Top five MENA venture capital deals in Q2 2019

Top five disclosed VC deals in MENA region amounted to $98.5mln

  
United Arab Emirates Currency - Dirhams. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image used for illustrative purpose.

United Arab Emirates Currency - Dirhams. Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Venture capital (VC) firms in the UAE and Saudi Arabia played a key role in driving many deals in the second quarter of 2019. The top five disclosed VC deals in MENA region amounted to $98.5 million. The credit goes to Egypt-based Swvl for bagging the biggest venture capital investment in the second quarter of 2019.

Here are the top five VC deals in the second quarter of 2019.

1) Swvl

The app-based mass transportation platform which aims to reduce the chaotic traffic jams in Cairo raised $42 million in Series B2 funding on June 22nd.

Venture-capital firms including Sweden’s Vostok, Dubai-based BECO Capital, China’s MSA, New York-based Endeavor Catalyst, Palo Alto-based Autotech, and Oman technology fund helped Swvl raise $42 million.

"We see a huge opportunity in Africa and we are planning to launch our services across the continent. This year we will start in at least two to three countries. Also, we will expand aggressively in Egypt in the next three months, by focusing on increasing users by adding more buses, timings," Swvl’s founder Mostafa Kandil told Zawya.

Swvl had previously raised $8 million Series A investment in April last year and prior to that $500,000 from Middle East–based ride-hailing unicorn Careem.

2.) AWOK.com

UAE-based e-commerce platform AWOK.com raised $30 million in Series A funding, jointly led by Dubai-based StonePine Ace Partners and Riyadh-based Al Faisaliah Ventures, in the first week of April.

AWOK, which was founded in 2013 will use the capital to expand into Saudi Arabia and scale up operations across the growth markets in the GCC and North Africa. The company will also hire more people and increase its offering across multiple product categories to cater to the growing demands in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

Ulugbek Yuldashev, founder and CEO of Awok.com, said: "Our success was built on providing our customers with the best experience we could, and with this round of financing we will be able to provide an even better experience to an even larger market."

3) Mawdoo3

Jordan-based online Arabic content publisher Mawdoo3 secured $10 million in the last week of May to close its Series B with $23.5 million.

The UK-based Kingsway Capital, US & Egypt-based Endure Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, Choueiri group’s investment arm Equitrust, and Amman-based AdamTech Ventures invested in Mawdoo3.

The startup had raised $13.5 million as first tranche of this round in July 2018.

Founded by Rami Al-Qawasmi and Mohammad Jaber, Mawdoo3 is often known as the Wikipedia of the Arab world.

According to Mohammad Jaber, co-founder and COO said the investment will be used to launch Ujeeb, which is apparently a Quora-like digital Q&A platfrom that allows users to ask questions, and receive detailed answers from experts.

Ujeeb is already live and has over 200,000 answers already. Mawdoo3’s team is aiming to take this number to 10 million within first year of the launch, the company said in a statement.

4.) Noon Academy

Online learning platform Noon Academy raised $8.6 million in Series A funding on June 27. It is the largest funding round by an EdTech startup in MENA.

The round jointly lead by Saudi-based Raed Ventures and technology investment fund, STV, with participation from institutional investor Alisamiah Investment in addition to a number of private investors including Careem co-founder Abdulla Elyas.

Noon Academy is social learning platform with more than 2 million registered users. It enables students to study with friends in groups, compete with one another, and request top tutors on demand.

5.) Sprii.com

UAE-based online market place for mothers and children, Sprii.com, raised $8.5 million in its Series A funding on June 24.

The e-commerce platform will be using the latest investment to expand into Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, and the funds raised so far have enabled them to recruit tech and marketing talent, with expert hire in the fields of big data and analytics, the company said in a statement.

“The first six months of 2019 have exceeded our expectations. We have launched a new app, opened our operations in Saudi and have now finalised our funding round early, which will allow us to continue to deliver on our promise to our loyal customers.” Sprii.com founder Sarah Jones, said.

The round closed with support from previous investors, and attracted a range of new strategic players with interests across the retail, logistics and finance spaces, the company said.

Sprii has raised more than $13 million in investments till date. UAE-based early stage technology investor VentureSouq invested $3 million in Sprii in September 2016 and $1.1 million in June 2015 respectively.

(Writing by Seban Scaria seban.scaria@refinitiv.com, editing by Daniel Luiz)

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© ZAWYA 2019

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