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The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority discovers the blockchain, the Qatar SportsTech Accelerator presents its cohort, and other news | The Middle East Weekly Roundup

According to a BCG report, women in the Middle East control USD 786 billion in wealth, with 40% of that concentrated in Saudi and the UAE.

Fintech is in the spotlight this week: 6 fintech startups raised investment across markets, there was one major acquisition, a strategic partnership in Egypt, and regulatory developments in Saudi. Also, BCG’s report on female wealth in the Middle East.

Investments & Acquisition

Shezlong, the Cairo-based mental health platform, raises investment from AAIC (Singapore), and angel investors. Amount undisclosed.

Syarah, the Saudi-based car marketplace, raises bridge-funding from Impact46. Amount undisclosed.

FlexxPay, Go Rise, Now Money, and Sarwa, raise investment from Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)’s USD 100 million fund created in 2019. Investment amount undisclosed.

Tajir, Pakistan-based B2B ecommerce marketplace, raises USD 1.8 million from Pioneer Fund, Golden Gate Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Karavan VC, VentureSouq, and angel investors. Tajir is a graduate from Y Combinator.

Ajar, the Kuwait-headquartered property management platform, raises pre-series A funding from SBX Capital, 500 Startups, and Seed Partner, bringing its total funding to date is USD 7.5 million.

Tabby, the Dubai-based buy-now-pay-later startup, raises USD 7 million in funding led by Raed Ventures and joined by MSA Capital and Arbor Ventures.

Wahed, a US-headquartered global sharia-compliant investment roboadvisor, raises USD 25 million led by Wa’ed Ventures and BECO Capital, joined by Cue Ball Capital, Dubai Cultiv8, and family offices in the GCC.

Qatar SportsTech Accelerator, powered by Startupbootcamp, graduates 9 startups: Golee, Torq Labs, HiQ nano, Wisify, MoodMe, 12th Player, ClassTap, Fridai, and Sponix.

Payguru, Turkey-based mobile payment platform, has been acquired by TPAY Mobile, the UAE-based FinTech firm, that started in Egypt. Amount undisclosed and subject to regulatory approval.

Sector News

Wethaq Capital Markets receives a Financial Technology Experimental permit (FinTech ExPermit) from Saudi’s Capital Market Authority (CMA). Wethaq announced an investment round last week from Vision Ventures. (via twitter)

Ajlan & Bros Group, a Saudi family holding group, launches Sandsoft Games, a video game studio, to be established in the UAE, Saudi with partners in China.

HSEVEN, the Morocco-based startup accelerator, launches three incubation and acceleration programs: “Rise-Up,” “Re-Start,” and “Disrupt”. The first two programs will provide grant money and loans to startups, while Disrupt will provide seed funding.

Halan, the Egypt-based ride-hailing platform for two and three-wheeler vehicles, announces partnership with Fawry, Egypt-based online payment provider, that will enable customers to pay bills and donate online via the Halan platform. This comes at an interesting time when Careem is pushing further their plans to become the region’s superapp by expanding the platform’s features.

Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) begins testing blockchain for domestic transfers starting with the USD 13.3 billion bank-stimulus they announced last week.

Research & Reports

Finastra publishes ‘Open Banking and Collaboration: State of the nation survey 2020’, which covers banks in 7 global markets including the UAE and their readiness for open banking (full report).

According to a BCG report, women in the Middle East control USD 786 billion in wealth with 40% of that concentrated in Saudi and the UAE where women control USD 326 billion in assets. This represents 13% of the total wealth in the region. (full report)

Further News

Joi, India’s leading telecom and digital services platform and part of Reliance Industries, raised USD 1.2 billion from Mubadala Investment Company at an equity value of USD 65 billion.

AGC Networks Limited, a UAE-based enterprise solutions integrator, acquires Fujisoft, and subsidiaries in the UAE. Subject to regulatory approval.

Photo credit: ZQ Lee/Unsplash.