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 January
MENA startups raised $260M in venture debt in 2022: In Magnitt’s 2023 Venture Debt Investment Report, a total of $260M was raised through venture debt in 2022 from 18 transactions.
- Venture debt reached its peak in 2021 with 10 transactions, at 18X its 2020 levels. In 2022, the amount is slightly lower, showing a reduction in average transaction size from $26.6M in 2021, to $14.4M in 2022.
- UAE accounted for 50% of total Venture Debt funding between 2018-2022.
- Fintech accounted for 61% of total funding and 33% of total number of deals from 2018-2022, topping the industry list.
Magnitt’s 2023 Venture Debt Investment Report shows:
- UAE-based Tabby raised $100M in venture debt in 2022, becoming the first startup to close a MEGA deal with venture debt.
- The top five venture debt deals closed by Tabby, TruKKer, Pure Harvest and STARZPLAY accounted for $275M, half of the venture debt reported between 2018 and 2022 across only 15% of the total deals
- UAE-based startups closed 16 venture debt deals between 2018 and 2022, taking over a share of 49% from the total 33 deals
- The UAE is the most funded market through venture debt with a share of 50% of total venture debt funding between 2018 and 2022 of $541M. It is followed by KSA with $155M (29%)
- FinTech, Transport & Logistics and E-Commerce remain industries of choice in venture debt funding. Fintech startups raised $332M, taking up 61% of the region’s $541M total funding from 2018-2022.
|STARTUP||SECTOR / INDUSTRY||LOCATION||AMOUNT & ROUND||INVESTORS|
|One Moto||Transportation||UAE||$150M, Undisclosed round||Undisclosed|
|Tabby||Finance||UAE||$58M, Series C||Sequoia Capital India, STV, PayPal Ventures, Mubadala Investment Capital, Arbor Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst|
|Nümi||Metaverse||UAE||$20M, Undisclosed round||Venom Ventures Fund|
|Alaan||Finance||UAE||$4.5M, Pre-Series A||Presight Capital, Y Combinator, angels|
|InvestSky||Finance||UAE||$3.4M, Pre-Seed||Led by Emkan Capital; from S3 Ventures, Al-Romaizan Family office, angels|
|KarmSolar||Energy||Egypt||$3M, Debt Financing||HSBC|
|Wafeq||Finance||UAE||$3M, Seed||Led by Raed Ventures; from Wamda Capital|
|Matbakhi||F&B||KSA||$2.3M, Pre-Seed||Led by Bugshan Investment Company; from angels|
|At Home Doc||Health||Qatar||$1.9M, Pre-Series A||Led by Tawasol Holdings; from angels|
|ASKWHO||Media||UAE||$1M, Undisclosed round||$515 from Crowdfunding; remaining amount from undisclosed investors|
|Flyby||Logistics / Marketing||UAE||$1M, Seed||Led by FHS Capital (US), VN2 Capital (UK)|
|Cathedis||Logistics||Morocco||$735K, Undisclosed round||Afrimobility, CDG Invest|
|Millesima Technolo-gies||Media||Tunisia||$480K, Undisclosed round||BH Equity (VC subsidiary of BH Bank)|
|Nourish||F&B||UAE||$400K, Undisclosed round||Undisclosed investors|
|RestHero||Marketing||UAE||$200K, Undisclosed round||Hope Ventures, Khalid Al-Taweel|
|OrderJet||F&B||Bahrain||$125K, Undisclosed round||Hope Ventures, Dr Abdulelah Algosaibi|
|Alsaree3||F&B / Logistics||Iraq||Undisclosed||Undisclosed|
|Ninja||Consumer services||KSA||Undisclosed amount, Pre-Seed||Led by Bunat Ventures; from undisclosed VC investors from US and family office in KSA|
|Terra||Transportation||UAE||Undisclosed amount, Pre-Seed||Undisclosed|
- Wa’ed Ventures invests in PASQAL: Wa’ed Ventures, the Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Centre (Wa’ed), invested in a $108 million Series B for PASQAL, a French software startup developing quantum computing for commercial use. The round was led by Temasek, with participation by European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund, Quantonation, Daphni and Eni Next.
- KSA’s DAAL Ventures invests in Mexico’s Pulppo: DAAL Ventures participated in the $5M seed funding round of Mexico’s proptech Pulppo alongside Y Combinator, 1984VC, Boost Capital, and others. Pulppo operates as an online broker, offering a complete solution for everything an agent needs to manage, from property appraisals to home visits.
- NB Ventures invests in India’s Suraasa: UAE-based NB Ventures has invested in India-based career-tech Suraasa’s $1.2 million Seed round, led by Inflection Point Ventures. Other investors participating in this round include SuperMorpheus, Vinners, SucSEED Innovation, along with angel investors. Suraasa focuses on upskilling teachers and providing them with employment opportunities.
- GBarena acquires Galactech for $15M: Egypt-based E-sports platform Gbarena, acquires gaming startup Galactech for $15M to expand its footprint in the GCC region, including Saudi Arabia. GBArena will leverage the on-ground presence and capabilities that Galactech has in Riyadh, Dubai, and Tunis.
- UAE’s Hotdesk acquires Spain’s YADO: UAE-based on-demand workspace booking platform Hotdesk acquired its Spanish counterpart YADO to mark its expansion into Europe. Hotdesk will leverage YADO’s hyper-local approach to offer increased co-working options around Spain and other Spanish-speaking markets.
- Growth Avenue Company acquires 20% stake in SororApp: KSA-based on-demand delivery app SororApp closed its funding round with the acquisition of 20% stake by Growth Avenue Company, a subsidiary of Maharah Human Resources Company. SororApp provides on-demand home services in various sectors and regions of Saudi Arabia through authorized service providers.
- UAE-based Astra Tech acquires MENA’s leading VoIP solution BOTIM: The acquisition, supported by fundraising of $500M led by G42, will accelerate the relaunch of BOTIM as an Ultra app. This milestone is the most recent in a string of acquisitions by Astra including Rizek (home cleaning services), and Payby (fintech), both of which will integrate into BOTIM to offer a range of services through single integration
- Bahrain’s Beyon Cyber acquires UAE’s DTS Solutions: Cyber security provider Beyon Cyber acquires DTS Solution, a leading cybersecurity advisory, consulting and engineering firm in Dubai. This will help the former’s expansion plans and add to its portfolio of cybersecurity offerings.
WORTH THE READ
- How a failed supermarket and a stint at Uber led to the founding of Abwaab
- What is next for Careem’s mobility of money?
- How influence is increasingly breeding entrepreneurship
- Why SWVL’s acquisition of Volt Lines came to a halt
- 2023: MAGNiTT’s Predictions for the Emerging Venture Markets
- Emerging Venture Markets: Insights from the Ecosystem
Forbes Middle East