Startup Ecosystem Newsletter | July 2019

$471M invested in 238 deals in H1 2019. 10 Coworking Spaces in the MENA that entrepreneurs and startups should know about. Dtec Ventures brings you the highlights for July 2019.


  • Dtec joins the Dubai Startup Hub India Roadshow and awards 2 startups with company setup package for one year. Of the 10 startups that pitched, Delhi-based B2B ecommerce platform ShipsKart and Bengaluru-based banking operating system Loktra were awarded as winners.
  • Dtec gets listed in Magnitt’s “10 Co-working Spaces in the MENA You Must Know About”
  • DMCC and the Department of Economic Development (DED) signs MoU introducing a dual licensing scheme to DMCC member companies, enabling them to establish a presence and operation in mainland Dubai under a DED license.
  • WeWork to launch its first location in the United Arab Emirates in early 2020 at Hub71. The space will span 5,000 square meters across three floors tailored for tech companies, VCs, universities, corporates and startups
  • ADGM to begin hosting digital banks. ADGM regulator, Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), will accept applications from global conventional lenders to establish digital banks or their branches in the financial free zone, provided they have a base capital of $10 million (Dh36.7m), among other pre-requisites


  • Washmen (mobile-native dry cleaning/laundry, UAE) – $6.2 million Series B, led by AddVenture (Russia)
  • Ecomz (ecommerce SaaS, Lebanon) – $4 million, Series A, led by Cedar Mundi Ventures
  • Clara (legal-specific SaaS, UAE) – $2 million Seed round, from TechStars, 500 Startups, Wamda, VentureSouq
  • Zid (e-commerce, KSA) – $2 million Pre-Series A, led by Elm VC (KSA)
  • Coded (online coding academy, Kuwait) – $1.3 million Pre-Series A, led by KISP Ventures (Kuwait)
  • HiGuests (property management, UAE) – $1.1 million, undisclosed round, from Forcadell (Spain)
  • AlgoDriven (vehicle valuation SaaS, UAE) – $625,000 Seed round, from Dtec Ventures, Oman Technology Fund
  • Faylasof (ecommerce, Jordan) – $500,000 Pre-Series A, from Wise Ventures (KSA)
  • Dhad (audiobook platform, KSA) – undisclosed amount, led by Raed Ventures
  • Hopi (ecommerce, UAE) – undisclosed amount, Seed round, from Esanjo Ventures
  • (financial wellness platform, UAE) – undisclosed amount, undisclosed investors


  • $471M was invested across 238 deals in H1 2019; an increase of 66% in total funding and an increase of 28% in number of deals compared to H1 2018.
  • More startups raise later-stage investment rounds. 80% of deals were at the early stage in Q2 2019, which is a decrease of 3% compared to Q2 2018
  • 130 institutions invested in MENA-based startups in H1 2019, 30% of which are from outside the MENA region such as China’s MSA Capital investing in the $42M Swvl funding round and Germany’s Global Founders Capital
Magnitt, h1 2019, funding mena, funding report, investment report



  • Jabbar Internet Group (Dubai) Co-Founders, participates in India-based cab-aggregator Ola’s $11 million round. The amount is part of Ola’s ongoing Series J of $472 million.
  • Abu Dhabi Capital Group (ADCG)’s investment unit Capital Investment LLC invests $10 million in Grofers, an Indian online grocery startup
  • Tecom Group, owner of in5, expects that in5-based startups will be able to secure up to AED200 million in funding this year
  • Oasis500 announced launch of a second fund with support from the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD), the Innovative Start-ups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) and the Arab Bank, investing up to $100,000 in ICT startups
  • SoftBank Vision Fund plans to launch Vision Fund 2 which will match the $97 billion amount of the original fund and may pull in existing investors Public Investment Fund (KSA) and Mubadala (UAE).


  • Careem to launch free unlimited wifi across all cars effective July, resulting from a partnership with Etisalat and Snapit Digital. The also launched their food delivery service “Careem NOW” in Mecca, KSA, and left Sudan as part of agreement with Uber
  • Careem and RTA partnered to launch e-hailing service (Hala) on the Careem app, enabling commuters to book the taxis via the app
  • Lunch:On ranked as one of Crunchbase’s Top 50 Hot Tech Companies Globally. It is the only MENA-based startup to make it to the list.
  • Bahrain FinTech Bay partners with Luxembourg-based company SES ( to develop the country’s space-tech scene.
  • partners with Chinese technology company Neolix to trial driverless delivery vehicles in key areas within Dubai and Abu Dhabi, designed to make last-mile delivery even smoother.
  • Chinese unicorn Didi Chuxing (ride-hailing service) partners with Symphony Investment and a few Middle East venture institutes for an Abu-Dhabi-based joint venture to develop internet business ecosystem in Middle East
  • Boutiqaat (beauty e-commerce, Kuwait) doubled its valuation to $500 million 18 months after raising an undisclosed amount of investment from a Gulf-based investment firm.


  • Dubai SME partners with The Co-Working Popup to take 10 UAE-based entrepreneurs for a 5-day (19-23 August) Summer Exchange Program in their London location.


  • Oilfields Supply Centre (OSC, Dubai) partners with KSA’s King Salman Energy Park as anchor tenant in developing Common User Supply Base (CUSB), a business incubator to accelerate the growth of SMEs in the energy sector, located in Spark Energy City Megaproject.
  • Hub71 and Techstars launched the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator Program based in Abu Dhabi, to take place in Q1 2020.


  • Hub71 MENA Growth Competition Demo Day– 27 Aug, Abu Dhabi
  • Deadline: MINT Incubator Applications – 03 Aug
  • Deadline: BRINC Incubator applications – 10 Aug
  • Deadline: Cartier Women’s Initiative – 14 Aug
  • Deadline: She Loves Tech Startup Competition – 31 Aug
  • Deadline: Finance Forward MENA 2019 – 30 Aug
  • Deadline: International Open Startup School Registration – 13 Aug
  • Deadline: Intelak Cohort 6 – 01 Sep
  • MENA Fintech Hackathon Dubai Bootcamp – 29 & 30 Sep, Dubai