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Zoom opens in Saudi Arabia, Amazon.sa rebrands, and a lot of fundraising across the region | The Middle East Weekly Roundup

Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) invested USD 5 million in Shorooq Partners’ Bedaya Fund.

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Getting things delivered is a “new norm” that will be remaining with us long past the global lockdown, and we can see that across investments and sectors news this week. Our reports section is backed with reports on the state of connectivity, IT, and mobility globally and the region.

Investments & Acquisitions

Wosul, a Saudi-based cloud retail management system, raises early-stage investment from angel investors. Amount undisclosed.

Sakneen, the Egypt-based real-estate platform, raises USD 150,000 in pre-seed funding from Y Combinator.

OTO Courses, the Egypt-based online tutoring startup, raises a six-figure bridge round from AUC Angels and Changelabs. (OTO Courses is listed in our Edtech startups in MENA infograph

Oasis500 announces investment of up to USD 100,000 into 8 startups: AlHaq, TakalamTech, Jordilight, FITELY, Pi Pharma, ByrdByte, Quiq Claim, and Tanda.

Clip the Deal, the UAE-based coupon platform, raises a seven-figure Series A round led by Optiscape Network Holdings.

Shgardi, the Saudi on-demand delivery startup, raises a “seven-figure” investment led by Mad’a Investment Company.

Chefaa, an Egypt-based on-demand medicine delivery platform, raises a seven-figures pre-series A from 500 Startups, Vision Ventures, Womena, and undisclosed others.

Zedny, the Egypt-based Arabic-language learning platform, launches with USD 1.2 million pre-seed investment from undisclosed angel investors.

Rizek, the UAE-based home and beauty services marketplace, raises USD 3.5 million in seed funding from Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), E-Tech Investments, Rozana Investments, and undisclosed others.

Kotobna, an Egypt-based self-publishing platform, acquires 40% of Autograph, the Egypt-based e-commerce platform for book merchandise. Kotobna is now valued at USD 3 million.

Jazan Energy Co. acquires 80% of Fish Day, a Saudi fresh fish delivery platform, for USD 265,000 (SAR 1 million).

MagicCube, the US-based cybersecurity startup, raises series B funding from Bold Capital, Epic Ventures, Sony, NTT Data, Azure Capital, Visa, Luqman Weise Capital, and CVentures—Egypt’s CVC arm of Commercial International Bank. Amount undisclosed.

Orca Bio, a US-based biotech startup, raises USD 192 million Series D funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and joined by 8VC, DCVC Bio, ND Capital, Mubadala Investment Company, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Kaiser Permanente Group Trust, and IMRF.

Sector News

Bedaya Fund, the second fund by Shorooq Partners, secures a USD 5 million commitment from Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO). Both firms are Abu Dhabi-based. Bedaya Fund is a USD 40 million fund and has been active since 2019.

Dubizzle, the UAE-based platform of OLX, launches a self-serve advertising platform for SMEs.

Zoom plans to open an office in Saudi and a data center in the MENA region.

Nisnass, the UAE-based e-commerce platform by AlTayer Group, will shut down on July 6th.

Souq.com launches their Amazon.sa website and branding in Saudi. Souq rebranded to Amazon.ae in the UAE in May 2019.

Noon.com launches NowNow, a 60-minute on-demand grocery and essentials delivery platform.

Justclean, the Kuwait-headquartered laundry marketplace, launches the on-demand courier service “Justdeliver.”

TransferGo, the UK-based international remittances platform, expands its service to 11 new markets including Saudi. The service is also available to Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain. Interestingly, it is not available in the UAE yet.

Saudi’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) announced it has granted new parcel delivery licenses to six companies: Saee, Jones Transport, Aymakan, Almajdouie Logistics, Mkhdoom, and Fetchr, which received a license for domestic and international delivery. The total number of licensed last-mile delivery platforms in Saudi is now 22 companies.

Research & Reports

Crowd Analyzer releases “State of Social Media 2020” report with insights from Egypt, Saudi, UAE, Kuwait.

WIPRO publishes a report on the “State of IT Infrastructure 2020” which included Middle East professionals in the survey.

Jawraa publishes “MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) Insights in the GCC” whitepaper.

Ericsson releases their June 2020 “Ericsson Mobility Report”, which estimates that 5G will represent 10% of mobile subscriptions in MENA by 2025, reaching 80M subscriptions. In 2019, 23% of mobile internet subscriptions were to 4G networks across MENA and 37% were to 3G networks.

Photo credit: Omar Elsharawy/Unsplash.