MENA Startup Ecosystem News | November 2022

Dtec Ventures News, MENA News report, Magnitt, SWVL, Kitopi, Yassir, Fenix Games, Blnk, Modus Capital, IFC, 500 Global, SVC, Afiyah Fund

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 November


Investor trends from 2018 to 2022 YTD show an  increasing investor base, despite a decline in capital deployed for the year: Based on Magnitt’s Investor Dynamics Report investor dynamics trend from 2018 to 2022YTD show:

  • Mean and median round sizes across all stages have increased except for Late-Stage.
  • ~50% of deals were closed in the $1M to $5M bracket, with steady increase in number of deals as investors move to larger rounds. Around 11% of deals are in the $5M-$20M range.
  • 60% (57% of which were US-based) of the investors that invested in $20M+ rounds were international. Increasing international investor participation fills the gap for Late-Stage funding.


Yassir Transportation & Logistics Algeria $150M, Series B Led by BOND, from  DN Capital, Dorsal Capital, Quiet Capital, Stanford Alumni Ventures (aka Spike Ventures), Y Combinator
Fenix Gaming UAE $150M, undisclosed Phoenix Group, Cypher Capital
Blnk Finance Egypt $23.7M  (equity & debt), Seed $12.5M Equity: Led by  Emirates International Investment Company (EIIC) and Sawari Ventures

$11.2M Debt: from local banks

Pyypl Finance UAE $20M, Series B Undisclosed international investors, existing investors
Baraka Finance UAE $20M, Series A Led by Valar Ventures; from Knollwood
Qashio Finance UAE $10M, Seed One Way Ventures, MITAA, Cadorna Ventures, Sanabil 500 MENA, Nuwa Capital, Iliad Partners, Phoenix Investments, angels and family offices
Grinta Health / Medical Egypt $8M, Seed Co-led by Read Ventures and Nclude, from Endeavor Catalyst, 500 Global
Proptech Retail estate UAE $7.8M, Seed Nuwa Capital, Nordstar, Global Founders Capital, Yuj Ventures, Whiteboard Capital, VentureSouq, International family offices, business leaders,  global proptech entrepreneurs
Silkhaus Real Estate UAE $7.75M, Seed Nuwa Capital, Nordstar, Global Founders Capital, Yuj Ventures, Whiteboard Capital, VentureSouq, international family offices, angels
Klaim Health / Finance UAE $5M, Seed Knuru Capital
DataLexing Enterprise SaaS KSA $3M, Seed Led by Sadu Capital, with participation from Impact46
Swftbox Transportation & Logistics UAE $2M, Seed Led by MENA Technology Fund; from Polymath Ventures, AirAngels, and Ithraa Investment Company
Slide Enterprise SaaS KSA $1.75M, Pre-Seed Unifonic
Rekt Blockchain UAE $1.5M, Undisclosed round Cypher Capital
Conix.AI Real Estate Egypt $1.3M, Pre-Seed led by BIM Venture
Jeel Education KSA $1.1M, Seed EdVentures
Order F&B KSA $1M, Pre-Seed angel investors
Beekeeper Agriculture Tunisia $640K, Undisclosed round Led by 216 Capital Ventures, from angels
Brotinni F&B Egypt $600K, Seed Led by Innlife Investments
Foodtech F&B Egypt $600K, Seed Led by Innlife investments
Shaguf Education KSA $400K, Pre-Seed Angels
WafR Finance Morocco $120K, undisclosed round First Circle Capital
SmartProf Education Morocco $110k, Pre-Seed UM6P Ventures, Plug and Play, angels
Algebra Intelligence Energy Oman Undisclosed Ibtikar Fund and Architects Contracting Company (Arco)
Hoods Ecommerce Egypt Undisclosed valU
Okadoc Health UAE Undisclosed amount, Pre-Series B Led by IGAN, Bunat Ventures; from Bassem Ibrahim Hayel Saeed Group, Club 49, Alesay Group, Bupa Arabic, ADQ, and Now Invest
Orderii Ecommerce Iraq Undisclosed amount, Pre-Seed Iraq Venture Partners (IVP)
Spotter Finance Morocco Undisclosed UM6P Ventures


  • SVC Invests $10M in Afiyah Fund: Fund-of-funds Saudi Venture Capital (SVC), has invested $10 million in TVM Capital Healthcare’s Afiyah Fund to invest in healthtech companies based in Saudi Arabia. TVM Capital Healthcare is a specialized healthcare expansion and growth capital private equity firm, operating out of Riyadh and Dubai for the Middle East, as well as Singapore for the Southeast Asia region
  • IFC launches $225M platform to strengthen VC ecosystems in Africa & Middle East: World-bank backed International Financial Corporation (IFC) launched the $225M platform to invest in early-stage companies addressing challenges through technological innovations in climate, healthcare, education, agriculture, e-commerce and other sectors
  • Israel-based OurCrowd expands Abu Dhabi investment operations: OurCrowd, pledges $60M into its Abu Dhabi operations to launch a new VC office manage deals for its existing platform and cater to emerging markets,  and  an AI tech hub enabled by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) which will be based in Hub71. This will see the Abu Dhabi team grow to 60 over the next four years.
  • Modus partners with US Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch venture builder: Modus, the MENA-focused VC, partnered with USAID to launch a venture builder (MV Builder II) in Egypt. The latter will support female-led Egyptian startups and underserved populations. It will also focus on boosting financial inclusion, digital literacy, access to equitable healthcare and education.
  • Ibtikar Fund invests $1.4M: The Palestine-based VC invested $1.4M in three startups founded by Palestinians via its second fund. The startups are; UAE-based healthtech Alma Health, Jordan-based software development firm Algebra Intelligence, and Palestine-based e-commerce builder Vatrin


  • KSA’s Paytabs acquires Digital Pay: Fintech startup Paytabs acquired 100% of the Digital Pay. As a result, Digital Pay will serve as PayTabs’ flagship POS terminal product for e-commerce and physical stores, which allows PayTabs to complete its foray into both online and offline payment capabilities.
  • SAMA launches open banking framework: Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) issued its open banking framework (legislation, regulatory guidelines and technical standards) to enable banks and fintech to provide open banking services in the kingdom, in line with the country’s Financial Sector Development Program under Saudi Vision 2030.
  • SWVL slashes workforce: SWVL lays 50% of its staff alongside further cutting operating expenses including marketing and other 3rd party services, as well as shutting down operations in its second biggest market, Pakistan. This is the second round of layoffs for the company this year.
  • SWVL risks delisting from NASDAQ: NASDAQ cited a compliance issue as the Egypt-born startup, SWVL saw its share price trading below $1 for over 30 days with a valuation of $53M. This is dramatic plunge from their opening share price of $9.95/share when it went public in March, valued at $1.5B, and now runs the risk of being delisted.
  • Tarjama Group acquires Screens: UAE’s language technology startup Tarjama acquired Lebanon’s subtitling and dubbing firm Screens. The acquisition will strategically enhance Tarjama’s suite of language AI products as it breaks into five new markets.
  • UAE-based X-ERA acquires Egypt’s SPEED: UAE-based logistics services provider X-ERA, has acquired Egypt’s B2B marketplace SPEED for an undisclosed amount, as part of its international expansion strategy. X-ERA is now revamping SPEED with its partners to make it more user-friendly, while enhancing features and benefits to FMCG merchants and retailers.
  • Saudi Jahez acquired The Chefz for $172.9M: The Saudi food delivery company, Jahez, announced the acquisition of the Saudi dessert delivery platform, Chefz for $172.9M (SR650M), comprised of a cash consideration of SR325M and new shares in Jahez valued at SR325M.The deal is expected to close in Q1 2023.
  • Cloud kitchen Kitopi lays off employees: Dubai-based cloud kitchen, Kitopi, laid off 10% of its head office workforce with a total of 93 people. The company is redirecting its focus on profitability over expansion as the tech industry experiences a slump.
  • KSA’s Floward acquires Kuwait’s Mubkhar: Online flowers & gifts startup Floward acquired fragrance company Mubkhar, to strengthen Mubkhar’s product breadth and points of sales and further its growth while preserving the uniqueness and exclusivity of its offering.
  • CyberTalents wins Black Hat’s $25,000 Prize: CyberTalents, Egypt-based startup, specialized in cybersecurity won a $25,000 prize in Cyberseed startup Global competition organized by the Black Hat conference held in Riyadh. The latter is considered as the largest cybersecurity event in the region bringing more than 30,000 visitors and top minds in the Cybersecurity field


  • Ventures Lab by Hub71 and Modus to increase intake size: The program will include 28 founding teams seeking to build startups through the venture builder, almost 65% increase from last year. As part of the program, up to $450,000 is allocated to each startup
  • Flat6Labs, Dar Al Handasah, SIAC launch ‘Makers’ to support Contech startups in Egypt: Flat6Labs Egypt, has partnered with construction company SIAC and Dar Al Handasah to launch the Makers Contech, a support program with a pre-accelerator as well as an accelerator program with an investment component for startups in the construction tech space.
  • 500 Global opens an office in Egypt launch support programs for local startups:The US-based VC, 500 Global, is set to open an office in Egypt after it partnered with Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) to launch a range of investment and startup focus support programs
  • 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



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