Without exaggeration, it can be said that the playing map in the field of global and Arab entrepreneurship before the Corona pandemic was in one image, and after that it became in another completely different image. After the pandemic spread in the first quarter of 2020 and the whole world entered for the first time in a state of total closure, and the lifestyle of all its activities changed, the world of startups witnessed a tremendous rise in financing projects that are compatible with the new lifestyle.
Distance education platforms, and e-commerce of all kinds, especially e-groceries, express delivery services, remote work tools, and Fin tech; Five key areas witnessed the greatest rush in financing and venture investment rounds in all countries of the world, and the Arab region was not far from that, as the region witnessed rapid growth in financing these industries, especially during the year 2020, and investment rounds continued more during the current year 2021. (1)
Here, we shed light on the most emerging Arab companies that received funding rounds during the current year 2021 only, according to a list issued by Forbes Middle East magazine, through which we learn about the major players in the Arab entrepreneurship world who obtained major bold investment rounds during the first third of this General, and the significance of these huge investments in the growth of these emerging areas in the region. (2)
The Saudi company, Azom, is an emerging company specializing in the design and development of smart digital products, especially smart phones. It was established in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by entrepreneur Muhammad Al-Munajem in 2018. The company was able to attract attention after announcing the release of its new phone, “Azom Al-Sahra”. 2 “(AzomDesert 2) which works with a user interface developed in the name of Ibrahim (Ibrahim UI). With its new phone, the company targeted the middle class of consumers in the Saudi market.
Azoum released its phone at the end of 2020, and it succeeded in achieving major sales in the Saudi middle market, with an increase of 400% during the first quarter of this year 2021. In February of this year, Azoum announced that it had obtained a financing amounting to 9.5 Millions of dollars by the Saudi Mobile Age Company, which works in the field of agencies and distribution of mobile phones in the Kingdom, which raised the total direct financing obtained by the company to 10.7 million dollars.
This financing made the Saudi company classified as one of the top 10 emerging Arab companies that received large funding during the first quarter of this year.
“Service my car” is a startup company established in 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, by entrepreneur Aziz Buda, with the aim of introducing a digital transformation into the field of car repair and maintenance services, by making all reservation services available online, where the digital application provides a range of services Includes: online service reservation, picking up, repairing and maintaining cars, and then delivering them at the appropriate time and place. The company also allows users to track the stages of the repair process and its level of development.
Since its inception, the company has provided its services to more than 10,000 cars, achieving significant growth in its first year by 200%, which rose to 300% in the following year, which led to it obtaining a large seed financing of $ 10 million by the Omani Bahwan Group by the end of the first quarter. From 2021.
The startup, which was able to secure a place in the list of the top 10 Arab startups, received a large financing round during the first quarter of this year, and aims to use this funding to develop its operations in the UAE and expand in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
The “Cofe” app is a Kuwaiti start-up company founded in 2017 by Kuwaiti entrepreneur Ali Al-Ibrahim. It is considered an online marketplace specializing in the field of coffee in particular, and it plays the role of a mediator between customers and among the major cafes in Kuwait such as “Coffee Bean” and “Costa Coffee.” And “Dunkin”, and other famous brands in the coffee industry, and the platform also provides sales services to roasters and stores specializing in the sale of coffee makers.
Since its inception, the application has succeeded in selling more than a million cups of coffee, a major sales boom that led it to obtain a huge financing round of $ 10 million in April 2021 by Al-Imtiaz Investment Group, bringing the total funding rounds obtained by the startup Kuwaiti company to about $ 15.5 million.
The platform responsible for operating the “Coffee” application said that it will use this funding to expand into new markets in the Arab region, including the Qatari, Bahraini, Omani and Egyptian markets, and to develop its services in the markets of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Britain and the UAE, and also to expand into regional markets such as the Turkish market. (3)
Tarabut Gateway is a start-up company established in 2017 by entrepreneur Abdullah Al-Moayyed in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and has expanded to transfer its main activities to the United Arab Emirates. The platform specializes in providing a collaborative infrastructure and a common platform for banks that enables them to provide payment solutions to customers. Fast and high efficiency.
The platform expanded in all regions of Bahrain beginning in 2018, cooperated with a large number of banks, and entered the UAE market at the end of 2020, which finally helped it close a large financing round of $ 13 million in February 2021, by a number of investment companies. Venture capitalists in the region, such as “Target Global”, “Kingsway”, “Zamil Investment Group”, “Global Ventures”, and other investment companies specializing in the field of financial technology “Fintech”.
The platform says that it will take advantage of this large funding to increase its team members by including more than 40 new employees, and to develop its financial services to include more countries, specifically in the Gulf region, which is witnessing rapid growth in the field of financial technology, and also expanding in the Middle East and North Africa region. (4)
Pay Mob is an Egyptian startup that was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Islam Shawky, Alan Hajj and Mustafa Mansi. It is a platform specialized in the field of digital payments that has witnessed rapid growth during the past period in light of the great rise of the financial technology field (Fintech). ) in Egypt.
The platform provides an electronic payment service for different stores, whether they specialize in digital trade or traditional offline stores, so that store owners can receive payments from customers in different payment methods. The platform has become one of the most active digital wallets in Egypt, and its services have expanded to include other markets such as Kenya, Pakistan and Palestine, with more than 12 million users and 150,000 agents.
In 2020, and due to the Corona pandemic, the platform achieved a massive increase in the number of its users by 450% after a large number of merchants joined its digital services, which made it collecting $ 3.5 million in financing in the summer of 2020, before it reaped a major financing round of 18.5 million. $ In April 2021 from UAE Global Ventures and A15 to support technology companies and the Dutch Entrepreneurship Development Bank, in one of the largest rounds of financing the region has seen this year. (5)
Foodics is a Saudi start-up company specializing in restaurant management systems based on cloud technology. It was established in 2014 by entrepreneurs Ahmed Al-Zaini and Musab Al-Othmani. The platform obtained a license from the Saudi Central Bank to provide its services in providing a comprehensive management system for restaurant operation, such as sales operations. Managing orders, menus, accepting payments, and other digital services related to restaurant management.
So far, Foodics has served more than 10,000 brands through 50,000 points of sale. The company has also been able to expand and enter the Egyptian market recently, after it was able to spread its services in the Saudi market, and the company seeks to enter many markets as it targets the eastern region with its services. Middle and North Africa is complete.
This rapid and significant growth achieved by the company led it to announce that it had obtained a major financing round of $ 20 million in early February of this year 2021, led by a group of well-known venture investment funds in the region, led by Sanabel Investment, STV, Technology Fund and “ 500 startups’ and endeavors and others. This large funding raises the total round of financing that Foodics has obtained since its inception to 28.5 million dollars. (6)
The second company on this list is related to the restaurant sector that is based on cloud technology, and one of the largest Arab startups that received a large financing round during the first third of this year with a value of 20 million dollars, bringing the total funding it received to 32 million dollars and become one of the Big players in the region’s emerging, highly competitive cloud kitchens market.
IKcon was founded in 2019 in the UAE by two entrepreneurs Karim Abu Ghazaleh and Khaled Baara. The platform provides cooking and food delivery services, targeting customers who eat through order delivery only (cloud restaurants mean restaurants that provide their services to the public through delivery only without opening the doors for them to eat at their internal tables), and it has so far 15 kitchens in the Emirates, and intends to Opening its services in the Saudi market during this year, and it also has plans to enter Arab markets, bringing the number of its cloud kitchens in the region to 50 kitchens.
The emerging Lyve platform is a UAE-based delivery service platform, founded in 2016 by entrepreneurs, Hassan Halles and Walid Munaimah. The platform provides advanced express transportation services, as it enables its users to monitor the performance of its fleet, as well as enables the entire logistical operations of the customer. The platform provides its services in 10 countries around the world, and includes many areas such as digital commerce, food and beverages, grocery, medicine, and others.
The platform, which changed its name from “one click” to “Lyve” in the summer of 2020, had a large financing round from “MEVP” in 2018, and then, according to Forbes, was able to close a huge financing round of $ 35 million during the first quarter of This year, by a consortium of investors from “Faith capital”, Savola and the Olayan Group.
One of the fastest growing Arab companies emerging and reaping huge funds in the recent period, it was founded in the UAE in 2016 by Ski Courts, Robert Copestas and Mahmoud Adi, a company specializing in the fields of technical agriculture, where it establishes smart farms for the production of vegetables and fruits, and uses technology subject to environmental control in the field of Farming. Since its inception, the company has launched its products in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait markets.
The company topped the list of the largest Arab emerging companies financing in 2020 (10), with a total investment of more than $ 135 million. By the year 2021, the company was able to reap an additional major financing round of $ 60 million, bringing the total funding obtained to the company to $ 216 million, and becoming one of the largest financing emerging companies in the region. The last round of financing was fought by a consortium of risky investors led by Wafra Investment, Shuaa Capital and Mohammed bin Rashid Fund. (7)
Tamara Saudi Arabia came in first place in the list of the most funded emerging Arab companies during the first third of 2021, and it is a digital financial technology platform that provides immediate purchase and payment service. It was founded in 2020 in Saudi Arabia by Abdul Majeed Al-Sikhan, Turki Bin Zarah, and Abdul Mohsen Al-Babtain.
The platform includes more than a thousand merchants in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, most notably “Namshi.com Floward”. The platform provides two main services, namely purchase and payment within 30 days, or purchase of a product with payment in three installments within two months. The platform has achieved significant growth in the past six months, with the number of monthly users increasing by 180%, in addition to an increase in the value of transactions by 170%.
The Tamara platform was able to close two funding rounds this year, the first being seed fund (the initial financing that the company gets upon its incorporation) in January at the beginning of the year with a value of $ 6 million, and the second in April with a value of $ 110 million. Dollars, which made it the owner of the largest financing round in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to the archive of funding rounds for all the past years. The financing rounds were led by a consortium of investors led by the British “checkout”, Vision Ventures, Cedra and other venture capital funds specializing in financial technology. (8)
In the end, and with the fact that 2021 has not yet ended at the time of writing these lines, it can be said that the major funds obtained by startups in the Middle East and North Africa during its first third, totaling $ 175 million during the month of April, indicate The remaining months of this year will witness more promising funding rounds for tech startups in the region, especially in areas that have experienced great prosperity in the period of the pandemic and beyond. (9)