It has been an amazing February and March 2021 for MENA startups looking to up their antes and push forward with expansion, hiring, and technology.
Azom, a tech startup based in Riyadh that designs, develops, and sells electronics and computer software, raised a $9.5 mn in a Series A funding round.
Azom was established to provide and develop technologies and electronics such as phones and other devices at affordable prices and services. The company started by launching the ‘Azom Desert 2’ phone, which focused on the middle market at competitive prices and developed the user interface under the name ‘Ibrahim UI’.
It also connected to artificial intelligence algorithms, whilst developing applications that would improve user experience, such as Azom Care.
ONE MOTO- UAE
UAE-based electric vehicles specialist, ONE MOTO, announced it has raised a six-figure bridge funding round.
Founded in 2016, ONE MOTO provides vehicles for the last-mile and delivery industry, while addressing the issues of environment, safety, and profitability.
It does so through a digitally-interconnected fleet of private and commercial vehicles which it claims can save up to 16,560 tons of CO2 annually, while allowing operators to double their fleet for half the cost of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
The startup also offers a care package that means vehicles are replaced for free after five years and recycled.
NowPay, a Cairo-based financial wellness platform for employees, raised fresh funds in a Pre-Series A round.
The startup had raised $2.1 million in a seed round last year.
NowPay enables employers to offer salary advances to their employees through its mobile app. The employers don’t pay anything for using the service, nor does the cash move from their books since NowPay finances the advances.
There’s no interest but the employees are charged a small fee for advance. The employer then deducts the advance amount and fee from the employees’ salaries and pays it back to NowPay.
Launched in 2019, NowPay claims to have managed over $200 million in salaries.
Cairo-based fintech Dayra raised $3 mn in a pre-seed round that includes a mix of equity and debt financing.
The fintech provides financial services to the unbanked segment in Egypt, particularly gig workers such as delivery couriers, truck drivers, and freelancers, and micro-business owners such as kiosks, small shops, restaurants, and craftsmen.
The startup, launched in early 2020, enables its users to access financial products like virtual bank accounts, prepaid cards, and access to credit.
Dayra also offers short to long-term loans ranging from $100 to $1500, with an average loan size of $500.
“Only 30% of the 105 million Egyptians are banked, leaving the majority of the country reliant on cash transactions. Requirements such as proof of income by the banking sector make it hard for gig-workers and micro-business owners to open bank accounts,” noted a statement by Dayra.
Cairo-based restaurant engagement platform Koinz raised $4.8 mn in a seed round.
Founded in 2018, Koinz is a customer acquisition and retention platform for restaurants. Through its suite of products including a consumer app, it enables restaurants to gain insights into their online and offline customer base that helps restaurant owners retain their clients.
As users place orders, they earn loyalty points that they can then redeem at the same restaurant.
The most interesting part of Koinz’s consumer offering is that the users also earn points for offline orders (dine-ins, over the phone, takeaways, all of which are not done through the app).
They can share the mobile phone number associated with their Koinz account to have the restaurant add their points every time they place an order. The users can keep collecting points even if they don’t have a Koinz account using their mobile phone number and whenever they create one using the same number, all their points will be there for them to redeem.
What this means for restaurants is that they’re able to learn a lot of insights about their customers from different touchpoints (online and offline) and optimize their offerings for them.
Tracked data include visits history, location, average spend, age, and gender allowing restaurant owners to make educated decisions, reward customers through points and leaderboards, and drive in-store visits through social media.
“Koinz enables a sustainable customer acquisition model for restaurant owners by reducing the cost of customer acquisition up to 60%. The loyal consumers using the Koinz app to purchase from restaurants spend 60% more per transaction and are the most vocal about what they like,” said the startup in a statement.
Koinz charges restaurants a monthly subscription fee for using its services and takes a cut for every order that the restaurants receive through its consumer app.
Its platform is currently being used by restaurants (over 1,000 outlets) in Egypt, UAE, and Saudi.