This is the first series of regional startups whose business models and modus operandi were robust enough to attract millions in funding from private investors.
1- Clinicy: Saudi Arabia
Clinicy is an innovative Saudi healthtech business that recently announced raising a successful seven-figure funding.
The proprietary healthcare management system manages bookings, appointments, and patient engagement, increasing efficiency and quality of service. While the exact investment figure remains undisclosed, it is the largest Pre-Series A investment in the healthtech sector in Saudi this year.
After 24 months of research and development, Clinicy identified 3 core challenges: Missed appointments, high administrative operating costs, and lack of reach and communication with patients. The average local market ‘no-show’ rate of patients who fail to attend appointments is over 30%, costing more than $600 million.
Clinicy’s integration with clinics across the Kingdom has been highly successful, including reducing ‘no-show’ rates by up to 40%, and a 30% reduction in daily tasks for call centers, receptionists, and coordinators.
2- invygo: MENA
invygo, a Middle East’s leader in car subscription services, recently announced that it has raised $1.9 mn in funding.
Founded in 2018, invygo were early pioneers of the Middle East’s car subscription ecosystem, providing consumers with affordable and flexible access to motor vehicles.
invygo partners with leading automotive distributors and rental companies including in Saudi and the UAE.
With over $4.2 mn raised to date and 5x growth since April 2020, the company is forging the foundations for its next stage of growth. The global car subscription market is expected to grow to $12 billion by 2027.
Subscription services are set to grow the MENA region’s low motorization rate, where access to cars is traditionally limited due to high down payments, restrictive financing options, and a high cost of ownership.
Car subscription services offer a flexible automotive experience giving customers a variety of vehicle choices at zero risk.
invygo’s platform provides customers with access to 50 brands and 40,000 cars that are delivered to their doorstep.
As 94% of Saudi millennials consider gig economy roles, invygo will create new jobs and income streams for young professionals, while also contributing to the Kingdom’s economic diversification strategy.
invygo’s deposit-free, all-inclusive experience provides free maintenance, servicing, insurance, and complimentary delivery & pick up, with subscription periods starting for as little as 30 days.
3- Kitopi: UAE
Dubai cloud kitchen Kitopi raised $415 mn in a recent series C funding round.
Cloud kitchens prepare food for delivery and have benefited from the shift to online buying during the coronavirus crisis.
“Kitopi will channel the new funding to fuel its continued expansion within the Middle East and support entry to new markets such as Southeast Asia,” the company said in a statement.
Reuters first reported that SoftBank’s Vision Fund was in talks to invest in Kitopi and put forward a proposal to lead an investment of about $400 mn in the company.
The deal is the fund’s first investment into a UAE registered company, the statement said.
4- Wajeez: Jordan
Jordan-based EdTech startup and book summary platform Wazeej has successfully raised $3 mn in a pre-series A round.
Wajeez was set up in December 2020 and offers Arabic audio and text summaries of global and local non-fiction books. Wajeez’s library has 15-minute condensed versions of more than 3,500 audio and text-based books which the users can access through its mobile app.
The user has to purchase an annual subscription for $47.99 or avail of a monthly plan for $4.99. Users of the free tier get to read one summary every day.
Arabic-speaking Middle East and North Africa (Mena) users comprise 7% of the world’s internet users, while Arabic content constitutes only 3% of the overall content.
The app-based platform recently expanded its selection to include 5–15-minute shortened podcasts (WajeezCast).
Since its official launch, the company has garnered an audience of 800,000 users in only 7 months.
Wajeez is exploring to develop more products in other languages such as Urdu and Turkish in its next phase of growth.
5- GoodsMart- Egypt
Cairo-based grocery delivery platform GoodsMart has raised $3.6 mn in fresh funds.
Launched in 2014, GoodsMart enables users in West Cairo to order groceries using its mobile app. GoodsMart’s grocery delivery service is contactless as the users receive their orders in a pre-installed GoodsMart box outside their homes.
Once a user signs up on the platform, GoodsMart installs a delivery box at their doorstep. As soon as the installation is complete, they can order groceries using its mobile app. All the orders are delivered between midnight and 6 am so the users find the groceries in the box when they wake up in the morning. The customers can also use the option of recurring orders to receive certain products on a regular basis.
GoodsMart plans to use the latest funds to accelerate its expansion and plans to launch in East Cairo in the next few months.