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Saudi launched the Supreme Space Council. Dubai Crypto Token regime comes into effect.  Paytabs acquires Digital Pay. Trendyol & Nawah Scientific expand to Saudi, while Paymob relocates to the UAE. Volocopter launching in a NEOM near you. Reports on eGovernment, and eCommerce across MENA.

💰 Startup Investments: October wraps up with $645M invested across 61 MENA-based startups, led by $400M invested into Yellow Door Energy in growth capital. This is 3.5x the value invested in October 2021, $199M. 

Even if we exclude the $400M deal as an anomaly, the remaining $254M still surpassed last year's total funding in October. Q4 and Q1 are historically the most active quarters in funding announcements, so we expect to see more deals being announced in the next 9 weeks. 

Overall, the value of funding into startups as of the end of October 2022 has reached $2.89B across 510 deals. 
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MoneyFellows, Egypt-based money-circle platform, raised $31M in series B funding led by CommerzVentures, MEVP, and Arzan VC, and joined by Invenfin, National Investment Company (NIC), Partech, Sawari Ventures, 4DX and P1Ventures. The startup was founded in 2018 and will use the funding to expand services across B2C and B2B clients.

Invygo, UAE-based car subscription startup, raised $10M in series A funding led by MEVP, and joined by Al Rajhi Partners, Arab Bank, Amana Capital, Palm Drive Capital, Signal Peak Ventures, and Knollwood Investment Advisory. The startup was founded in 2019 and will use the funding to expand to new markets. The startup already operates in the UAE and Saudi.

🚀  Quick Investments

Ibtikar Fund announced that it has made a $1.4M investment across 3 startups from Ibtikar Fund II, announced earlier this year. The investments were allocated to:
  • Alma Health, UAE-based healthcare startup, as part of an ongoing series A round
  • Algebra Intelligence, Jordan-based AI energy monitoring startup
  • Vatrin, Palestine-based solution for SME retailers to transact and sell through whatsapp
The value of the individual commitments to each startup was not disclosed.


PayTabs, Saudi-HQ digital payments platform, to acquire 100% of Digital Pay, Saudi-based digital POS provider, value undisclosed. PayTabs was founded in 2014 and will be consolidating Digital Pay’s services into its own to create a full suite of online and offline digital payment services. Digital Pay was founded in 2018 and provides POS terminals, Soft-POS, Soft-POS SDKs.

X-ERA, UAE-based digital solutions company, acquired Speed App, Egypt-based B2B marketplace and subsidiary of SPEED SC & Logistics, for an undisclosed value. X-ERA was founded in 2020 and aims to invest in retail and logistics digitalization. While, the Speed App was launched by SPEED SC & Logistics and currently has over 35k retailers enrolled. 


Volocopter, Germany-based (eVTOL) vehicles startup, raised $182M in series E funding, of which $175M was raised from NEOM. Volocopter was founded in 2011 and had established a joint-venture company, NEOM-Volocopter, with plans to operate electric air taxi services in NEOM.

Virgio, India-based fashion platform, raised $7.4M in a series A extension round, with Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) investing $4.8M of the total deal’s value. Virgio was founded in early 2022 and connects designers and manufacturers directly to consumers through its platform.

Agroshift, Bangladesh-based agritech startup, raised $1.8M in pre-seed funding co-led by Shorooq Partners. The startup was founded in 2022 and provides an agricultural supply chain platform that helps farmers sell produce through demand aggregation, sourcing, and delivery.


💰 Funds and Funding

Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC) commits $10M to TVM Capital Healthcare’s Afiyah Fund, to invest in innovative healthcare companies in Saudi Arabia. TVM Capital Healthcare is a private equity and growth capital fund manager that invests in the Middle East and Southeast Asia; it has investments in both healthcare providers as well as biotech startups.

Aliph Capital, UAE-based private equity firm, secured $250M for its Aliph Fund I (LP) from ADQ. The fund aims to invest in mid-sized companies in the GCC to improve growth, increase digitization and technology adoption and support expansion.

Wafra, US-HQ Kuwaiti investment firm, closed its new Capital Generation IV fund of $1.5B with commitments from New York State Common Retirement Fund, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, Railways Pension Scheme (UK), the Kuwait Investment Authority, and Mubadala Capital. The fund will acquire minority stakes in alternative asset managers such as private equity firms. The fund has invested in Venture Capital funds globally through its previous funds.

Paymob, Egypt-based digital payments provider, expanded operations to the UAE and announced establishing the UAE as its regional HQ.

Darwinbox, Singapore-HQ HR platform, expands to the UAE. The startup had already expanded to Saudi Arabia earlier this year and launched an Arabic platform to support its regional growth.

Nawah Scientific, Egypt-based scientific research platform, expands to Saudi Arabia. The startup also revealed that the investment round it had raised earlier this year was valued at $3M.

Q9 Capital, Hong Kong-based crypto investment platform, received provisional virtual asset (VA) approval from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).

Trendyol, Turkey-HQ ecommerce platform and D2C fashion brand owned by Alibaba Group, signed a partnership agreement with Fawaz Alhokair Group in Saudi Arabia, to launch their first physical retail stores in Saudi Arabia, as well as plans to establish local manufacturing in the kingdom.


Bayanat, UAE-based AI company and subsidiary of G42, went public on Wednesday on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX); its stocks are now trading at a $2B valuation.


ArabyAds published its ‘Annual Report 2022 MENA E-Commerce & Black Friday Opportunities’, which analyzes the eCommerce market in the region, as well as factors propelling the growth of online shopping. According to the report, the eCommerce market in MENA in 2021 reached $34.5B and is expected to grow by 43% in 2022. Fashion and apparel represent the biggest category of eCommerce in MENA, $7.8B, followed by electronics, $6.9B, and toys and food delivery, $4.7B each. The expected per capita spending on eCommerce in the UAE is $1173, the highest in MENA, followed by Saudi, at $524. [report]

The UN published the ‘UN E-Government Survey 2022’, which provides an assessment of the digital government landscape across all 193 member states. According to the report, the UAE ranks 13th globally, and 1st in MENA, in e-government development, while Saudi Arabia ranks 31st globally, followed by Oman (50th). On the city level, Dubai specifically ranks 5th globally when it comes to local e-government development, and the only other Arab country on the top list is Riyadh, which ranked 36th globally. Dubai performs particularly high on content and service provisions, technology, and institutional frameworks. [report]


🇦🇪 UAE

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)’s Crypto Token regime comes into force. The regime covers AML/CFT risks in respect of trading, clearing, holding, or transferring Crypto Tokens, as well as addressing risks relating to consumer protection, market integrity, custody and financial resources for service providers.

🇸🇦 Saudi

Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) issued the ‘Open Banking Framework’ which includes a comprehensive set of legislation, regulatory guidelines and technical standards based on international best practices to enable banks and fintechs to provide open banking services in the Kingdom. The framework supplements the first version of the framework that was issued last year.

Saudi Council of Ministers issued a decision to establish the Supreme Space Council, which will be responsible for approving policies and strategies for space programs, approving annual plans and monitoring the implementation of the strategy, and achieving compatibility with various sectors and national needs. Saudi Council of Ministers approved the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank System, thereby transferring the Kafalah SME Loan Guarantee Program from Monsha'at (Small and Medium Enterprise Authority SMEA) to the mall and Medium Enterprises Bank (SME) Bank, which was established in 2021.


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