View this email in your browser
Egypt and Saudi shakehands on new deals. IHC invests in SpaceX. Tunisia Central Bank launches a mobile payment system. DP World, ADQ, and Aramco localizing innovation, technology, and R&D. Reports on online and international commerce, digital ad spend, HNWI migration trends, AI, CSR, and gender balance in UAE-based entities. 

💰 Startup Investments: More than $55.6M in funding this week across 7 deals, this brings the total of deals to $142M in funding. The leading deal this week is Huspy's $37M in series A funding. 
Share with a friend Share with a friend


Huspy, UAE-based digital financing proptech startup, raised $37M in series A funding led by Sequoia Capital India, and joined by Founders Fund, Fifth Wall, Chimera Capital, Breyer Capital, VentureFriends, COTU, B&Y Venture Partners, and Venture Souq. The startup was founded in 2020 and claims to have $2B in annualized GMV. Its primary product is a home financing solution, that scraps banks weekly for mortgages and allows users to close transactions three times faster than the market average.

Vamstar, UAE-based healthtech startup, raised $9.5M in series A funding round led by Alpha Intelligence Capital (AIC) and Dutch Founders Fund (DFF), and joined by btov Partners and Antler. The startup was founded in 2019 and provides an AI-enabled sourcing and procurement platform for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

🚀 Quick Investments:

Alhokair Group, Saudi, has acquired a $4.99% stake in valU, Egypt-based BNPL player owned by EFG Hermes, for $12.4M, at a $247.4M valuation. Earlier this month valU acquired a 35% stake in a joint venture company that Alhokair is part of.


Al Hassan Ghazi Ibrahim Shaker Company, Saudi-listed airconditioning distributor, entered into an initial agreement to acquire a 40% stake in Cashew, UAE-based BNPL player, for an undisclosed value. Cashew had announced a $10M funding round from Mashreq Bank last month. [Tadawul announcement]

MNT-Halan, Egypt-HQ super app, acquired Talabeyah, Egypt-based B2B marketplace for F&B, for an undisclosed value. Talabeyah was founded in 2020, and had disclosed a ‘seven-figure’ pre-seed funding round in October 2021.



SpaceX raised $25M from International Holding Company (IHC), Abu Dhabi, through its subsidiary IHC West Investment. IHC already owns a stake in SpaceX through its acquisition of Falcon CI IV, a private equity investment fund.

🚀 Quick Investments:


💰 Funds and Funding

BIM Ventures, Saudi-based VC and Venture Building studio, launched its second fund of $32M (120M SAR), BIM Investments II focused on venture building. The fund looks to invest and support founders from idea validation until market launch, as well as an allocation for follow-on direct investments to support the startups' spin-off from the studio. The fund will focus primarily on proptech, investech, fintech, as well as platform-based business models.

Disruptech Ventures secures commitments from Axian Group, Madagascar-HQ holding company, for its Disruptech Egypt Fund I, a $25M fund that aims to invest in Egyptian startups, particularly those in fintech.

Aldar Properties, UAE-based real estate developer and group, makes commitments to Taronga Ventures, Singapore-Australia-based venture capital firm focused on real estate innovation and technology startups in the APAC region. This marks Aldar’s third commitment to real estate technology venture capital firms globally.
VerSe Innovation, India-based media platform, expands operations in the Middle East region, with new HQ in Dubai. The company is the parant company of DailyHunt, news and content aggregator, and Josh, short video app. Dailyhunt’s expansion will target all 6 GCC countries, and says it has partnerships with 5k content publishers in the region already and plans to launch an Arabic edition soon.

Abu Dhabi Media, State-backed broadcaster, has appointed StarzPlay, UAE-HQ SVOD player, to exclusively handle the advertising sales and commercial services of Abu Dhabi Media’s portfolio. E& (Etisalat Group) & ADQ recently acquired a 57% stake in starzplay at a $420M valuation.

CoinMENA, Bahrain-based crypto-asset exchange, has obtained a provisional virtual assets license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) to continue its business operations in Dubai. The startup had been operating in the country since March 2021.  

BitOasis, UAE-based digital assets wallet and exchange, decreases its headcount by 7%. Rain has also decreased headcount earlier this month as crypto markets continue to lose market value.

UBCI, Tunisia-HQ bank, launched a mobile payment solution for individuals and retailers, UBCIPAY and UBCIPAY Pro respectively. The new app will allow instant money transfers, cash withdrawals, bills and fine payments, as well as retail transactions through QR codes. (FR)

Tribal Credit, US-based financial solution for SMEs in emerging markets platform, partners with the Shariyah Review Bureau to review, certify and supervise sharia compliance for its corporate cards and working capital products in Islamic markets.

The Qatar National Bank (QNB), launched an enhanced API infrastructure (Open Banking) platform to engage with partners and fintechs in the country.

Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) issued a decision to license Beehive, UAE-HQ crowdfunding platform, for three years. This is the second licensed platform in the sultanate after EthisX, Oman-Malaysia-based sharia-compliant SME-crowd financing platform.

Amazon partners with Saudi’s General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monsha’at) to launch their global flagship Delivery Service Partner program in the kingdom that will grant SME partners in the program-specific delivery volume from Amazon, access to Amazon’s delivery technology, hands-on training, and discounts on a suite of assets.

Dubai Ports World (DP World) launches technology centers in India with the aim to develop technologically advanced integrated services. A center was launched in Hyderabad last month, in Bangalore this week, and a Gurugram is planned for later this year.

ADQ launched the ADQ Growth Lab, a specialized facility and community tasked with the trial and adoption of AI and automation through proof-of-concepts and pilots across 20 ADQ portfolio companies. The ADQ Growth Lab has a $27.2M allocation. The announcement did not specify what sectors the Lab will focus on as ADQ’s portfolio spans a variety of sectors from data centers to healthcare and financial services.

Saudi Aramco and Cognite, Norway-HQ industrial DataOps Provider, launched a new joint venture company, CNTXT, a Saudi-based will be the exclusive reseller of Cognite Data Fusion which will support digital transformation across private and public sectors. Aramco has invested $113M in Cognite through a secondary market share sales in February 2022 at a $1.4B valuation according to Crunchbase. 
DAPI, UAE-HQ open banking startup, joins Mastercard’s Start Path Open Banking program that was announced last week. 4 other international startups were selected for the program.

Mastercard also signed a partnership with Spire, Bahrain-HQ open banking startup, but this time to support Mastercards Merchant Identifier solution through Spire “Ingage”, an AI-driven financial wellbeing platform for retail banking customers.

Mastercard and the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) have signed a partnership to collaborate on a range of innovations including Metaverse and Augmented Reality (AR) activations, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), gamers and fans’ loyalty solutions, and a gaming virtual Mastercard card.


Zbooni published ‘cCommerce MENA Report’ for 2022, a white paper on the growth of eCommerce in MENA and checkout experiences. According to the report, the size of the MENA retail market is estimated at $1T in 2022. Zboonis says that MENA retailers that employed ‘cCommerce’ increased sales by 233% in 2021, and 85% purchase completion vs less than 10% for regular eCommerce sales. Also, 79.4% of MENA retailers and brands say that instagram is their most popular sales channel, followed by whatsapp 44.2%, then their websites 38.2%. [report] [cCommerce = connected commerce

Salesforce published the ‘State of Commerce’ report 2022, which surveyed business leaders and consumers across industries and the world on the changes in digital commerce, the impact of the pandemic, payments, and technology. According to the report, UAE-based professionals surveyed believe their companies are effectively using data to inform business and market strategy, connecting commerce with other areas of business, and automating processes. 52% of professionals surveyed said that their companies already provide BNPL/installment payment options to their customers, while 39% say they plan on introducing that within the next 2 years. 38% say they currently accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment, well above the global average of 31%, and 48% say they plan on accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment in the next two years. [report]
iAB GCC published the ‘2021 MENA Digital Adspend’ survey report which shows that annual ad spend in MENA grew to $4.58B in 2021, a 25.9%  increase from 2020. Video as spend now accounts for 50% of total spend in MENA, growing by 33% YoY (and higher than the EU average). The UAE and Saudi Arabia account for 72.4% of all ad spend in the region. [report

Henley & Partners published ​the ‘Henley Global Citizens Report’ for Q2 2022 which tracks private wealth and investment migration trends worldwide. According to the report, the UAE ranked the top globally for targeted relocation by high-net-worth-individual (HNWI), with at least 4,000 HNWI expected to move this quarter. The UAE has also seen a 38% growth in HNWI over the past 10 years, and expects to see 40% more in the next ten. Saudi on the other hand has seen an 8% growth in HNWI over the past 10 years and expects to see 10% growth in the next ten years, it also is expected to be seeing an outflow of HNWI this quarter.

The Economist and Google published 'Pushing forward: the future of AI in the Middle East and North Africa' whitepaper, which looks at the developments in AI in Saudi and the UAE primarily, as well as the rest of MENA, through new initiatives and policy development. [report

Klasha, Nigeria-US-Based online payment solution, and TechCabal published a whitepaper on the state of ‘International eCommerce in Africa’ which discusses the status of cross-border commerce on the continent and the obstacles challenging its growth. According to the report, as of the end of 2020, there were over 102 digital marketplaces in Morocco (second highest in Africa), followed by 92 in Tunisia, and 84 in Egypt. Africa also records the longest expected time for import and exports at borders globally, as well as the highest cost for moving goods. [report

Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy (C&B) published the ‘MENA CSR Survey Report’ which surveys leaders across the MENA region on their understanding and impact of CSR initiatives. According to the report, 90% of respondents feel that CSR practices have a positive impact on business. Saudi-based respondents find overall believe that CSR is necessary for customer loyalty and employee retention. [report

Aurora50 and Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) published ‘Non-executive board careers in the UAE: A path to gender balance’, a report that tracks gender diversity in the boardroom in the UAE. According to the report, as of June 2022, women hold 8.9% of the 868 listed board seats in the UAE across companies listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) and the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). This is an improvement from previous years, but comes only after the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority issued a law mandating all listed companies in the UAE to appoint at least one woman to their boards. However, females make up almost 27.3% of ministerial positions in the government, 30% of diplomatic missions, and 30% of senior decision-making roles in the public sector. [report]



🇸🇦  Saudi 🤝 Egypt  🇪🇬

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have signed 14 investment deals worth $7.7B today across all vital sectors during an official visit by the Saudi crown prince and ministers to Egypt. Some of the companies that are listed in the partnership are fintech and innovation companies: 
🇹🇳  Tunisia

The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) launched the first mobile payment system in Tunisia in partnership with seven public and private banks in the country. The system will offer several services including the deposit and withdrawal of cash, transfer of funds, as well as retail payments through QR codes or electronic POS systems.
The seven banks are: Banque Nationale Agricole (BNA), BH Bank, Amen Bank, the Union Bancaire pour la Commerce et l’Industrie (UBCI), Attijari Bank, the Bank of Tunisia and Emirates (BTE) and Zitouna Bank.



Arabian Contracting Services, Saudi-based outdoor advertising provider partly owned by MBC, was contracted to provide advertising services to Elan Media Advertising, Qatar-based outdoor and indoor advertising and media platform, for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

CNN International and International Media Investments (IMI) have signed an agreement to launch CNN Business Arabic, by the fourth quarter of 2022. IMI is an Abu Dhabi-HQ privately owned media holding group with a portfolio that includes The National, Al Roeya, Al-Ain News, and interests in Sky News Arabia and Euronews.

PwC acquired a stake in Zero&One, UAE-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Consulting Partner, for an undisclosed value. Zero&One was founded in 2017 and has offices in Lebanon and the UAE. PwC has been actively acquiring cloud consulting service providers globally and regionally.

📩 Are you enjoying the newsletter?

Absolutely      It was Ok      Not Really 

If you have any feedback reach out to us by replying to this email.
Have a great weekend! 🌞
To get daily updates subscribe to
MENA’s Digital News channels on 
Telegram or Whatsapp
Copyright © 2022 Digital Digest, All rights reserved.