Startup Ecosystem News Roundup | February 2019

Dtec Ventures with d in yellow with startup ecosystem news February 2019.

Emaar acquires Namshi; Zomato sells their UAE business to Delivery Hero Group and KSA following the footsteps of Mubadala on expanding to the U.S. These and more on the February edition of the Startup Ecosystem News Roundup


  • Emaar Malls fully acquires fashion & beauty e-commerce platform Namshi. In an all-cash transaction of $129.5M million, Emaar bought out Global Fashion Group’s (GFG) remaining stake in the company. Namshi is now set to expand to Egypt and establish a logistics base in Saudi Arabia.
  • Zomato sells their UAE business to Delivery Hero Group for $172 million + Zomato received an investment of $62.5M from Delivery Hero
  • Uber said to be in advanced talks to buy Careem for $3 billion in a cash-and-shares transaction
  • Dubai-based property website’s parent company Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) announced that it raised $100 million in Series D.
  • Dtec Ventures Portfolio Company, STEP Group, announces expansion of Step Conference to KSA. Step Saudi will take place in late March 2019.
  • ADGM invites Fintech startups to apply for a global sandbox license. ADGM together with 29 members of the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), has jointly launched a pilot phase of a global sandbox project.
  • Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund, plans to set up office in San Francisco. PIF follows the footsteps of Abu-Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co., which recently opened an office in Silicon Valley.


  • Quipup(last-mile logistics, UAE)-$13 million, undisclosed round, from JOBI Capital, Kuwait Holding, et al
  • JustClean(laundry marketplace, Kuwait)-$8 million, Series A, from Faith Capital
  • Nana (grocery delivery, KSA) -$6 million, Series A, from MEVP, Impact 46
  • COFEApp (coffee marketplace, Kuwait)-$3.2 million, Pre-Series A led by KISP Ventures
  • Lunch:On (food tech, UAE)-$3 million, Series A, from Wamda Capital, EATventure, Arzan VC, DAI et al
  • Nalbes (fashion e-commerce, Kuwait)-$2 million, Series B, from existing investors (family offices)
  • GetMuv (fitness app, UAE)–$1.5 million, undisclosed round, from Wa’ed Ventures
  • Trella (trucket marketplace, Egypt)-$600K, Pre-Seed round, from Algebra Ventures
  • (ecommerce, UAE)–undisclosed amount, from Mad’a Investment Company (KSA)
  • GoldenScent (beauty e-commerce, KSA) –undisclosed amount, from exiting investors (Wa’ed Ventures, et al)
  • GoodsMart (household shopping app, Egypt)–undisclosed amount, Bridge Round, from Algebra Ventures
  • JumlaClub (F&B supply platform, Kuwait)–undisclosed amount, Pre-Series A, from angel investor
  • Mile (last-mile logistics, UAE)–undisclosed amount, Seed Round, from Riyadh TaqniaFund


  • Careem rolls out its rewards program to all 33 million users. The program is active on apps of all Careem users and gives points for rides, across all of the company’s markets.
  • Food delivery startup Deliveroo launches in Kuwait with over 900 restaurants including Five Guys, Zaatar & Zait and Shake Shack.
  • Delivery Hero (online food delivery, Germany) grows revenues to $770 million with almost 50% coming from the MENA market.
  • Dubai-founded Pixelbug gets acquired by American BeSomebody
  • Emirates NBD Private Banking introduces The LaunchPad, the first bank-facilitated deals platform for selected startups to connect to angel & early-stage investors
  • Emirates Development Bank (EDB) launched its Credit Guarantee Scheme of up to $27 million for SMEs


  • Bahrain’s Al Waha“Fund of Funds” has raised $5 million of the $100 million. The $45 million has been allocated 5 different funds, including $10 million into MEVP for their latest fund Middle East Venture Fund III.
  • The Riyadh-based, $500 million VC fund, Saudi Technology Ventures (STV) accounts for approximately $250 million (almost 30%) of the estimated $893 million funding deployed in MENA in 2018.
  • Mubadala Ventures, the VC arm of Mubadala Investment Company, plans to launch a $400 million European fund this year.


  • Sheraa signs MOU with Endeavor, a high-impact entrepreneurship movement to build collaborative mechanisms to support their startups


  • ADGM partners with Plug N Play, Etihad Airways and Department of Culture and Tourism to launch a travel & hospitality focused accelerator programme by Q3 2019.
  • 500 Startups and Misk Innovation (KSA) together have launched an early-stage accelerator program for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA)
  • 500 Startups launch the opening for its 3rd Cohort for the MENA Dojo Series A program
  • Chalhoub Group’s retail tech accelerator Greenhouse started to accept applications for the 2nd cohort
  • KSA-based Badir Program for Tech Incubators and Accelerators announced that their incubated tech startups have raised nearly $29.32 million across 63 funding deals in 2018


  • 100 Arab Startups, Jordan –13 March
  • Smartpreneur Competition, UAE –18 March
  • Womentum2019 cohort –11 April


  • Startups 101: Support workshop on ‘Legal essentials for Technology start-ups’ by CMS –04 March
  • Dtec 4th Birthday celebration BBQ –14 March
  • LBS Entrepreneurs Journey Session 2 –16 March
  • Startups 101: SAGE (Managing your day to day finance and bookkeeping) –20 March


  • Unbound Bahrain, Bahrain –06-07 March
  • MompreneursGlobal Mentoring Walk, UAE –09 March
  • SME World Summit, Dubai –14 March
  • Angel Rising 2019, UAE –23 March
  • STEP Conference KSA –25 March
  • Arab Startup Youth Marketplace –25-26 March
  • Abundance 360 Tech Conference, UAE –26-27 March
  • Singularity University & Dubai Future Foundation | Forecast the Future with Peter Diamandis –26-27 March
  • MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition, UAE –29 March