping to build their minimum viable products (MVPs), and exploring external markets. They also aim to support female founders and promote inclusivity and diversity within the entrepreneurial landscape.
  • ISSF invests in KSA’s Sadu Capital: Jordan’s Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) committed $1.5M to KSA-based Sadu Capital’s early-stage VC fund. The fund focuses on investing in early-stage startups operating across multiple verticals, particularly those that offer B2B solutions. The partnership aims to accelerate the growth of startups and SMEs in the country.
  • EdVentures partners with VMS: Edtech CVC Edventures partners with venture studio, VMS, to support a greater number of edtech startups in KSA and Egypt. EdVentures will provide startups with its specialized incubation, acceleration, and investment programs while VMS will leverage its network to offer essential guidance, mentorship, and advisory services to enhance the startups’ chances of success.
  • Illuminati Capital raises $50M for Web3 startups: UAE-based crypto VC fund Illuminati Capital,  has raised $50M for a fund that aims to invest in early-stage blockchain and Web3 gaming startups. Illuminati Capital believes that by strategically investing in pioneering sectors, they can play a pivotal role in shaping and building the global Web3 ecosystem and driving transformative shifts in decentralized technologies.



  • UAE’s Ogram expands to Greece: The on-demand digital staffing platform announced its expansion into Greece, having signed up 5,000 gig workers and 200 clients within their first weeks of launch. Greece is the company’s first step in a wider expansion plan into countries with a strong hospitality sector, a high dependence on flexible workers, and a competitive average hourly wage.
  • KSA fintech Themar receives Shariah certification: Islamic P2P platform Themar has received Shariah certification from Shariyah Review Bureau. They also secured a Saudi Central Bank license to provide crowdfunding solutions, bringing the number of authorized debt-based crowdfunding solutions providers in Saudi Arabia to seven.
  • Binance wins operational license in Dubai: Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has won a license to operate in Dubai after meeting the pre-conditions since receiving a preparatory license in September 2022. The milestone is step three of four to be fully regulated in the jurisdiction.
  • Qashio partners with Mastercard to launch corporate credit cards: The partnership will enable the UAE-based spend management fintech startup with virtual issuance of corporate credit cards across the region. The aim is to make the future of expense management cashless, transparent and flexible for corporates.
  • Egypt’s Fawry to launch digital bank: The e-payment solutions provider unveiled its plans to to turn its e-portal, MyFawry, into a digital bank later this year. The new digital bank will provide a variety of financial services, including payments, consumer lending, savings and investments.



  • 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
  • Flat6Labs’ ConTech Program to award $100K to selected startups: “Makers”, the first ever construction-focused, 12-week accelerator program launched by Flat6Labs in partnership with SIAC and Dar Al-Handasah, will provide each selected startup with up to $100K funding, along with access to pilot projects, industry experts, mentorship, business training, one-on-one consultations, coaching sessions, networking opportunities, and essential resources to cultivate and scale their businesses
  • Singapore’s Antler launches $60M MENAP fund: The early-stage fund will also offer co-founder matching, personalized coaching, access to a local and global network of founders and advisors, MENAP ecosystem expertise, day zero investment, and support with follow-on funding. Post-program, Antler invests $180,000 for 11% equity in high-performing founders, selected based on 200+ hours of close interaction time throughout the three-month program.
  • Google launches Palestine Launchpad program: In partnership with Udacity and Spark, the Palestine-focused, capacity-building program aims to help Palestinian graduates and tech entrepreneurs advance their capabilities. It is part of the $10M initiative launched in March 2022 to support the Palestinian tech ecosystem. It aims to graduate 3,500 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem between 2023 and 2026
  • Endeavor Egypt launches XceleRise: In partnership with GIZ Egypt, the 15-month program  is designed to equip entrepreneurs with industry knowledge, market insights, and connections necessary to scale their operations internationally and raise capital. Target sectors are green tech, energy, agri-tech, and sustainability transport.