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7 startups from the UAE and Saudi dominate fundraising in March-April 2021

It has been a busy March-April period where over a dozen GCC and regional companies raised seed funding for their startups. We list the first 7 here

Saudi Arabia-based fintech startup Hala recently announced it has raised a Series A round of $6.5 million NOW Money, a Dubai-based fintech company, secured $7m in funding Riyadh-based fintech Lendo has raised $7.2 million in a Series A round

It has been a busy March-April period where over a dozen GCC and regional companies raised seed funding for their startups.

We list the first 7 here. 

1. Hala- Saudi

Saudi Arabia-based fintech startup Hala recently announced it has raised a Series A round of $6.5 million.

Founded in 2018, Hala (formerly known as Halalah) offers a complete payment and wallet solution for both individuals and merchants. The startup’s goal is to become the future bank for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Hala is one of the first fintech startups to obtain the full SAMA license and now plans to expand its offering regionally.

The company offers merchants a point-of-sale (POS) device, Visa or Mada card, an IBAN, and a simple app to give them instant visibility on their transactions as well as enabling them to conduct multiple financial transactions including settling vendor and supplier payments.

2. ZID- Saudi

Saudi-based eCommerce enablement platform, Zid, has successfully raised $7 mn in Series A funding.

This is the second round of investment Zid has received since the business was founded in 2017 and follows a pre-series A investment round of $2 mn in July 2019.

Zid has grown strongly in the past two years, with the pandemic accelerating growth. Milestones include a 10x growth in gross merchandise volume and orders made via Zid’s merchants up to 3.6 million consumers. Zid’s merchant network now boasts over 5,300 stores across 14 different categories from small to large merchants in the retail sector.

Image credit: Wamda

Zid will use this round to expand into new markets, conquer new retail verticals and attract top talent, as well as digitize and automate more innovative solutions to improve the e-commerce experience for retailers, merchants, and consumers.

Read: 5 startups that sprung into action with fresh funding in February 2021

Read: The UAE pours billions into Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund

3. Now Money- UAE

NOW Money, a Dubai-based fintech company, secured $7m in funding and also received supporting funding from Expo 2020 and Visa.

The company intends to use the funds to expand its digital banking solution into Saudi to continue its growth in the UAE.

Founded in 2016, money provides a digital banking solution for low-income migrant workers featuring accounts, low-cost remittance, and other financial services. The company also partners with businesses to provide an end-to-end digital payroll solution.  

4. Lendo- Saudi

Riyadh-based fintech Lendo has raised $7.2 million in a Series A round.

Lendo offers instant invoice financing to SMEs through its Shariah-compliant lending marketplace. The offering helps SMEs with their immediate cash requirements. Invoice financing is a popular short-term borrowing tool for businesses in different markets around the world where they use their receivables to get loans from banks (or other financial institutions) but there are hardly any banks that offer it in the region.

Lendo offers loans starting from about $27,000 and going up to  $800,000 by connecting the SMEs with investors on its marketplace through crowdlending (aka peer-to-peer lending). 

Image credit: Menabytes

The SMEs looking for financing can apply on Lendo’s platform if they have been in operations for at least one year and have an annual turnover of $530,000 at least.

Investments start from about $270 and can be made by any Saudi citizen or resident over the age of 18 who has a valid ID and a bank account. The expected annual profits range from 9 to 24% depending on the risk profile of the SME. 

Lendo makes money by charging the SMEs with a management fee and taking a 20 percent cut from the profit investors make.

Launched just last year, Lendo claims to have financed over 100 invoices worth over $16 mn for SMEs and given more than $810,000 in profits to its investors.  

5. Klaim- UAE

UAE-based fintech platform KLAIM has raised $1 mn in Seed investment to grow its presence in the UAE and expand its operations to Saudi Arabia by H1 2021.

KLAIM is a software as a service (SaaS) fintech platform aimed at healthcare providers to help minimize their revenue losses due to delayed and rejected payments from insurance companies and predict cash flows by streamlining the medical billing processes.

Image credit: Magnitt

According to its founders, KLAIM’s goal is to become the leading one-stop-shop specialized healthcare payment network.

6. Verofax- UAE

Verofax Limited, an automation and traceability platform, has secured $1.2 mn in a Seed funding round.

Verofax was founded in 2018 and has since developed an automation and traceability platform that allows enterprises to prevent counterfeit, improve manufacturers’ engagement with consumers, and increase staff productivity with data insights.

Verofax offers services such as Item ID serialization, traceability, and transaction certification on private blockchain with cost and time to market advantage.

Wassim Merheby, CEO and Co-Founder of Verofax commented on the round, “Counterfeit is exceeding 20% of global trade in some industries and accounts for $1.8 trillion in losses to businesses.”  

The Abu Dhabi-based startup also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.  

Graph credit: Tracxn – Geo Monthly Report – MENA – Mar 2021 

7. Dailymealz- Saudi

Dailymealz, a Riyadh-based food subscription app aimed at corporate employees, has raised $2 million in Pre-Series A round. 

Founded in late 2017, Dailymealz enables individuals to order food using weekly and monthly subscriptions (through its app for iOS and Android), starting from about $37 per week. The users can choose different types of subscriptions including healthy, diet, Keto, and fast food, and create their customized plans, in a few taps, to receive the food in their office (or at their home) without having to place an order every time they need it.

Most of Dailymealz’s plans are for lunch only that’s delivered on working days as it’s focused on corporates but they also feature options like full day Keto and diet that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and cover the weekends as well. The service is currently available in different cities of Saudi and Kuwait and serves thousands of customers. DailyMelaz has delivered over a million meals to date.

The Saudi startup partners with different restaurants and cloud kitchens to offer their food as part of its meal plans. 

Dailymealz has recently launched a new product for corporates that enables employers (through their HR departments) to offer meals to their employees as a perk or at subsidized rates and place group orders (for meetings and events).