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Reports from Deloitte, Visa, and GroupM, as well as a London startup with Dubai-based executive team | The Middle East Weekly Roundup

Written by Qadisha Group, Digital Digest, Smarkk Published on 

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GroupM predicts overall advertising spend to drop by 25% in 2020.

Investments in edtech, lifestyle, fintech, e-commerce, and more. Regional investors making strategic bet globally. Reports for long-weekend reads on the state of fintech from Deloitte and Visa, as well as state of advertising spend from GroupM.

Investments

Flat6Labs Cairo graduates 8 startups from its 14th cohort: 3atlana, Bosla, CreditGo, Inploy, Mycelium, Opio, Tayar, and Wedel (link to demoday).

Sana Electronic Platform, the Oman-based distance learning and edtech platform, raises funding from Oman Technology Fund’s funding assistance fund that was announced in April. Amount undisclosed.

Steppi, the UAE-based health lifestyle app, raises USD 720,000 in seed funding from undisclosed investors.

Band Industries, the Lebanon-based hardware developers, raise USD 2.8 million in Series A funding led by Cedar Mundi Ventures with participation from iSME, B&Y Venture Partners, Berytech Fund II, and SOS Ventures. Band Industries are the makers of Roadie Tuner, a 3 time top campaign on Kickstarter.

MoneyFellows, the Egypt-based money-circle platform, raises USD 4 million in Series A funding from Partech and Sawari Ventures.

Noon Academy, a Saudi-based edtech startup, raises USD 13 million in a pre-Series B round led by STV and joined by Alturki Holding and angel investors.

TurtleTree Labs, a Singapore-based first-cell based biotechnology startup, raises USD 3.2 million in seed funding from KBW Ventures, Green Monday Ventures, CPT Capital, Artesian, and New Luna Ventures. KBW Ventures had invested in the startup’s last pre-seed round.

Zoodmall, Uzbekistan-headquartered e-commerce platform, raises USD 10 million in Series A funding from undisclosed investors. Zoodmall is operational in Uzbekistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, and is hiring aggressively in these markets.

Checkout.com, a London-based payment gateway, raises USD 150 million Series B in funding led by Coatue, with participation from Insight Partners, DST Global, Blossom Capital, and Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund GIC. Checkout.com’s executive team is Dubai-based, even though their headquarter is listed in the UK.

Sector News

Kitab Sawti announces 204% growth in paid consumers during the regional lockdown period and partnership with Careem.

NymCard, a Lebanon-based cloud-based card issuing and processing platform, relocates headquarters to Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Kaoun, the Tunisia-based financial inclusion startup, is selected for the 5th cohort of Google for Startups Accelerator Africa.

Research & Reports

Choueiri Group releases survey findings of consumer sentiment during Ramadan in light of this year’s pandemic. The general consumer sentiment was 43% positive, while TV and Social media showed the highest increase in reported time spend.

GroupM releases the “MENA Mid-Year Forecast Report” for advertising spend, which predicts that overall advertising spend will drop by 25% in 2020. The decrease is expected in all traditional advertising, while they predict continued growth in digital advertising spend (full report).

Oxford Business Group releases a report on implications of COVID-19 in Saudi and the responses with a focus on telecom (STC).

Deloitte publishes “2020 Middle East Fintech Study” that surveys banking users across the Middle East on their current and potential adoption of fintech services. The most popular features are P2P money transfer and account aggregators. Saudi has the highest rate of adoption followed by the UAE, then Qatar (full report).

Visa publishes a report showing that 71% of consumers in the UAE reported increased use of digital payments when shopping in-store: 49% of consumers are shopping more online, with 61% of them using cards and digital wallets to pay instead of Cash on Delivery (COD) (full report).

Further News

Globaltronics, the Egypt-based smart electricity solutions provider, raises USD 10 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

MediSponsor, the US-based based Healthcare focused CRM and payment gateway, raises USD 50 million from Fincasa Ventures, the UAE-based investment management company. The release and website do list Medisponsor as a US-headquartered company with a UAE branch, although the information is not consistent between platforms.

Jio Platforms India and part of India’s Reliance to sell USD 1.5 billion stake to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Photo credit: Murthy Venkat/Unsplash.

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