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Mubadala invests in Xpeng Motors, GoDaddy launches in Arabic, and other news | The Middle East Weekly Roundup

Etsy Payments, the payment processing arm of global marketplace Etsy.com, is now available for merchants in 7 new countries including Morocco and Turkey.

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Saudi companies actively invest in late-stage investments in the US, while Mubadala backs Xpeng Motors in China. A growing number of Egypt and UAE based startups raise early-stage funding. Saudi still leads media consumption and report on social media for the region.

Investments and acquisitions

Dresscode, the Egypt-based e-commerce startup, raises six-digit seed funding from Egypt Ventures.

The Hub App, a Switzerland-based invitation and RSVP management tool, raises six-figure pre-seed funding from undisclosed Saudi angel investors. The startup’s co-founders are based in Switzerland and Saudi.

Conektr, a UAE-based B2B marketplace, raises USD 800,000 in pre-Series A funding from Auris Investments.

ElGameya, the Egypt-based fintech, raises six-figure pre-seed investment led by AUC Angels, joined by Cairo Angels and Alex Angels.

Shaghalni, the Egypt-based workers recruitment platform, raises six-figure pre-Series A investment from 138 Pyramids VC.

Glamera, an Egypt-based beauty and wellness booking platform, raises six-figure seed funding from Dual Gate Investment Holdings. The startup has raised USD 250,000 in September 2019, and expanded to Saudi in January 2020.

Starzly, the UAE-based celebrity engagement platform, raises pre-seed investment funding led by Nama Ventures, and joined by Jabbar Internet Group, Women Spark, and angel investors. Amount undisclosed.

eyewa, the UAE-based eyewear e-commerce, raises USD 2.5 million in pre-Series B bridge funding from Nuwa Capital, Wamda Capital, and EQ2 Ventures.

Paymob, an Egypt-based payment startup, raises USD 3.5 million in funding led by Global Ventures and Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank FMO, and joined by A15.

iKcon, the UAE-based cloud kitchen startup, raises USD 5 million in pre-Series A funding led by Arzan VC, AlTouq Group, Nazer Group, and other investors.

Elm, the Saudi-based govtech provider, acquires full shares of Tabadul, the Saudi-based tech provider from Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Investment in international startups

Parsable, which develops technology for front-line workers, raises USD 60 million in a Series D co-led by Activate Capital and Glade Brook Capital Partners, joined by many international investors including Saudi Aramco.

Atomwise, the US-based machine learning drug discovery startup, raises USD 123 million in a Series B round, co-led by Sanabil Investments (Saudi) and B Capital, and joined by Tencent, YCombinator, and others.

Xpeng Motors, the Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, raises an additional USD 100 million from Mubadala ahead of its US IPO listing.

Sector news

Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC) invests in Merak Capital, Saudi VC. Amount undisclosed.

Delivery Hero consolidates efforts in MENA through merging Otlob’s brand into Talabat in Egypt.

Etsy Payments, the payment processing arm of the global marketplace Etsy.com, is now available for merchants in 7 new countries including Morocco and Turkey.

GoDaddy launches its services in Arabic-beta for the first time.

Policy

Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA), and Ministry of Commerce issued a new company framework for entities in Saudi Arabia, introducing new types of entities, levying previous regulations, and enhancing existing ones. [The documentation is all available in Arabic only so far, we’ll update you with English ones once they become available].

Research and reports

Snapchat study shows that Saudi consumers spend more than 4 hours on their phones per day consuming entertainment content. Since the pandemic, 94% of Gen Z and millennial consumers say mobile video has helped them cope with anxieties and stay connected.

Hootsuite and We Are Social publish “Digital 2020 July Global Statshot” report which includes internet and usage stats inclusive of MENA markets. You can click on unique countries and get individual reports as well.

markettiers MENA releases a new study into the podcast landscape in Saudi, revealing that 15% of adult population are regular podcast listeners, while 78% are familiar with the medium/format, and that overall podcasts listeners have higher consumer spending in the kingdom. (full report).

Photo credit: Unsplash/Osman Köycü