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Snapchat launches Spectacles 3 in Saudi, Uber Connect launches in Egypt, and other news | The Middle East Weekly Roundup

Latest US filings show that Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) dissolved its stakes in BP, Boeing, Facebook, Disney, Marriott, Citigroup, and Bank of America.

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Uber, Apple, Snapchat, and Myntra expand MENA offerings. Regional fintech startups are setting new heights, while other sectors are making big strides in innovation and geographic footprint.

Investments

Makwa, the Egypt-based laundry and dry cleaning services startup, raises six-figure investment from an unnamed angel investor. Makwa is a graduate from Flat6Labs Cairo.

01Gov, the UAE-based govtech media and platform, raises a six-figure seed investment from an angel investor.

Pi Flow, a Saudi-based virtual bookkeeping platform, raises investment from Saudi Venture Capital Company and angel investors. Amount undisclosed.

Whyise, the Jordan-based enterprise SaaS solution, has raised USD 200,000 from Ahli Fintech Seed Accelerator, a fully-owned subsidiary of Jordan Ahli Bank, and ISSF in April 2020. News of this investment was announced today, Whyise had raised investment from Propeller in January of this year.

Sehteq, the UAE-based health insurance startup, raises USD 20M in funding led by 971 Capital. There are some question marks about this investment as the Chairman of Sehteq is also the founder of 971 Capital, and it looks like capital injection rather than a classic investment that would have valued the startup at more than USD 80 million, which is probably not the case here.

Sector News

Apple Maps launches turn-by-turn navigation in the UAE.

Snapchat launches Spectacles 3 pre-orders in Saudi.

Uber expands services to Sharjah, UAE.

Uber launches the on-demand delivery services ‘Uber Connect’ in Egypt. This service is similar to Careem Box, which allows consumers to order or send any item (maximal dimensions defined) via their existing motorbike fleet.

NymCard, the UAE-based card issuing and processing platform, receives in-principle approval (IPA) from Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

Thndr, a Cairo-based investment platform, receives a brokerage license by Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority to operate. Thndr claims this is the first such license issued since 2008.

Taker, Saudi-based food delivery SaaS platform for F&B outlets, launches “Take Go” a marketplace that allows F&B outlets to use pay-as-you-go courier services across multiple providers.

Noon Academy, a Saudi-based edtech startup, expands online learning platform to India.

Fawry, the Egypt-based electronic payments company, has reached a market cap of USD 1 billion on the Egyptian Exchange (EGX). Fawry went public in August 2019.

Myntra, the India-based fashion online platform owned by Walmart, expanded its brand portfolio to be available on Noon and Namshi in the UAE.

Cosmopolitan Middle East partners with ITP Gaming to launch Cosmo Cup, the female-focused online gaming tournament in the GCC. We don’t normally cover tournaments of events, but such a move is indicative of major brand and consumer shifts in behavior that would lead to new business opportunities.

Research & Reports

Fintech Saudi publishes its annual report on the state of the industry in the kingdom.

The Visa “Back to Business” study on SMEs and consumers is showing that 94% of SMEs in the UAE (compared to 67%) have pivoted their businesses to adapt since the outbreak, and that 90% of consumers now prefer to pay either through online channels or contactless methods. [full report]

Further News

Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADQ) will be taking over the management of Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO)’s USD 146 million Venture Fund, which has already invested in multiple startups and funds. ADQ also runs Alpha Wave Incubation Fund (AWI) for India and SEA.

Latest US filing shows Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) dissolved stakes in: BP, Boeing, Facebook, Disney, Marriott, Citigroup, and Bank of America, and reduced stakes in Berkshire Hathaway and Cisco Systems, among others.

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