Top 10 most funded health tech startups in MENA region

Top 10 most funded health tech startups in MENA region
When quarantines and social distancing became a daily norm, people used digital technologies to interact with the world, especially in healthcare. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 October 2022

Top 10 most funded health tech startups in MENA region

Top 10 most funded health tech startups in MENA region
  • Healthcare industry has given rise to newer business models such as telehealth

CAIRO: In a post-pandemic era, people have never been more aware of their wellness, including physical well-being and prevalent health issues.

COVID-19, on the other hand, had a significant effect on technology.

When quarantines and social distancing became a daily norm, people used digital technologies to interact with the world, especially in healthcare.

The result: The healthcare industry became one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and gave rise to newer business models such as telehealth and next-gen managed care. Arab News compiled a list of the top 10 most funded health-tech startups in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Vezeeta

Total funding: $73 million

Founders: Amir Barsoum and Ahmed Badr

Investors: BECO Capital, Silicon Badia, Vostok New Ventures, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst and STV

Headquarters: Egypt

Founded in 2012, Vezeeta offers appointment management software for doctors and healthcare providers to manage their operations better.

The company also provides patients with a free platform to book their appointments, as doctors can opt for the platform using a subscription model.

In 2020, Vezeeta managed to secure $40 million in a series D funding round to roll out new products and introduce its telehealth services.

Altibbi

Total funding: $52.5 million

Founders: Jalil Labadi and Abdel Aziz Labadi

Investors: Foundation Holdings, Hikma Ventures, Global Ventures and DASH Ventures

Headquarters: UAE

Founded in 2008, Atlibbi is a digital platform that allows users to receive remote medical consultations and connect with professionals via calls and text chats.

The company has over 10,000 doctors on its platform and won the World Summit Award for the Best Digital Health Content Award and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

In its latest funding round, Altibbi raised $44 million in a series B funding round in March 2022 to enhance its technology and e-pharmacy services.

Bayzat

Total funding: $31 million

Founders: Talal Bayaa, Tarek Bayaa and Brian Habibi

Investors: Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund, Point72 Ventures, Mubadala, Beco Capital, Silicon Badia and Hamed Kanoo Co.

Headquarters: UAE

Founded in 2013, Bayzat is a web and mobile application that allows clients to buy and sell health insurance.

The company’s health tech platform compares health insurance and offers them the best options. Raising $16 million in a series B funding round in 2019, the company used its funding to empower its technology to serve its clients better.

It also provides HR solutions for companies.

GluCare Health

Total funding: $20 million

Founders: Ali Hashemi and Ihsan Almarzooqi

Investors: Polymath Ventures

Headquarters: UAE

Founded in 2020, GluCare offers diabetic care in the clinic and virtually for its patients using its data monitoring and artificial intelligence.

With the company’s application, patients can connect with a care team to monitor glucose, insulin, diet intake and more. 

Selfologi

Total funding: $18 million

Founder: Tamer Wali

Investors: Xenel

Headquarters: UAE

Founded in 2020, Selfologi is an online platform for aesthetic medical treatments that allows users to book appointments with doctors in fields like botox, hair removal, acne scarring and more.

The company raised its $18 million investment in a round led by its founder and angel investor, Tamer Wali, with participation from Xenel international group. 




Tamer Wali, founder of Selfologi.

Okadoc

Total funding: $12 million

Founders: Fodhil Benturquia

Investors: Abu Dhabi Investment Office, Ithmar Capital and iGan Partners

Headquarters: UAE

Founded in 2018, Okadoc is an appointment booking platform provider that allows people to search for the nearest clinic, practitioners and hospitals.

In 2020, the company closed its $10 million series A funding, expanded its operations and promoted its telehealth offering and virtual consultations.

Yodawy

Total funding: $8.5 million

Founders: Karim Khashaba, Yasser AbdelGawad and Sherief El-Feky

Investors: Global Ventures, MEVP, Algebra Ventures, CVentures, P1 Ventures and Athaal Angel Investors Group

Headquarters: Egypt

Founded in 2018, Yodawy is a virtual pharmacy providing a marketplace for people who want access to medication with over 3,000 pharmacies.

In mid-2021, the company secured $7.5 million in a series B funding round to build its digital marketplace to serve its wide range of customers.

Aumet

Total funding: $8.5 million

Founders: Yahya Aqel and Shahed Altawafsheh

Investors: 500 Startups, Right side capital, TechStars, Shorooq Partners and Plug and Play

Headquarters: Saudi Arabia and Jordan

Established in 2020, Aumet is a B2B marketplace for healthcare providers to buy supplies from retailers. In 2020, the company raised $1.25 million in a seed funding round and had not disclosed its later investments.

Webteb

Total funding: $5.1 million

Founders: Majed Abukhater and Mahmoud Kayal

Investors: Sadara Ventures and Siraj Palestine Fund

Headquarters: Jordan

Founded in 2011, Webteb is an online platform that provides health news, medical information, and lifestyle-related topics.

The company raised $3.2 million in its series C investment round to fuel regional expansion.

Health at Hand

Total funding: $4 million

Founder: Charlie Barlow

Investors: Simon Charlton and Rockfirst Capital

Headquarters: UAE

Born in 2015, Health at Hand is a mobile application that facilitates virtual consultations for patients with nonemergency conditions like colds, coughs and others.

The company raised its total funding in a seed round in 2017 to develop its technology further and introduce its subscription-based model.


G7 joins EU on $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil

G7 joins EU on $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil
Updated 03 December 2022

G7 joins EU on $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil

G7 joins EU on $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil
  • US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement that the agreement will help restrict Putin’s “primary source of revenue for his illegal war in Ukraine while simultaneously preserving the stability of global energy supplies”

WASHINGTON: The Group of Seven nations and Australia joined the European Union on Friday in adopting a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil, a key step as Western sanctions aim to reorder the global oil market to prevent price spikes and starve President Vladimir Putin of funding for his war in Ukraine.
Europe needed to set the discounted price that other nations will pay by Monday, when an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea and a ban on insurance for those supplies take effect. The price cap, which was led by the G7 wealthy democracies, aims to prevent a sudden loss of Russian oil to the world that could lead to a new surge in energy prices and further fuel inflation.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement that the agreement will help restrict Putin’s “primary source of revenue for his illegal war in Ukraine while simultaneously preserving the stability of global energy supplies.”
The agreement comes after a last-minute flurry of negotiations. Poland long held up an EU agreement, seeking to set the cap as low as possible. Following more than 24 hours of deliberations, when other EU nations had signaled they would back the deal, Warsaw finally relented late Friday.
A joint G-7 coalition statement released Friday states that the group is “prepared to review and adjust the maximum price as appropriate,” taking into account market developments and potential impacts on coalition members and low and middle-income countries.
“Crippling Russia’s energy revenues is at the core of stopping Russia’s war machine,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said, adding that she was happy the cap was pushed down a few extra dollars from earlier proposals. She said every dollar the cap was reduced amounted to $2 billion less for Russia’s war chest.
“It is no secret that we wanted the price to be lower,” Kallas added, highlighting the differences within the EU. “A price between 30-40 dollars is what would substantially hurt Russia. However, this is the best compromise we could get.”
The $60 figure sets the cap near the current price of Russia’s crude, which recently fell below $60 a barrel. Some criticize that as not low enough to cut into one of Russia’s main sources of income. It is still a big discount to international benchmark Brent, which slid to $85.48 a barrel Friday, but could be high enough for Moscow to keep selling even while rejecting the idea of a cap.
There is a big risk to the global oil market of losing large amounts of crude from the world’s No. 2 producer. It could drive up gasoline prices for drivers worldwide, which has stirred political turmoil for US President Joe Biden and leaders in other nations. Europe is already mired in an energy crisis, with governments facing protests over the soaring cost of living, while developing nations are even more vulnerable to shifts in energy costs.
But the West has faced increasing pressure to target one of Russia’s main moneymakers — oil — to slash the funds flowing into Putin’s war chest and hurt Russia’s economy as the war in Ukraine drags into a ninth month. The costs of oil and natural gas spiked after demand rebounded from the pandemic and then the invasion of Ukraine unsettled energy markets, feeding Russia’s coffers.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that “the cap itself will have the desired effect on limiting Mr. Putin’s ability to profit off of oil sales and limit his ability to continue to use that money to fund his war machine.”
More uncertainty is ahead, however. COVID-19 restrictions in China and a slowing global economy could mean less thirst for oil. That is what OPEC and allied oil-producing countries, including Russia, pointed to in cutting back supplies to the world in October. The OPEC+ alliance is scheduled to meet again Sunday.
That competes with the EU embargo that could take more oil supplies off the market, raising fears of a supply squeeze and higher prices. Russia exports roughly 5 million barrels of oil a day.
Putin has said he would not sell oil under a price cap and would retaliate against nations that implement the measure. However, Russia has already rerouted much of its supply to India, China and other Asian countries at discounted prices because Western customers have avoided it even before the EU embargo.
Most insurers are located in the EU or the United Kingdom and could be required to participate in the price cap.
Russia also could sell oil off the books by using “dark fleet” tankers with obscure ownership. Oil could be transferred from one ship to another and mixed with oil of similar quality to disguise its origin.
Even under those circumstances, the cap would make it “more costly, time-consuming and cumbersome” for Russia to sell oil around the restrictions, said Maria Shagina, a sanctions expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Berlin.
Robin Brooks, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance in Washington, said the price cap should have been implemented when oil was hovering around $120 per barrel this summer.
“Since then, obviously oil prices have fallen and global recession is a real thing,” he said. “The reality is that it is unlikely to be binding given where oil prices are now.”
European leaders touted their work on the price cap, a brainchild of Yellen.
“The EU agreement on an oil price cap, coordinated with G7 and others, will reduce Russia’s revenues significantly,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. “It will help us stabilize global energy prices, benefiting emerging economies around the world.”
 

 


As IMF funding delayed, Pakistan expects $3bn from friendly country

As IMF funding delayed, Pakistan expects $3bn from friendly country
Updated 03 December 2022

As IMF funding delayed, Pakistan expects $3bn from friendly country

As IMF funding delayed, Pakistan expects $3bn from friendly country
  • An IMF review for the release of its next tranche of funding has been pending since September
  • Pakistan's finance minister, Ishaq Dar, said all targets for the IMF's ninth review had been completed, adding that withholding a tranche despite that would not make sense

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expects to secure $3 billion in external financing from a friendly country in two weeks, its finance minister said on Friday as the South Asian country awaits IMF funding.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) review for the release of its next tranche of funding has been pending since September, leaving Pakistan in dire need of external financing.
Pakistan’s finance minister, Ishaq Dar, said on Friday in an interview with Geo News TV that all targets for the IMF’s ninth review had been completed, adding that withholding a tranche despite that would not make sense.
Pakistan secured a $6 billion bailout in 2019 under an Extended Fund Facility (EFF), that was topped up with another $1 billion earlier this year.
“We continue to engage in discussions with the government over policies to address the humanitarian and rehabilitation needs of the floods while promoting macroeconomic and fiscal sustainability,” the IMF’s resident representative in Pakistan, Esther Perez Ruiz, said in a statement.
Dar said Pakistan’s foreign reserves, which have dropped to $7.5 billion, will be shored up with a $3 billion financing from a friendly country in the next two weeks.
That is hardly enough for a month of imports for Pakistan, which has been facing a widening current account deficit and a balance of payments crisis.
“All the requirements for the ninth (IMF) review are completed,” Dar said, adding that the international lender was “behaving abnormal” by not completing the review.
Pakistan will make alternate arrangements in case of any delay from the IMF, he said.
“If the money doesn’t come, we will manage, no problem,” he added.

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Dubai’s Careem celebrates 1bn rides

Dubai’s Careem celebrates 1bn rides
Updated 02 December 2022

Dubai’s Careem celebrates 1bn rides

Dubai’s Careem celebrates 1bn rides
  • Family trip back home to India brings delight to employee
  • Super app had 10th anniversary in July 

 

DUBAI: Hailing app Careem has celebrated the completion of 1 billion rides across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.

The billionth journey was completed by Captain Razak Uppattil, who has completed 10,500 rides since joining Careem four years ago. 

To commemorate the milestone, the Dubai-based super app gave Uppattil a trip back home to visit his family in India.

He said: “It’s the people that I get to meet from all over the world that I really enjoy.

“I have three children back home in Kerala, India, and I am so excited I’ll see them soon.”

Genera Tesoro, who was Careem’s 1 billionth passenger, was given a year of ride-hailing trips to mark the milestone. 

Careem, which marked its 10-year anniversary in July, is now operating in more than 100 cities in 14 countries. It recently expanded its fleet in Qatar by more than 50 percent ahead of the World Cup.


Saudi Arabia’s PIF announces establishment of Aseer Investment Company

Saudi Arabia’s PIF announces establishment of Aseer Investment Company
Updated 02 December 2022

Saudi Arabia’s PIF announces establishment of Aseer Investment Company

Saudi Arabia’s PIF announces establishment of Aseer Investment Company
  • AIC will unlock a wide range of investment opportunities for domestic and international investors across number of sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has established a company to operate as its investment arm in the Aseer region of Saudi Arabia.

The Aseer Investment Company will promote and stimulate local and foreign direct investment to develop and transform the region into a year-round tourism destination.

AIC will unlock a wide range of investment opportunities for domestic and international investors across number of sectors including tourism, hospitality, healthcare, sports, education, food, and many other fast-growing domestic industries.

The company will contribute to fostering public-private partnerships, creating jobs for the local community and promoting the region’s tourism and attractive investment opportunities.

“Aseer Investment Company aims to become a leading facilitator of broad-ranging investment opportunities in Aseer, Raid Ismail, head of Direct Investments for the Middle East and North Africa at PIF said.  

“AIC will promote the region’s rugged mountains, stunning nature, and storied culture, preserve its ancient history and heritage, and transform it into a world-class tourist destination for visitors from across the globe in line with PIF’s strategy and Vision 2030,” he added.

The establishment of the company is in line with PIF’s strategy to unlock the capabilities of promising sectors in Saudi Arabia, support the country, and in line with Asir’s region position as a leading investment destination.

Saudi Arabia is offering investment opportunities worth $6 trillion in the travel and tourism sector through to 2030.

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 29, the Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb said: “We built our tourism industry against the backdrop of a global disaster (COVID-19 pandemic). And we now have $6 trillion of investment opportunities through 2030,” said Al-Khateeb.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector will create 1 million jobs by 2030 and the Kingdom will welcome 100 million visitors, said Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Development Fund earlier this year.

The sector will create one of every three new jobs in Saudi Arabia in the next decade, as the nation focuses more on the growth of non-oil sectors, said Al-Fakhri.

Talking about the progress of the Saudi tourism sector at the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh, he said: “Last year, with the support of the tourism ecosystem, and the larger government ecosystem and enablers, Saudi Arabia achieved record levels of domestic tourism that is remarkable globally.”

Al-Fakhri also noted that the tourism sector is expected to contribute 10 percent to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product by the end of this decade.


TASI slips 74 points to close at 10,840 amid investor ambiguity: Closing bell

TASI slips 74 points to close at 10,840 amid investor ambiguity: Closing bell
Updated 01 December 2022

TASI slips 74 points to close at 10,840 amid investor ambiguity: Closing bell

TASI slips 74 points to close at 10,840 amid investor ambiguity: Closing bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index on Thursday fell 74.26 points to close at 10,840.74 after touching a peak of 10,957.64 at 10:20 SAST, reflecting a sense of ambiguity among investors. 

The parallel market Nomu also finished its trail 497.85 points lower at 18,903.74 after snowballing to 18,778.82 at 11:53 SAST. 

The advance-decline ratio, however, bucked the trend, with 126 stocks of the listed 219 heading north and 75 turning south. The total trading turnover was SR4.86 billion ($1.29 billion). 

Sahara International Petrochemical Co., in a regulatory filing on Thursday, announced a 15 percent cash dividend or SR1.50 per share, resulting in a dole out of SR1.087 billion for the second half of 2022. The company’s share price picked the drift and closed 5.72 percent higher to SR37.90. 

Taiba Investments Co. on Thursday also announced that it awarded a construction contract worth SR283 million to Orient Construction Company Weavers Ltd. to build a four-star Novotel hotel project in Madinah. The stock closed lower at SR26.90 after peaking at SR27.10. 

Meanwhile, Arabian Internet and Communications Services Co. (Solutions) informed Tadawul just before closing about its agreement with Saudi Telecom Company worth SR372.92 million to provide technical, administrative and logistical services. The share closed slightly lower at SR246. 

The Capital Market Authority on Thursday also Saudi Arabian Amiantit Co.’s request to increase its capital through a rights issue worth SAR 346.5 million. 

There was a blip of a bullish wave in the Software & Services index, which closed up 401 points at 36,540.33. The Healthcare Equipment & Services index also increased 103.04 points to close at 9,380.2.  

However, some of Thursday’s biggest losers were the Saudi British Bank, the National Company for Learning and Education, Arab National Bank, The Company for Cooperative Insurance and Bank Albilad. 

The Diversified Financial index was under the weather in November as it recorded the steepest decline of 15.9 percent in the Gulf Cooperation Council in November. 

A Kamco Invest research report highlighted that the Saudi Stock Exchange witnessed the after all the constituents of the index reported declines. 

Barring the Consumer Service index, the monthly sectoral performance chart declined across the board.  

The Utilities and Capital Goods indices were next with a decline of 15.2 percent and 11.7 percent, followed by Consumer Durables & Apparel and Materials indices with declines of 10.8 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively.