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Additional Arab startup funding in December and India’s 2020 investor appetite in startups

Arab startups were still finding ways to end the year on a positive note with additional millions raised. Here we also take a look at the 2020 startup climate in India

Abjjad, the Jordanian Arabic library that provides unlimited access to thousands of Arabic books raised a $1 million in funding Egyptian health-tech startup CliniDo, has raised a six-figure seed funding round Investors have poured in about $9.3 billion into Indian startups so far in 2020

Arab startups were still finding ways to end the year on a positive note with additional millions raised.  

Here we also take a look at the 2020 startup climate in India and how it was negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Read: 5 new Arab SMEs raise funds and 3 Arab startups to watch

4 Arab startups funded

1. VERMEG- Tunisia 

London-based Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP, one of the oldest active private equity firms in Europe, announced on December 18, 2020, that it has invested in VERMEG, a leading provider of digitalization software and solutions for financial services.

Founded in 1993 in Tunisia, VERMEG has some 400 clients in 40 countries and more than 1,100 employees.  

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed but a person familiar with the deal told Private Equity News, the investment was made through Charterhouse’s tenth fund, which has an average ticket size of €175 million ($215 mn). 

2. Abjjad.com- Jordan

Abjjad, the Jordanian Arabic library that provides unlimited access to thousands of Arabic books and novels, has raised a $1 million Series A funding round.

The Abjjad platform offers users unlimited access to over 6000 Arabic e-books and novels, where they can rate, review, and add books to reading shelves, follow writers, and stay up-to-date with their latest work, amongst other features. 

Abjjad’s current offering is $5.99/month and currently has 1.5 million registered readers and writers.

The newly raised funds will be used to invest in users and e-books acquisition where both are supported with ongoing investments in product and technology.   

While only 3% of internet content is Arabic, Arabic speaking users on the internet are the 4th largest in the world. With 180 million users and 3 out of 4 being frequent book readers, they are aiming for the platform to reach 20 million Arabic-speaking users. 

3. Clinido- Egypt

Egyptian health-tech startup CliniDo, has raised a six-figure seed funding round from angel investors. 

Founded in January 2020, CliniDo helps patients make and schedule appointments with doctors. In under a year, it has launched three services; clinic booking, telehealth service, and CliniDo medical blog. 

CliniDo.com has managed to onboard 1500 healthcare providers and served more than 12,000 patients through 15,000 bookings across greater Cairo, Upper Egypt with plans to launch soon in Alexandria.

4. Maison d’Angelann- UAE

After having invested $7million in November 2020 by the Gate business service, a private family office in UAE has revealed their intention to invest an additional $2 mn in the purchase of 10% more shares in Maison d’Angelann, a fashion brand. 

In November 2020, sales in UAE alone has exceeded $2 million, allowing Anna Chibisova, one of the owners of the brand, meet the expectations of Arabic partner company the Gate Business Service, and moreover resulting in the signing of a concept project, opening five Maison d’Angelann mono-brand boutiques in five European cities.

Since 2015 several mono-brand boutiques were opened and the brand started expanding to the Middle East in 2017.

Read: Ending 2020 with millions in expansion funding for 5 Arab businesses and startups

India’s startup ecosystem 2020 

Investors have poured in about $9.3 billion into Indian startups so far in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic upending many sectors of the economy, data from industry tracker Tracxn showed.

 In December alone, more than $1.5 bn was invested across companies including food delivery app Zomato, logistics player Delhivery, and InMobi’s Glance, even at a time when deal closures are usually slow as things wind down for the year. The investments have been spread across 1,088 financing rounds, according to the Tracxn data shared with Economic Times (ET).

In 2019, domestic startups had raised a total of $14.2 bn across 1,482 rounds from January 1st to December 23rd

Deal activity was slow in April ($461 mn raised through 85 rounds), May ($318.5 mn through 72 rounds), and June ($553 mn through 68 rounds). 

The ed-tech and SaaS sectors saw company valuations ballooning.

In contrast, deals in sectors such as offline retail, restaurant SaaS, consumer lending, consumer mobility, and construction/real-estate declined sharply, ET reported.

 Offline services marketplaces like wedding services, agent-led feet-on-street commerce, industrial robotics, travel, and hospitality also took a severe beating, according to ET.