Complex Made Simple

MENA startups get Series and seed funding Nov.-Dec. 2021, part II of V

Over the past 12 months, travel restrictions and lockdowns have oscillated between full and partial. But despite it all, startups in the region have continued to raise funds

Yassir, an Algerian startup that provides on-demand services such as last-mile delivery, raised a $30 mn Rain, a developer of a cryptocurrency trading platform in the Middle East, raised $92.9 mn The investment arm of Tawazun Holding has acquired an additional 20% of Marakeb Technologies’ shares

Over the past 12 months, travel restrictions and lockdowns have oscillated between full and partial. But despite it all, startups in the region have continued to raise funds as investors were keen on keeping cash flow fluid for promising ideas.

Here are 5 startups that managed to attract funds the last 2 months.

1- YASSIR- Algiers

Yassir, an Algerian startup that provides on-demand services such as ride-hailing and last-mile delivery, has raised a $30 million Series A round.

The company had previously raised $13.25 mn in a seed round.

Most people in French-speaking Africa are unbanked due to a lack of trust in incumbents and inefficient banking solutions. The company started with ride-hailing services because the cities it targeted had dense populations and inefficient transportation services. The company progressed to offering last-mile delivery services, creating a multi-sided marketplace that brings drivers, couriers, merchants, suppliers and wholesalers to individual users on one platform.

The plan is to use the marketplace model to offer payment services to all parties involved and create a super app in the process.

Yassir CEO, Noureddine Tayebi

Over 3 million people and 40,000 partners in all its markets now use the platform. Yassir generates revenues by taking a commission on the services it offers.  

The company will use the investment to consolidate growth in its existing markets, launch new products and improve existing ones.

Yassir also plans to triple the size of its engineering team, a department the company is also particular about building locally.

2- Rain- Manama

Rain, a developer of a cryptocurrency trading platform intended to provide licensed digital currency trading in the Middle East, has raised $92.9 mn in a series round. The company’s platform offers cryptocurrency exchange, enabling clients to buy, sell, and store digital currency in a regulated, secure, and compliant way.

Founded in 2017, Rain is a subsidiary of Rain Financial Inc, which is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain as a crypto asset brokerage. Rain received a category 3 crypto asset service provider license from the Central Bank of Bahrain in 2019.

With an aim to focus more on its engineering team, expand through the Middle East, and work with diverse regulators in the Middle East, the co-founders hope to further their vision of mass adoption of crypto assets in the region using this fresh round of funding.

3- HAYVN- UAE

HAYVN, a global institutional digital currencies platform based in Abu Dhabi, announced that it has closed its Series A funding round.

As part of the transaction, Red Acre Ventures has joined the HAYVN Board of Directors. With a strong technology background, Red Acre Ventures will allow HAYVN to deliver enhanced technology solutions for its product offerings.

The Series A funding will allow improvement on the company’s core products and expand offerings beyond OTC trading and custody and provide secure access to digital currency through a series of bespoke, diversified investment products.   

The HAYVN platform is built on unprecedented levels of transparency, regulatory compliance, and security, with a leading OTC desk and a regulated custody offering allowing their clients to buy, sell, and custody large amounts of digital currency both easily and securely.

4- Marakeb Technologies- UAE

Strategic Development Fund (SDF), the investment arm of Tawazun Holding, has acquired an additional 20% of Marakeb Technologies’ shares, increasing its stake to 50% in the locally founded company that specializes in unmanned technology.

In 2019, SDF bought 30% of the autonomous technology firm.

The investment will boost greater manufacturing and R&D capabilities, provide a wider market reach and network, and reiterate support for Emiratisation by acquiring local talent.

Marakeb’s advanced technologies will help it achieve its goals and objectives and contribute to the UAE’s strategic technology sectors.

5- Career 180- Cairo

Cairo-based ed-tech platform Career 180 has raised $200,000 from EdVentures to further enhance its services and reach for users.

Launched in 2016, Career180 helps young people develop their skills to fit the labor market through its counseling services, workshops, and theoretical or practical training programs in various specialties. 

The startup offers career counseling videos on its website and a variety of additional services, and the funding will help it develop a new employment platform. Career 180 plans to merge that platform with its Freelance Yard offering to create an integrated platform that provides employment and qualifying services to youth covering all job types.

Career 180 also plans to further enhance its career advising services and increase its training programs, as it seeks to train 1 million trainees and assist 300,000 users in finding suitable job opportunities.