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Aramco launched an $800M program to support and invest in SMEs. Araby Ads acquired IndaHash. Reports on food security, online advertising, augmented reality adoption, and online payments. 

💰 Startup Investments: $97M+ was invested across 9 startups this week, led by Zid's series B round of $50M and MaxAB's pre-series B round of $40M. This brings the total value of investments in startups in October to $210M across 36 deals, already surpassing the funding value raised in October 2021, $199M.  
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 INVESTMENTS

Zid, Saudi-based eCommerce enablement platform, raised $50M in series B funding led by Impact46, and joined by Wa’ed Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst, Global Ventures, Elm, Arzan VC and MSA Capital. The startup was founded in 2017 and hosts 7,500 stores through its platform, as well as providing additional services to merchants such as ZidShip and ZidPay.  

MaxAB, Egypt-based B2B ecommerce startup, raised $40M in a pre-series B funding round from Silver Lake, British International Investment, Disrupt AD, BECO Capital, 4DX Ventures, Flourish Ventures, and Africa Platform Capital. The startup was founded in 2018 and says it has connected suppliers with over 150K unique traditional retailers in the food and grocery supply chains across Egypt and Morocco since its founding.

 

🚀  Quick Investments

  • Kenzz, (Egypt) ecommerce startup, raised $3.5M in seed funding led by Outliers VC, and joined by HOF Capital, Foundation Ventures, and Samurai Incubate.
  • Nexta, (Egypt) digital banking platform, raised $3M in funding from e-Finance.
  • Sghartoon, (Tunisia) early childhood games and edtech startup, raised $150k in funding from Oman Investment Fund.
  • Marah, (Saudi) children’s activity platform, raised a seed funding round from angel investors, value undisclosed. (AR)  
  • HR.com, (Saudi) recruiting platform, raised a seed funding round from the Saudi Manpower Solutions Company (SMASCO), Professional Recruitment agency, Squadio, and angel investors.
  • Santra, (UAE) ecommerce enablement startup, raised a pre-seed funding round from Infinity Enterprises Investment, value undisclosed. (AR)
  • Kiwe, (Egypt) youth-focused social payment startup, raised funding from valU, Egypt-based BNPL, value undisclosed. 
Trella, Egypt-based trucking marketplace, raised $6M in debt from ALMA Sustainable Finance (ALMA) and the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The startup was founded in 2018 and raised $42M in series A funding last year.
🪙 two cents: Even though the growth rate of investments has slowed down since Q2 2022, we still see significant indicators of growth in the market. The average value of investments deals has not decreased either. In 2021, we recorded 15 series B funding rounds the whole year, while in 2022 we have already recorded 13 deals (as of Oct 20th). The average value of a series B round has increased by 1.6x from $28.6M in 2021 to $46.8M in 2022. The average value of a series A round also increased by 1.4x from $11.6M to $15.9M. 

 ACQUISITIONS

Badeel, Morocco-based mobility startup, gets acquired by Sofac, Morocco-based financial services company, for an undisclosed value. Badeel was founded in 2018. The acquisition comes after Sofac had invested in Badeel for 15% equity at an earlier stage. (FR)

ArabyAds, UAE-HQ advertising intelligence platform acquired indaHash, Ireland-based influencer marketing platform. ArabyAds was founded in 2013 and has recently raised a pre-series B, while indaHash was founded in 2016 and has executed influencer marketing campaigns for brands such as Adidas, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Samsung, and IKEA.

The consortium of ADQ, and E-Vision (owned by E&) have completed the acquisition of 57% of Starzplay for $130M at a $420M valuation after receiving regulatory approval, based on e& filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). Starzplay’s revenue increased 40% in H12022 and the number of subscribers increased by 20% to 2.1M during the same period.

 INVESTMENTS IN INT'L STARTUPS

BYJU’s, India-HQ edtech startup, raised $250M in funding led by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and other undisclosed investors. The valuation of the startup after this round is rumored to remain at $22B. The startup says that it is on its way to ​​achieving group-level profitability by March 2023, with over 150M students registered on its platforms across 120 countries.

Foodology, Colombia-based cloud kitchen and virtual restaurant company, raised $50M in a Series B funding round from Andreessen Horowitz, Chimera Investment (UAE), and other global investors. The funding round consists of $20M equity-based funding, and $30M debt funding. The startup was founded in 2019, and currently operates 83 locations in Colombia.

Pine Street Labs, US​​-based enterprise crypto wallet, raised $6M in funding from BECO Capital and other global investors. The startup was founded in 2022 and provides businesses with a non-custodial crypto wallet API to plug and play across 12 different blockchains.

 SECTOR NEWS

💰 Funds and Programs

Aramco launched ‘Taleed’, a new program to support SMEs in Saudi Arabia. The program will focus on businesses that support Aramco’s supply chain and the domestic business landscape, and will provide them support across 20 different initiatives including talent development, creating business opportunities and ecosystem development. The program also has allocated $800M to be invested in SMEs across sustainability, digital, manufacturing, industrial, and social-innovation domains.

 REPORTS

The Economist Impact published ‘Global Food Security Index’ 2022, which evaluates food security in 113 countries across four key pillars: affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation. According to the report, the UAE scores the highest in MENA in global food security, followed by Qatar and Oman. When breaking down the four key pillars, Bahrain ranks the highest regionally on affordability, UAE ranks the highest regionally on availability, quality, and safety, and Morocco leads the region in sustainability and adaptation.

Snap and Ipsos published ‘Augmentality Shift’ report on the changes in the adoption and use of augmented reality (AR) by users in the UAE and Saudi markets. According to the report, about 85% of users in the UAE and Saudi are interested in using AR to interact with a product before buying, and 83% of brands that have implemented AR in their marketing are already using AR for that purpose. 87% of users in Saudi are interested in using AR for entertainment such as concerts and sports events, as well as traveling and exploring new cities. However, UAE-based users are more interested in using AR for map navigation (84%), and scanning product info (82%). [UAE] [Saudi

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published ‘Global Payments 2022: The New Growth Game’ report which provides a global overview of the payments industry including the Middle East and African markets. According to the report, payments revenues in the MEA region has reached $65B in 2021, up from $52B in 2016. Even so, the MEA region still constitutes the lowest revenue share globally, and the second slowest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% between 2016-2021. The MEA region accounts for 4% of global issuer revenues, $22B.

iab GCC published ‘Q4 2022 Pulse Survey’, which gathers insights into the state of the MENA digital advertising market from professionals in the digital advertising space. According to the report, 42% of respondents expect growth of 15%+ of video advertising in Q4. 35% of respondents expect the YoY digital ad growth to exceed 15%, and 83% of respondents expect that GCC digital ad spending will increase, in comparison to 64% in North Africa.
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