New year, new name for our monthly roundup of news to be more reflective of our content scope. The new year kicks off with highlights from 2021’s record amounts of capital invested across the region. January saw another mega round announced via cryptocurrency startup Rain’s Series B ($110M), and online delivery platform Jahez’s IPO listing in KSA’s Nomu.
This report is also available in a downloadable PDF version via this link: MENA Startup Ecosystem News – 2022 January
2021 saw record amounts of capital deployed in all geographies in the MENA: Based on MAGNiTT’s 2022 MENA Venture Investment Report, a total of $2.5B capital from 590 deals was deployed in MENA’s startups, with the top 3 highest value of deals above $100M (mega-rounds) coming from the region’s top 3 geographies (UAE, KSA, Egypt). The year also marked a move towards later-stage funding. FinTech tops the list of industries in terms of number of deals and KSA shows the highest increase YoY in its share of investment.
- KSA-based Foodics fully acquires Jordan’s POSRocket (restaurant Cloud tech provider): The acquisition is the first for the restaurant-tech startup Foodics, enabling them to consolidate and take market leadership position in Egypt, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan on top of its dominant position in the GCC.
- Kuwait-based youth platform VO acquires games mobile app Duwaween Games: VO Kuwait announced that the mobile app has a strong potential in rapidly integrating the digital entertainment industry because of its unique high-tech setup that digitalizes Arab traditional games and features it to today’s modern younger population.
- KSA’s Jahez becomes first Saudi tech startup to list on a public exchange: The online delivery platform completed its IPO and announced the listing of its shares on Saudi Exchange’s Parallel Market(Nomu). The final offer price for the shares was set at SAR 850 per share (USD 226.53), implying a market cap of SAR 8.9B (USD 2.4B)
- REEF Technologies to launch cloud kitchens in MENA: REEF Partners with American Group on a joint ventures to open cloud kitchens that will operate REEF, Americana and third party brands throughout the MENA. This follows in the heels of REEF’s acquisition of iKcon in November 2021.
- Property Finder acquires UAE’s Homevalue: MENA-based Real Estate firm Property Finder acquires proptech startup Homevalue, with the latter transferring its market and full-stack to Property Finders to act as one entity. Homevalue brings to Property Finder depth of information from AI powered solutions including valuation, market price, rental yield and market intelligence.
- Anghami merger with SPAC Vistas Media Acquisition Company approved: Shareholders of Vistas Media Acquisition Company approved the merger, bringing the Lebanon-founded, Abu-Dhabi HQ-ed music streaming platform closer to listing on NASDAQ. The merger is said to be valued at $220M. The merger will result in Anghami becoming the second Arab country to list on NASDAQ after Aramex 25 years ago.
- Fawry to raise $50.8 million growth capital, explores a US Listing: Cairo-based fintech Fawry plans to raise $50.8 million of growth capital through a rights issue to existing shareholders, to be used to fund its expansions in financial services for both consumers and merchants as well as position the company as a super app. The board also approved exploring listing in the US in connection with potential SEC registered secondary offering.
|STARTUP||SECTOR / INDUSTRY||LOCATION||AMOUNT & ROUND||INVESTORS|
|Rain||Cryptocurrency / Finance||Bahrain||$110M, Series B||Co-led by Paradigm and Kleiner Perkins, from Coinbase Ventures, Global Founders Capital, et al|
|Lean Technologies||Finance||KSA||$33M, Series A||Led by Sequoia Capital India, from RAED Ventures, Outliers, Shorooq, JIMCO|
|Baly||Logistics||Iraq||$10.5M, Seed||Kingsway Capital, MSA Capital, Global Founders Capital, Vostok Ventures, Majid Al Futtaim, et al|
|Lucidya||Marketing||KSA||$6M, Series B||Led by Rua Growth Fund, from M.A.L Ventures and AlRashed Group, Venture Souq.|
|Dawul||Finance||KSA||$5M, Seed||Led by RAED Ventures, from Impact46, Seedra Ventures, Derayah Ventures and Sukna Ventures|
|Penny Software||Procurement||KSA||$5M,Seed||Led by Outliers Venture Capital, from Shorooq Partners, Hambro Perks ORYX Fund, Wamda, et al|
|TipTop||Consumer services||Iraq||$5M, Seed||Korek Telecom (Iraq)|
|AlSaree3||Logistics||Iraq||$3.5M, Bridge||Led by Euphrates Ventures|
|Dharma||Travel||UAE||$3.5M, Seed||Led by Convivialite Ventures|
|ExpandCart||Ecommerce||Egypt||$2.7M, Pre-Series B||Led by Betatron Venture Group, from Sawari Ventures, Agility Ventures|
|Fiz||Consumer services||Kuwait||$2.5M, Pre-Seed||Led by The Taken Seat and Relish Venture Partners, from angels|
|GameFi Platform Zone||Gaming & Finance||UAE||$2.35M, undisclosed round||DAO Maker, GSR, Altonomy, Enjinstarter, SuperLauncher DAO, MH Ventures, et al|
|Orcas||Education||Egypt||$2.1M, Pre-Series A||Co-led by NFX Ventures, and Access Bridge Ventures, from Algebra Ventures, et al|
|Creative+ Cloud Kitchen||F&B||KSA||$2M, Seed||undisclosed|
|Gahez||Fashion||Egypt||$2M, Pre-Seed||Led by Disruptech Ventures, from Egypt Ventures, Tanmeyah, Afropreneur fund|
|FabricAID||Fashion||Lebanon||$1.6M, Seed||Led by Wamda and alfanar|
|Sanad Cash||Finance||KSA||$1.6M, Seed||Impact46, BIM ventures, Hala ventures, Derayah ventures, angels|
|Fit On Click||Health & wellness||UAE||$1.5M, Pre-Series A||Led by Arrow Capital|
|Verofax||Blockchain / Enterprise SaaS||UAE||$1.5M, Pre-Seed||Led by Benson Oak Ventures, with 500 Global, Wamda Capital, Vernalis Capital|
|Legends Gaming||Gaming||KSA||$1.2M, Undisclosed||Crowdfunding (Scooper)|
|Shorages||Logistics||UAE||$700K, Seed||Led by Mayfair Holdings|
|Kleen||Consumer services||KSA||$533K, Pre-Seed||Share Investment|
|Tawfeer Market||Consumer services||Egypt||$500K, Seed||Alexandria Business Angels Networks|
|3attar||F&B||Egypt||Undisclosed, Seed||AUC Angels, UI Investment, angels|
|Chari||Ecommerce||Morocco||Undisclosed, Bridge||Led by Khwarizmi Ventures (KV), AirAngels, Afri Mobility|
|Hamples||Marketing||UAE||Undisclosed, Pre-Seed||Led by Nama Ventures|
|Jafarshop||Consumer Services||Jordan||Undisclosed, Pre-Seed||Led by Nama Ventures|
|Splendapp||IT Solution||Egypt||Undisclosed, Pre-Seed||Angels|
|Squadio||Human Resources||KSA||Undisclosed, Seed||Led by SEEDRA Ventures|
SOURCE: MAGNiTT’s 2022 MENA Ventures Investment Report
2021 saw record amounts of capital deployed in all geographies in the MENA region (590 deals valued at $2.5B)
- Mega Deals: have now become the norm for later stage companies. For the first time on record, each of the top 3 leading ecosystems (UAE, KSA & Egypt) recorded a mega deal, a round value of greater than $100M.
- Appetite for later stage: Investors have shown a clear appetite to move towards later stage investment deals in the region with deals greater than $10M+ accounting for 19% of all transactions and 52% of all funding.
- Year of exits: a record number of companies exiting with the likes of Jawaker, Connect Ads and MumzWorld, all having been in operation for 10 years or more; and emergence of new investment vehicles (SPACs and Venture Debt)
- Top geographies: UAE remains the HQ of choice of startups in the region, but growth has slowed in terms of deal flow & capital deployment. KSA has the largest increase YoY with increase of 8% in share of investment across the region.
- Year of FinTech: tops the sectors in terms of # of deals as a result of several free zone initiatives, Centra Bank legislation and Sandboxes across MENA.
- Decline in early-stage deals: now at a record low level of 44% across MENA and only 30% of transactions in the UAE, as investors flock to later stage deals to support scaling startups
- Investors from beyond MENA: 44% of total investors that backed MENA startups in 2021 came from outside MENA region, including Sequoia Capital.
- Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds invests in VentureSouq’s $50M FinTech Fund I: Other LPs include ada Fund of Funds, Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), UAE’s Disrupt AD, ADQ’s venture platform, Mubadala Investment Company, and OFC, Middle East investment arm of The Olayan Group
- $150 million VC fund to boost India-UAE startup ecosystem: HCL Founder and Chairman of Startup Committee FICCI, Dr Ajai Chowdhry has launched an India-UAE VC Fund of $150 million with the aim to accelerate the growth of startups in both countries. It will be funded by investors across UAE, India and other GCC countries, aiming to attain 10 unicorns by 2025
- ISSF (Jordan) invests $1.5 million in UAE-based Global Ventures: The Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) announced a direct investment in Global Ventures of $1.5M, making them a partner in the latter’s Global Ventures’ Fund II, focused on igh-growth startups in the Middle East, Africa as well as globally.
- EdVentures and the Academy of Scientific Research & Technology (ASRT) invest in 3 EdTech startups: Equity investment were made in: OBM Education, Super Fny, and Crafty Workshop to expedite their growth as part of the EdVentures 3 months acceleration program
- Microsoft’s GrowthX Accelerator graduates 15 startups in its first cohort: The startups that graduated are: Poltio, Getbee, Gener8, Spitch, Barakatech, Hi55, Nymcard, Nexdegree, Udentify, Fero,ai, Ubrantz, Oplog, Artiwise, B2Brain, AlphaSense. The 3 month program allowed the startups to work directly with corporateS, engage with partners to co-create technology solutions in an effort to address the corporates’ challenges.
WORTH THE READ
- VC Horizon: 8 predictions for MENA 2022
- MENA in Focus Part 1- with MEVP
- MENA in Focus Part 2- with MEVP
- Emerging Venture Markets: Takeaways from an Exceptional Year
- MENA 2021: Top Exit Geographies
- Emerging Venture Markets: Top 3 Investors in 2021
- Key exits of 2021 and what they mean for Mena’s startup ecosystem
- Trends to expect in 2022
- Investment in women-founded startups at 1.2 per cent of $2.87 billion raised in 2021
- Wamda: 2021 Year in Review: Investments in MENA
- MAGNiTT: State of Startup Funding – 2022 Emerging Venture Markets Report