MENA startups get Series and seed funding Nov-Dec 2021, part V of V


Startups in Saudi recorded their best-ever quarter for fund-raising in the three months ending September 30, attracting $205 million in 34 deals, according to data platform Magnitt.

Venture capital investments in startups in the kingdom more than quadrupled in the third quarter of 2021, compared with the same period last year. Total venture capital investment reached $376 mn year-to-date in 2021. The Series B funding round worth $125 mn by customer communications platform Unifonic accounted for one-third of the total.

Within the region, Egypt stood ahead with 96 deals so far in the year, five more than the UAE and Saudi, who were both tied at 91 transactions.

Here are 5 startups that recently raised funds in the region.

1- CoinMENA, Bahrain

Bahrain-headquartered CoinMena has secured $9.5 million in its first seed funding round.

CoinMena’s fundraise will mainly fund the further development of the platform and product, user acquisition and retention as well as international expansion.  

Launched in early 2021, CoinMena was built primarily to address a market gap that existed for easy and safe access to crypto investing.

Today, as a fully regulated, onshore crypto exchange licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, CoinMena has not only successfully bridged the gap but also become the go-to exchange, known for its prompt transactions, a wide variety of assets, excellent customer service, and easy-to-use mobile app. Recently, CoinMena entered into an agreement with the Dubai World Trade Centre to build the next blockchain and crypto hub in the UAE.

CoinMena’s sign-up process takes less than a minute and can be performed on its simple, seamless, and highly intuitive mobile app, which is designed for both beginners and professional traders. The exchange’s services are currently available to residents of Bahrain, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman, with a view to expanding to other countries in the MENA region.

2- Nuqtah- Saudi

Saudi’s first and leading NFT marketplace Nuqtah, has successfully closed their Pre-Seed round

As a local first platform, Nuqtah enables local creatives to publish and sell their work seamlessly and will serve as a global platform for buyers keen on acquiring the latest NFTs by renowned and emerging MENA artists. Nuqtah plans to build on the thriving NFTs space, and utilize the underlying blockchain technology to spearhead innovation in other verticals such as media and entertainment. The Company plans to become the de-facto platform for the Saudi and MENA digital creative economy. 

NFTs represent a major transformation for artists to safely register and trace any of their productions, with full details available on a public ledger that cannot be manipulated.  

In 2020 the NFT market was valued at just over $250 mn and reached $2 billion in Q1 of 2021.   

The newly acquired funds will allow the KSA-based NFT pioneer to support its platform operations and further expand its product offerings.  

3- RemotePass- UAE

UAE-based startup RemotePass, a tech platform helping companies hire staff from around the world, raised funds in a Pre-Series A round.

The move follows RemotePass’s initial seed investment and comes as the startup is increasing efforts to further enhance and streamline the process for companies to onboard and pay their remote teams around the world.

The funds will be used for geographic expansion and creating a more efficient infrastructure. Companies can hire talent as independent contractors or as employees from over 120 countries in compliance with local labor laws.

RemotePass offers a clickthrough experience for companies to easily handle everything from compliance to payroll as well as day-to-day HR operations in a GDPR-compliant environment. Although the startup offers a full-stack platform, they also offer built-in integrations with multiple pieces of HR and accounting software to increase productivity.

4- BlinkApp- Egypt

Based in Cairo, BlinkApp has successfully completed a six-figure pre-Seed round. The Egyptian mobility risk assistance startup looks to have its technology installed on smartphones purposefully to achieve better driving behavior, fast roadside assistance, and road safety for everyone.

The startup previously raised two zero-equity grants of $90,000 and $120,000 from ITIDA’s Information Technology Academia Collaboration Program.

The technology brings science, technology, and business together to achieve cutting-edge mobile solutions to life. Backed by AI, BlinkApp saves lives and reduces the driving behavior risk impact to vehicles and accidents. BlinkApp supports all customers from insurance companies, fleet owners, or individuals looking for road safety. The app captures and analyses thousands of miles of data while relying on your smartphone’s sensors and AI technology to monitor the driver behavior, detect collisions, and generate insightful reports that guide and assist the customer.

BlinkApp is working to onboard 6 million users and generate $5 million GMV (gross merchandise value) revenue transactions from B2C & B2B sectors by 2025. Targeted are individuals, fleet owners, and insurance companies. By 2025, BlinkApp hopes its revenues will exceed $19.8 mn.

5- Sympl- Egypt

Sympl, a Cairo-based pay later fintech startup, has raised $6 mn in a funding round, following the recent soft launch of its platform.

The funds will be used to improve the product offerings and grow the company’s merchant network to “serve multiple product and service categories across online and in-store merchants”, Sympl said in a statement.

Egypt’s first “save your money pay later” service, Sympl is a deferred payment platform that allows merchants to sell products and services directly to bank cardholders on short-term, interest-free repayment plans.

Sympl, which is now accepted at more than 240 retail and online stores in Egypt, serves product and service categories such as electronics, fashion, appliances, furniture, travel, health care, jewelry, and education. It aims to reach 1,000 stores by the middle of next year.

Customers shop with access to easy, flexible, and interest-free payment plans and can conclude a transaction in less than 10 seconds.

Sympl requires no pre-registration and payment plans are approved at the final checkout.  

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