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UAE among global top 20 e-governments, Carrefour opens e-commerce center in Dubai, and Tadawul trades derivatives | The Middle East Weekly Roundup

The Saudi Ministry of Tourism issues the first license for touristic rental of private property, similar to Airbnb.

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More than USD 48 million has been invested in 49 MENA startups in the past 5 weeks. Egypt leads with 15 investments followed by UAE with 14 investments, however the Saudi leads in value of investments at USD 18.3 million. Competition is still rising between the leading e-commerce players in the UAE. The Saudi government is proactively regulating and incentivizing technology platforms in tourism and digital payments.

Investments

KoolSkools, the Morocco-based online learning and school management platform, raises USD 400,000 (MAD 4 million) from Maroc Numeric Fund II and an angel investor.

Thobi, the Saudi-based D2C “thoub” platform, raises USD 665,000 (SAR 2.5 million) in seed funding led by ABN Ventures (Abunayyan Holding’s VC investment arm).

Fatura, the Egypt-based B2B e-commerce and digital lending platform, raises a 7-figure seed round led by Disruptech, an Egypt-based fintech investor, with the participation of EFG EV, Cairo Angels.

Eve, a UAE-based 3D events platform, raises USD 1 million in seed funding from Wiz Holdings, Dubai, and angel investors.

Aumet, a US-headquartered B2B marketplace for healthcare providers and distributors, raises USD 1.25 million in seed funding from Right Side Capital, TechStars, and Plugs and Play. Aumet lists California as their HQ, however, their founding team is distributed between Jordan, France, and the UAE, and the founders are Arab.

Vivense, a Turkey-based online furniture platform, raises USD 130 million in investment from Actera Group, a private equity firm. Actera Group’s investment bought the shares of existing investors Earlybird Venture Capital and FJ Labs.

Sector News

The Saudi Ministry of Tourism issues the first license for touristic rental of private property (similar to Airbnb) to Gathern, a Saudi-based platform. This activity was not regulated previously, but as the Kingdom continues to expand its investments in Tourism, it’s likely we’ll see more licenses, regulations, and incentives.

Noon.com expands “Daily”, their grocery delivery service, to Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, and launches “Noon Lockers” in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah as a free alternative to home delivery. Neither service was officially announced on their platforms but appeared in the app.

Majid Al Futtaim inaugurates its largest Carrefour online fulfillment center in Dubai that spans 5,000 square meters and was built in five weeks in response to the growth of online shopping during the pandemic.

Research & Reports

United Nations publishes “United Nations E-Government Survey 2020” that benchmarks the development of digital government services across the world. The UAE is amongst the top 20 countries in the world according to the e-government development Index (eGDI), and the leading in MENA, followed by Bahrain and Saudi. UAE also ranked 16th globally on the Online Services Index (OSI) (full report)

Policy

Dubai Government announces new and extended stimulus targeting impacted sectors and SMEs, details of the stimulus and their extent on free-zones are not clarified yet.

Saudi’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) enforces on all parcel and mail delivery service providers to provide digital payment solutions at their retail outlets and to at-home deliveries.

Tadawul, Saudi’s stock exchange, announced it will launch trading in derivative products by August 30th.