MENA Startup Ecosystem News | July 2022

MENA startups, Dubai Startups, Swvl, Magnitt, YAP, Cartona, SUPY, Careem, Denarii, Zeelo,Urbvan, LYVE, Deliveroo, Silicon Badia, Flat6Labs, Sandbox, Dtec Sandbox

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 – 2022 July


KSA VC market catching up with UAE, beats Egypt for 2nd place as most funded in H1 2022: According to H1 2022 Saudi Arabia Venture Capital Report | MAGNiTT, the Saudi Arabian VC market saw a record funding of $584M in H1 2022 after observing a 244% increase compared to H1 2021, surpassing its total year funding in 2021. It is closing the funding value gap with UAE with just 16% difference, and it beat Egypt in number of deals as it achieved a 36% in total transactions.

  • Growth in funding is attributed to investments in Early-Stage deals (Pre-Seed to Series A) taking up 80%+ of deals, with strong support from KSA-based investors
  • 58% of active investors in KSA startups are also based in KSA
  • The country had its first Mega Deal in 2021 with Unifonic (Enterprise SaaS) raising $125M



YAP Finance UAE $41M, undisclosed Led by Aljazira Capital, Abu Dawood Group, Astra Group, and Audacia Capital
Cartona Retail Egypt $12M, Series A Led by Silicon Badia, from  SANAD Fund for MSME, Global Ventures, Kepple Ventures, Arab Bank Accelerator, Sunny Side Ventures
Supy F&B UAE $8M, Seed Led by BECO Capital, from  Valia Ventures, COTU Ventures, Global Ventures, AMK Investment Office
Qstay Hospitality UAE $6.5M, Seed (Debt & equity) Undisclosed
Houza Real Estate UAE $5.5M, Pre-Series A Undisclosed
ZKX Finance UAE $4.5M, Seed StarkWare, Alameda Research, Amber Group, Huobi and
Artifi Art / Finance UAE $3.26M, undisclosed Sheikha Hend Al Qassemi, Raza Beig, angels
Chatfood F&B UAE $3M, Bridge Led by Antler; from 6G Capital, Zinal Growth
The Fashion Kingdom Fashion Egypt $2.6M, Seed Led by Cventures, A15; from Lotus Capital, Raba Partnership, Sunny Side Venture Partners, Foundation Ventures, Cairo Angels Syndicate Fund
Omooma Consumer services UAE $2.5M, undisclosed  E20 Investment LTD
Al Gooru Education KSA $1.8M, Seed RAZ Group, RZM Investment, 100 Ventures, RAY Investment, angels
Karty Finance Qatar $1.2M, Pre-Seed Visa, Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Qatar Foundation, angels
Bhatia Labs Design UAE $400K, Seed Eureeca Holdings
Aza Petrosolutions Energy Morocco $296K, undisclosed  Maroc Numeric Fund
SmartProf Education Morocco $50K, undisclosed Plug and Play Morocco
Orisdi Retail Iraq Undisclosed Al Sharqiya TV, Iraqi Angel Investors Network
Paymee Finance Tunisia Undisclosed Led by P1 Ventures
Sol F&B KSA Undisclosed amount, Seed Angels
Stllr Marketing Egypt Undisclosed 500 Global, Women Spark, Falak Angels



  • Anava fund of funds invests in Silicon Badia BIF2: Anava fund of funds, managed by Tunis-based Smart Capital, invested $5.2M in the Badia  Impact Squared Fund (BIF2), targeting regional early-stage high growth startups, managed by Jordan’s Silicon Badia.
  • Dutch bank FMO to invest in Egypt’s Algebra Ventures’ second fund: FMO commits $10M in the fund which  invests in technology start-ups in Egypt with an allocation for the wider Middle East and Africa region. The commitment is funded through EUR 200M investment program of FMO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Commission for early-stage startups in frontier and growth markets.
  • Seedstars Launches Second SEED-Stage Fund at $20M: Fund investors include  International Finance Corporation (IFC), Visa Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Symbiotics. The Seedstars International Ventures II (SIV) Fund aims to invest in 100 Pre-Seed to Seed stage companies in MENA, Asia, Latin America & Africa in sectors of finance, commerce, health, work & education



  • Careem acquires UAE-based money transfer Platform Denarii: UAE-based super app Careem acquired the assets of Denarii, marking a second acquisition within a month’s time. Value of the deal was undisclosed. The acquihire will allow Careem to integrate Denarii’s technology and assets into the Careem platform.
  • SWVL acquires Urbvan, a Mexico-based mass mobility startup: Swvl’s acquisition of Urbvan provides another opportunity to accelerate Swvl’s mission to provide safer, faster, smarter, and more affordable mass transport for everyone no matter where they live. The acquisition gives Swvl access to Latin America’s second-large country by population.
  • Swvl’s acquisition of Zeelo (UK) is off amid tech stock slump: Swvl and Zeelo mutually agreed to terminate the planned $100M acquisition citing overall market conditions and the slump in tech stocks. Swvl’s trades at $1 a share, down from $9-10 when the acquisition news dropped. Swvl previously funded a $5M convertible promissory note to Zeelo, which the latter will now keep.
  • Anghami acquires live events management company Spotlight: The Dubai-based live events & concert company Spotlight was acquired by Anghami for an undisclosed amount. The partnership aims to bridge the gap between offline and online by providing access to exclusive concerts via Anghami’s live video streaming capabilities
  • UAE’s LYVE acquires majority stake in Jeebly: UAE-based B2B logistics platform LYVE, has acquired a majority stake in Jeebly, a last-mile logistics provider based in the UAE. The acquisition will enable Jeebly to solidify its presence in its existing markets and expand its product offerings.
  • Deliveroo partners with Choithrams for on-demand grocery delivery: The service called “Deliveroo Hop” will be available on Deliveroo’s app, which aims to deliver groceries in 15 minutes.  It will initially be available to customers in Motor City, Sports City, Barsha South, Jumeirah Village Circle, Jumeirah Village Triangle, and Arabian Ranches.
  • Dubai forms Higher Committee for Future Technology and Digital Economy: Chaired by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, the committee will design policies, analyze trends and supervise strategy implementation related to technologies including metaverse, AI, blockchain, Web3, VR, AR, IoT, data centers and cloud computing in Dubai
  • Corporate venture builder FoundersLane expands to Egypt: The expansion follows their acquisition by Creative Dock Group (CDG), as part of the group’s commitment to invest EUR 100M in MENA startups. FoundersLane Egypt aims to support ultimately in digitization of traditional sectors like FMCG.
  • Venture Studio Enhance launches $30M fund: UAE and Saudi Arabia-based venture studio Enhance Ventures, has launched a $30M Builders Fund to invest in the company’s next set of ventures focused on finance and commerce in the Middle East.
  • Egyt’s Openner launches Qurious Labs venture studio: The Web3 focused venture studio model aims to back entrepreneurs in MENA building web3 companies that utilise blockchain, digital currencies, NFTs, gaming as well as explore the Metaverse and decentralised applications.
  • Sportswear startup Magma gets acquired by Averroes Ventures: The Egypt-based startup announced its acquisition by Mohamed El-Sewedy via Averroes Ventures. The acquisition is expected to significantly change the quality of Magma’s offering and expand their presence in the local and regional market


  • Flat6Labs invests in seven Jordanian startups: Flat6Labs will invest $115,000 each in seven startups through the Jordan Seed Fund (JSF), as part of the second cycle of its funding programme launched in June 2021. The selected startups are scheduled to join Flat6Labs’ four-month accelerator program
  • 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.