Complex Made Simple

Who is funding startups in the UAE and region?

Have a good business idea and can back it up with a well-devised plan? It is then likely you will get funding from a plethora of regional and UAE based venture capitalists

Plus Venture Capital (+VC) recently announced the launch of its $60 million operations Mubadala is an investment company with $232 bn worth of assets under management A tech startup based in Cairo has just raised a six-figure amount of investment funding

Have a good business idea and can back it up with a well-devised plan? 

It is then likely you will get funding from a plethora of regional and UAE based venture capitalists, and government-backed institutions willing to take a chance on startups, (tech or otherwise), provided you’ve done your due diligence.

Who is doing the funding?

Startup backers

Plus Venture Capital

Plus Venture Capital (+VC) recently announced the launch of its $60 million operations and its debut fund focused on investing in early-stage tech startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and its diaspora.

Founded by ex-Google executive Sharif El-Badawi and investment veteran Hasan Haider, and the two completed over 200 transactions together helping portfolio companies achieve operational milestones and building global companies.

Haider said: “The aim of the firm is to invest in a broadly diversified portfolio of seed-stage startups, targeting 120 investments over the next 3 years.”  

With its headquarters in Bahrain, +VC will have offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt. 

The company will focus on sectors, including FinTech, HealthTech, and EduTech in addition to logistics, content, and e-commerce.

Initial investments will have an average cheque size of $200,000, with half of [the] capital reserved for follow-on rounds of up to $2 mn for the most successful portfolio companies. This allocation may increase to 70% depending on the final fund size.

The Mena region is emerging as a key start-up ecosystem, having seen several major exits, including the $3 billion acquisition of Careem by Uber last year and of local e-commerce site Souq by the US giant Amazon for $580 mn in 2017.

Despite the pandemic-related challenges, MENA start-ups secured $659 mn in funding in the first half of the year, up 35% compared to the last year, according to data platform Magnitt.

Read: Five Arab startups that raised millions in funds last September

Hub71  

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem powered by Mubadala Investment Company, has forged a strategic partnership with French national investment bank, Bpifrance, to boost innovation and provide mutually beneficial opportunities for tech startups, companies and entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi and France, offering successful startup applicants with access to mentorship, meetings with potential partners and opportunities to pitch investors.

Mubadala 

Mubadala is an investment company with $232 bn worth of assets under management and also a backer of Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 ecosystem for growing tech companies.

Ibrahim Ajami, head of ventures – Mubadala Capital said that when making an investment, Mubadala would be forming a long-term partnership with the company’s young management team with value creation becoming a priority. 

An investment partnership with Mubadala will need to contribute to the UAE’s development and progress.

Founder Institute 

Silicon Valley-based Founder Institute has launched a pre-seed start-up accelerator in Jordan to support the early-stage entrepreneurs.

“Jordan is ripe with talent … the Founder Institute can increase an aspiring technology entrepreneur’s chance for success by providing a structured program, the necessary skills, mindset, and access to Silicon Valley expertise,” it said in a statement.

“We will provide high-potential entrepreneurs and teams the support network and structured growth process needed to get traction and funding.”

Exclusive: UAE startup Finalrentals to expand to KSA this month, bringing Saudis a seamless car rental experience

Recent startup funding  

Milango

A tech startup based in Cairo has just raised a six-figure amount of investment funding to expand its platform to offer digital services to closed communities in the Middle East and North Africa. 

A15, an entrepreneurial company develops and invests in digital products and tech brands. Fadi Antaki, A15’s Chairman, commented: “We invested in Milango because it makes sense due to the gap it is filling in the market as in digitally transforming communities whether compounds or clubs by making the experience served to its residents and members more seamless, appealing and meaningful.”    

Milango services have been used by companies such as the Smash Sporting Club, Emaar, Travco Properties in Almaza Bay, Orascom Development in (El Gouna), and SODIC.  

Paymob

Paymob, an Egyptian founded digital payment provider has announced that it has raised $3.5-million in investment funding provided by Global Ventures and the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank FMO with a follow-on investment by A15.

Paymob has a unique market position to offer integrated infrastructure solutions and payment services across a range of payment methods and channels. Paymob claims to process more than 85% of mobile wallet transactions throughout Egypt establishing the startup as the preferred online payment gateway.

Sweetheart Kitchen

Sweetheart Kitchen secures €15 mn ($17.56 mn) in Series C funding. Funding will launch five new brands including Skinny Bowls, Open Sesame, and Naughty Vegan; as well as add twelve units in the UAE, seven in Kuwait with more expansion into Saudi Arabia in the second half of 2021.

Sweetheart Kitchen is a Dubai tech-based multi-brand, delivery-only ghost kitchen. This round follows an earlier €21 mn ($24.5 mn) funding used to launch 30 brands.