COVID-19 again played a role in accelerating startup funding in the region, especially for those involving business catering to an online audience.
Here are the top 5 businesses that secured millions in funding this late November.
Yahaal is a Kuwaiti e-commerce platform offering multi-category baby care products helping parents to get their baby needs in a few clicks using its mobile application/ website.
Yahaal benefited from the strict lockdown measures implemented in Kuwait during the height of the pandemic.
It was reported that Yahaal had raised $27 million in a Series A round on Nov 23, 2020, backed by Seeds Partner and AlMutamaiz International Company.
But Menabytes corrected that saying the $27 million part in Yahaal’s press release refers to the valuation of the startup, not the amount of money it has raised.
“The company is not disclosing the size of the investment,” Menabytes said but added that Yahaal’s android app had been downloaded over 10,000 times and apparently, the number of iOS app downloads are also in the same range.
Cairo SaaS-based solution ExpandCart that enables retailers to create & maintain an online store has raised $2.5 mn in a Series A round.
Founded in 2013, ExpandCart enables individuals and businesses to build online stores in Arabic and/or English using its platform. The startup also offers an integrated point-of-sale system for retailers to make it easy for them to manage their omnichannel presence.
It claims to have over 20,000 merchants as its users in over 40 countries.
ExpandCart’s plans start at $19 per month and go as high as $99 a month. ExpandCart comes with easy integration options and dual-language templates in Arabic and English.
Salla- Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia-based e-commerce Salla raised $8.5 mn in Series A round.
The company will deploy the fresh capital to develop its product and expand its regional footprint.
Salla also allows SMEs and e-commerce startups to establish their digital stores but this time in Arabic. The startup offers a freemium subscription model with three tiers, under which, small businesses get the ability to start their operations free of charge and upgrade their subscription based on their needs and requirements.
Salla claims that it has until now processed 8 million orders valued at over $533 mn in gross merchandise value (GMV) through the 10,000 online stores on its platform.
UAE-based Quiqup, a same-day delivery startup, announced that the company has raised over $5.5 mn in a funding round led by Delivery Hero.
Founded in 2014, Quiqup provides on-demand, same-day, and scheduled delivery solutions to retailers and restaurants. The company said that the freshly-raised capital will be deployed towards the expansion of its AI-driven logistics infrastructure.
Quiqup claims that it is currently working with over 800 brands, helping it double the size of its business in 2020.
Remittance giant Western Union struck a deal with operator Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to buy a 15% stake in its mobile payment platform for $200 mn.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will see Western Union become the only other stakeholder in STC Pay, with its operator parent company retaining the remainder.
The two inked an expanded commercial agreement for international money transfer services.
In its statement on the proposed transaction, STC said the cash would be used to support long-term expansion plans for the unit.
Western Union’s investment is expected to close in Q1 2021.