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Trukker expands to Poland and Kazakhstan. Digital asset companies are expanding to the UAE. A funding partnership between Saudi (SVC) and South Korea, and a new venture builder for digital inclusion by Modus in Egypt. Finally, the employees of unicorns from 2021 are not having a good week.

💰 Startup Investments: $20.7M was invested across 5 startups this week led by Qashio's $10M  seed funding round. This brings the total funding in November to $258M across 26 MENA-based startups.
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Qashio, UAE-based fintech startup, raised $10M in seed funding from One Way Ventures, MITAA, Cadorna Ventures, Sanabil 500 MENA, Nuwa Capital, Iliad Partners, Phoenix Investments, as well as angel investors and family offices. The funding is a mix of equity and non-equity funding, the exact split not disclosed. The startup was founded in 2021 and offers a spend management platform for businesses and will use funding to expand further in Saudi.  

Grinta, Egypt-based pharma-marketplace startup, raised $8M in seed funding co-led by Raed Ventures and Nclude, and joined by Endeavor Catalyst and 500 Global. The startup was founded in 2021 and has 14k pharmacies registered on its platform.


🚀  Quick Investments


Collatree, India-based software development company, raised a pre-series A funding round from undisclosed Saudi investors, value also undisclosed. The funding will support the company's expansion to Saudi Arabia, with offices in Riyadh and Jeddah.

VMeta3, Australia-based metaverse startup, raised funding from Helion Ventures (UAE), value undisclosed. The startup was founded in 2021 and is developing a high-poly modeling technique to improve life-like experiences in the metaverse.


💰 Funds and Funding

Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC) signed an agreement with the Korean Venture Capital Company to launch 7 specialized investment funds for co-investment in startups in both Saudi Arabia and South Korea, no further details about the funds are available yet.

AUM Ventures, UAE-HQ venture capital fund, launched its operations in Abu Dhabi, licensed by the Abu Dhabi Global Market. The fund aims to invest in Indian startups and help them expand to the UAE. The fund has already invested in 11 Indian startups including Esports XO and Skyroot Aerospace.

Modus Capital, US-based MENA-focused venture builder and investment firm, partners with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch MV Builder II, a Egypt-based Venture Builder that focuses on building and supporting startups working on digital inclusion through a 9-18 months program.

Saudi's Social Development Bank partners with the National Technology Development Programme (NTDP) to operate a $53.3M (200M SAR) financing portfolio for tech SMEs in the kingdom. The funding will be allocated to emerging, micro and small technology enterprises.

CredoPay, India-HQ fintech platform, expands services to Oman under the brand name SalisPay. Salis Pay is a joint venture between CredoPay and Oman Computer Services LLC, a subsidiary of The Zubair Corporation (TZC).

AeroFarms, US-based agritech company, expands to Qatar in partnership with Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZA) and Doha Venture Capital (DVC). The company already has an R&D center in Abu Dhabi supported by Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).

Komainu, US-based digital asset custodian for institutions, received a minimal viable product (MVP) license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). Komainu is a joint venture between Nomura, Japan-based investment bank, Coinshares, digital asset management platform, and Ledger, France-based digital asset security company.

Sygnum, Switzerland-based digital asset bank, received in-principle approval from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) to expand its operations to the UAE.

Tweeq, Saudi-based finance management startup, acquired an eWallet services license from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA).

Saudi’s Ministry of Finance granted entrepreneurial licenses to two artificial intelligence (AI) companies to operate in the kingdom, Faceki, Bahrain-HQ facial recognition startup, and Qvalon, US-based AI-powered customer service technology.

TruKKer, Saudi-based on-demand truck aggregator, announced the expansion of its services to Poland and Kazakhstan.

Swvl employees in the MENA region face a second wave of layoffs as the company struggles to demonstrate profitability and raises its stock price. The company has already received a warning that the stock may potentially be de-listed due to its low price, currently trading at $0.44.

Employees at Kitopi, UAE-HQ cloud kitchens, also faced mass layoffs at its head office recently as well.


Redseer Consulting published ‘The Most Inclusive Football Tournament’ report, which surveys individuals and companies about the World Cup Tournament that kicked off yesterday in Qatar. According to the report, 33% of the World Cup attendees this year will be female (up from 25% in 2018), and 75% will be under the age of 45 years old (up from 66%). Consumers reported that Television is still the highest-ranking platform for content discovery related to the sport (83%) followed by Social Media (72%), then Sports Websites (56%). 52% of consumers report that the ‘Feeling of togetherness' is one of the key drivers that makes them watch and engage with the world cup games.

BPC and Fincog published 'Digital banking in the Middle East’ report that analyzes the digital banking landscape in the GCC. According to the report, as of 2021 there were 25 digital banks in the region, 9 of which are UAE-based.


🇦🇪 UAE

The UAE’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) said that as of January 1, 2023, director services undertaken by natural persons serving as members of boards at entities and institutions across the UAE will not be subject to value-added tax (VAT).

🇪🇬 Egypt 

Egypt’s Cabinet approved a draft bill that would establish the Egyptian Intellectual Property Authority, a public body to regulate and protect intellectual property rights in the country.

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