Complex Made Simple

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

Will 2021 be any different or better than 2020. Well, it can’t get any worse (or can it?) but surely for the below companies, things are looking up as the millions in funding they got will secure a great expansion for their business

Buy now pay later startup Tabby has raised $23 million in a debt and largely equity Series A round eMushrif uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to turn regular school buses into smart buses Dsquares claims to be the biggest full-service loyalty solutions provider in the Middle East & Africa

Will 2021 be any different or better than 2020. Well, it can’t get any worse (or can it?) but surely for the below companies, things are looking up as the millions in funding they got will secure a great expansion for their business.

Sohar International- Oman 

Sohar International has recently concluded a $100 million syndication,  winning the transaction in depressed market conditions, tight global liquidity, and a reduced market appetite. 

It cemented the bank as a leading local financial institution by leveraging on its financial relationships with partner banks, locally, regionally, and internationally, to close a successful funding proposition at competitive pricing and favorable terms. 

Sohar International had mandated United Arab Emirates-based Mashreqbank on its behalf to lead and arrange the syndication.

The syndication further provides an opportunity for the bank to diversify its funding sources across different currencies. 

Read: Who is funding startups in the UAE and region?

Tabby- Dubai & Riyadh

Dubai and Riyadh-based buy now pay later startup Tabby has raised $23 million in a debt and largely equity Series A round led by Southeast Asian VC Arbor Ventures and UAE’s Mubadala Capital. 

It is one of the largest Series A raised by a startup or fintech in the region.

The investment comes less than six months after Tabby raised $7 million to expand to Saudi – and takes Tabby’s total financing to date to over $30 million.

Tabby partners with retailers in the UAE and Saudi to offer their online or in-store customers the ability to defer paying for their purchases for up to 30 days or to pay in four equal monthly installments (with the first one to be paid at the time of purchase). Its solution integrates directly into online checkouts or POS systems of the merchant.

The consumers are not charged anything for using Tabby as long as they pay on time. The startup makes money by charging merchants a commission for all the sales generated through its platform.  

Launched about a year ago, Tabby already has over 500 integrated merchants including global brands like Ikea and Toys R Us, and regional retail giants including Al Futtaim Group, Landmark Group, and Apparel Group.

eMushrif- Oman  

eMushrif, an Omani company that develops IoT systems for school buses and now COVID-19 tracking devices for quarantine compliance, has secured $2.3M in a Series A funding round, led by IDO Investments.   

eMushrif uses the Internet of Things (IoT) to turn regular school buses into smart buses. The startup deploys IoT devices on the buses that enable automatic attendance marking of the students. eMushrif has also built commuting management solutions for some other verticals. The company operates in Oman and Kuwait and has completed 3 acquisition deals to expand the team and explore other markets. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, eMushrif provided the government of Oman with IoT wearables used by people in isolation connected to a mobile app and sophisticated dashboards for quarantine compliance monitoring, implementing AI and crowd GPS technologies. 

Along with this, they introduced a smart attendance system and advance asset tracking for post-COVID-19 work environments utilizing its IoT and edge-AI technologies.

The company also operates an onboarding process at all borders providing IoT wearables to all travelers to Oman.

The capital injection will help in enriching existing jobs, provide new skilled job opportunities for Omanis and support expansion to other markets, and verticals across the region.  

Read: UAE-based delivery startup Quiqup secures $5.5 million in recent funding round, led by Delivery Hero

Dsquares- Egypt

Cairo-based loyalty and rewards solutions provider Dsquares has raised fresh funds from Egyptian private equity firm Lorax Capital Partners as a result of its acquiring a ‘significant minority stake’ in the company.

The firm has also acquired the minority stake of Ezdehar Management in Dsquares. Ezdehar, also an Egyptian private equity firm, had invested in the startup in 2018 (the deal was announced in March 2019), and according to Enterprise owned a 22.5% stake. 

So now Lorax Capital Partners owns that 22.5% plus whatever it has acquired by injecting fresh capital into the company.

Dsquares claims to be the biggest full-service loyalty solutions provider in the Middle East & Africa. It manages all technical, operational, and commercial aspects of these solutions for its clients, helping them increase customer loyalty and retention. Its clients are leading players operating in the banking, telecom, FMCG, retail, and oil & gas sectors.

The startup has a network of 900 brands with over 11,000 outlets across different sectors in Egypt, Jordan, Romania, Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Saudi, and UAE. 

Dsquares also launched Lucky, a mobile app offering customers discounts from different brands, which has been downloaded over 5 million times (in the last two years) with its network covering thousands of merchants in different categories.   

The investment will be used by Dsquares to support the scaling of the new business line and for its geographical expansion across Egypt and internationally.

Sigma Fit- Egypt

Cairo-based sportswear startup Sigma Fit has raised an investment from Kuwaiti investors but the size of the investment was not disclosed.

Sigma Fit had initially started with sportswear produced using hydrophobic technology but has gradually expanded its scope to include more technologies and introduced medical protective suits and face masks after the start of the pandemic.

The use of hydrophobic technology allows Sigma Fit to produce clothes that can be used without washing for up to three weeks. The fabric manufactured and used by Sigma Fit for its clothes is stain and water-resistant.

It currently sells t-shirts, jackets, tracksuits, pants, and shorts for both men and women. The t-shirts are priced between $15 to $20 – which is what the customers normally pay for buying a t-shirt from any local brand in Egypt.  

During the first wave of the pandemic, Sigma Fit has manufactured and delivered over 50,000 medical protective suits to different hospitals in Egypt. 

Sigma Fit has also sold over 200,000 face masks which the startup claims are liquid repellant, cheap, stylish, and comfortable.

Sigma Fit now wants to use the latest money to invest further in fabrics technology, antiviral clothing, embedded sensors clothing, and augmented reality shopping.