This is the third series of regional startups that attracted funding as part of AMEinfo bringing you the top 15 regional startups that garnered interest from angel investors and venture capitalists, or via their own crowdfunding efforts.
1- Maxab (Egypt)
Cairo-headquartered B2B e-commerce platform Maxab has closed $40 million in a Series A round taking Maxab’s total investment to date to over $45 mn, making it one of the best-funded startups in Egypt. It had previously raised $6.2 million in a seed round in September 2019.
Founded in 2018, Maxab helps small retailers (mom-and-pop stores) in Egypt procure inventory for their stores using its mobile app. It makes procurement easy for retailers by enabling them to order everything from one supplier (Maxab), offering transparent pricing and 24-hour delivery. Normally, a traditional retailer has to deal with multiple suppliers to order inventory for their stores. Since its launch, the startup has helped over 55,000 retailers in Egypt, fulfilling more than 1 million orders, and creating 1,600 direct jobs in the process, it said in a statement.
Maxab was the first player in Egypt to have launched a B2B e-commerce platform serving traditional retailers in the country but now faces competition from different startups including Fatura, Capiter, and a few others, that have launched in the last two years.
2- Zip24 (UAE)
Zip24, a Dubai-based logistics SaaS startup, has raised $1.2 million.
Founded earlier this year, Zip24 currently offers two products: Shipox, a delivery management software, and Storfox, a warehouse management system. The startup already serves over 100 e-commerce merchants, retailers, logistics services, FMCG companies, and restaurants, in over 20 countries.
Zip24’s delivery management software comes with a white-label website (for team and customers), a white-label driver app, and real-time tracking of drivers and vehicles. How it works is that the business integrates it with POS to share order information, dispatch jobs to drivers as they receive orders, have drivers view and accept jobs, access optimized routes, and deliver the orders.
The businesses can track the order status throughout this process and send alerts to customers at the completion of different steps. They can also request customers to submit feedback and access different types of reports from the dashboard.
The online software can be integrated using API or its ready-to-use plugins for Shopify, Magento, WordPress, and Opencart. It’s free for businesses with up to 150 monthly orders and uses a cost-per-order model to charge paying customers. A business with 1,000 monthly orders, according to the pricing information available on its website, pays $100 per month. The price keeps going down as the volume increases. For 100,000 monthly orders, for example, Shipox charges a monthly fee of $3,000.
Storfox, Zip24’s second product helps businesses – including online retailers, marketplaces, offline retailers, and third-party logistics companies, manage their warehouse, supply, inventory, and fulfillment. It comes with an account management system, invoicing, and integration with Shipox for shipping. The pricing is not available but apparently like Shipox, Storfox also has both free and paid tiers.
3- Minly (Egypt)
Cairo-based celebrity video platform Minly has raised $3.6 million in an ‘oversubscribed’ seed round, it announced in a statement.
Founded in 2020, Minly enables fans across the Middle East & North Africa, to buy personalized video messages and shoutouts (for themselves or their loved ones) from leading celebrities of the region. The platform currently features hundreds of celebrities, including cinema and TV stars, athletes, musicians, and social media influencers.
The prices of shoutouts are apparently set by the celebrity themselves with some guidance from Minly’s team. A shoutout from Tamer Hosny, an Egyptian singer with over 50 million social media followers across different channels, costs $499.
The fans can also exchange messages and voice notes with the celebrities on the platform for a fee lower than video shoutouts. Minly makes money by taking a cut from every transaction on its platform.
The Egyptian startup wants to expand its products and services to become what it says will be a full-stack passion economy platform, empowering content creators to deliver meaningful experiences across multiple mediums to their fans.
The startup said that it currently has over 50,000 registered users on its platform.
4- Trella (Egypt)
Cairo-headquartered trucking marketplace Trella has raised $42 mn in a Series A round comprised of equity and debt, it recently announced. The round includes $30 mn in equity investment and $12 mn as debt financing.
Started in Egypt in 2019, Trella currently has a presence in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. In a statement, it said that the road freight market in the Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan is worth $50 billion. The startup connects shippers to carriers while helping solve challenges faced by both parties.
For shippers, the platform serves as a reliable option with transparent and fair pricing to move their goods and track their shipments in real-time, while for carriers (or truck drivers), it can improve their load utilization and efficiency by using the platform.
It currently has 350 shipping partners including brands like Coca-Cola, Maersk, Mondi, Henkel, Orascom, and Cemex. In a statement, the startup said that it has over 15,000 carriers using its platform.
Trella’s founders have previously built and scaled products and teams at Uber, Vezeeta, and OLX. The startup currently employs over 100 people across its three markets and plans to add many more in the next few months.
It plans to use the latest funds to invest in its tech and product development to fuel growth and ‘continue’ being the regional market leader.
With this funding round, Trella has become one of the best-funded players in the trucking space of the region but it will continue to face competition from multiple startups across all its markets including Trukker, which has raised about $45 mn in equity and debt financing to date.
5- Ajar (UAE)
Proptech startup Ajar has closed its pre-Series A, though the size of the latest capital infusion was undisclosed. The startup announced that its latest investment was a multi-million round, with it stating that it has raised a total of $7.5 mn to date.
The startup, which was originally launched in Kuwait and is now headquartered in Dubai, was founded in 2016 and it’s an online payment solution and property management solution catered to help landlords and tenants digitize rent payments and collection in a flexible and seamless approach.
It has grown to include a wide variety of automation solutions that can help real estate investors and companies manage their properties efficiently, with over 35,000 units across Kuwait and the UAE on the platform currently. Property owners can manage the leasing cycle of their properties, along with insights and reports, while users can use Find Ajar, the startup’s classified platform for consumers to rent and buy properties in Kuwait.