CAIRO: Startups in the Middle East and North Africa region raised $646 million in funding across 69 deals witnessing a 331 percent year-on-year growth.
The region’s startup ecosystem raised a total of $3 billion this year with over 551 deals so far, according to startup news outlet Wamda.
Companies from the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were the top-performing last month, as all three countries
have been securing their positions on top of the list since the beginning of the year.
First on the list is the UAE which raised $460 million in 24 deals in October, a huge boost compared to the country’s $27 million raised in September.
The UAE saw one of the biggest investment rounds in the region thanks to clean technology startup Yellow Door Energy’s $400 million fundraising.
Egypt came in second with investments totaling $113 million in 18 deals, with the top three fundraisers
going to MaxAB’s $40 million pre-series B, MoneyFellows’ $31 million series B and Telda’s $20 million seed round.
Egypt also witnessed a massive upturn in its investments compared to a total of $8 million raised in September.
The Kingdom raised a total of $70 million across 12 deals ranking it in third place after being in first place with $114 million raised in September.
The region saw a 273 percent increase in funding value compared to the month before, primarily attributed to a spike in late-stage investments, as about 84 percent of capital deployed in October was focused on series B and growth stages.
Cleantech was the most funded sector with Yellow Door Energy’s round, followed by fintech, which attracted 16 out of 69 deals to $70 million raised. Neobanks and open banking startups were the most funded segments in fintech.
In terms of investor activity, Egypt saw the most active investors participating in 18 deals, followed by the UAE with 15 and Saudi Arabia with 13.
Algeria’s Yassir secures $150m
Algeria-based super app Yassir secured $150 million in a series B funding round led by growth-stage investment firm Bond as the company plans expansion.
The super app provides users with services including ridesharing, food delivery and financial options, with operations in six countries and 45 cities since its inception in 2017.
“We look forward to expanding our presence in other geographies to become the first super app to achieve mass adoption,” said Noureddine Tayebi, Founder and CEO of Yassir.
The funding round saw participation from notable investors like DN Capital, Dorsal Capital, Quiet Capital, Stanford Alumni Ventures and Y Combinator.
Saudi’s tall order
Saudi software as a service startup Order raised $1 million in a pre-seed round led by angel investors on Nov. 13.
Founded in 2020 by Faisal Al-Anazi and Essam Mohamed, the company provides software solutions for restaurants and cafes to handle daily operations.
Currently operating in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the company aims to utilize its funding to increase its market share and product innovation.
“Investors’ belief in us is the main motive for us to have continuous development and innovation for the services we provide in the company, which will give us a competitive advantage in the market, as our solutions are comprehensive and offer financial freedom to brand owners in this sector,” Al-Anazi said in a statement.
The company also plans to create more jobs through its expansion into the MENA region by 2025. It has successfully processed over 600,000 orders through its platform.
In the blink of an eye
Egypt-based fintech Blnk announced it raised $23.7 million in equity and debt funding and $8.3 million in bond issuance on Nov. 10.
The seed funding round was co-led by UAE’s Emirates International Investment Co. and Egypt’s Sawari Ventures, while the securitized bond issuance was by the National Bank of Egypt and Banque du Caire.
Founded in 2021, the company provides a digital lending platform for merchants to finance their customer purchases at the point of sale with installments ranging from six to 36 months.
“We are delighted to have the backing of a great cohort of investors early in our journey. With their support, we can drive financial inclusion in Egypt, the wider Middle East and the North Africa region,” Amr Sultan, Co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.
Blnk has issued over $20 million in loans to date and will utilize its funding to develop its AI-powered infrastructure further and widen its customer portfolio.
Swift as thought
UAE-based same-day delivery platform Swftbox secured $2 million in a seed round led by MENA Technology Fund on Nov 9th.
The company aims to utilize its funding to grow its customer base in the UAE and the Kingdom by supporting e-commerce platforms with enhanced delivery experiences.
It plans to utilize its funds to grow its customer base in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
“We will use the new capital to accelerate tech development to enhance user experience further and automation, boost margins and grow our customer base in the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” Mohammad Absi-Halabi, co-founder and CEO of Swftbox, added.
The funding round saw participation from venture capitals like Polymath Ventures, AirAngels, Ithraa Investment Co. and investors from the US, Europe, the UAE and the Kingdom.
The real deal
Dubai-based real estate platform Silkhaus raised $7.8 million in a seed round to digitize short-term rentals.
Established in 2017 by Aahan Bhojani and Ashmin Varma, the company is building an operating system to revolutionize the rental industry.
Bhojani explained that the market is currently underserved and is witnessing huge growth in demand, with an estimated value of $13 billion.
Growing over 10 times in the past year, Silkhaus plans to invest in its expansion plans into MENA and Southeast Asia.
The funding round included investments from Nuwa Capital, Nordstar, Global Founders Capital, Yuj Ventures, Whiteboard Capital and Venture Souq.