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Zynga buys Peak Games, Samsung invests in Egypt, and a lot of liquidity from the Saudi central bank | The Middle East Weekly Roundup

Saudi Arabia’s e-commerce market is up 14% from last year at USD 21 billion, according to e-commerce platform ZID.

Murat Sahin/Pexels

The market is buzzing with new energy—investments in startups across markets, a stellar acquisition in gaming, corporates and startups get into strategic partnerships, amazing insights into the Saudi market, and strategic growth in private equity.

Investments

AUC Angels, the Egypt-based angel network, announced an investment in two Egypt-based startups: pre-seed investment in Mogassam, a dental 3D printer manufacturer, and seed investment in Furnwish, an AR furniture startup. Amounts were not disclosed.

Wethaq Capital, the Dubai-based Sukuk securities startup, raised an investment from Vision Ventures. The announcement was made via twitter, amount undisclosed.

iNurture Education Solutions, the India-based ed-tech startup, raised USD 4 million in funding from Kimera, Dubai-based family office.

Jahez, the Saudi-based food delivery startup, raised USD 36.5 million in a Series A round led by Impact46 and joined by undisclosed corporate investors. This is the biggest investment deal in Saudi to-date, but also the second biggest round in MENA for 2020 so far.

Insider, a Turkey-headquartered marketing tech platform, raised USD 32 million in series C funding from Sequoia Capital, Riverwood Capital, Endeavor Catalyst, and Wamda Capital. Insider has operations and clients in the GCC.

Peak Games, the Turkey-based game developer, was acquired by Zynga for USD 1.8 billion.

Sector News

Mr Usta, the Dubai-headquartered services marketplace, announced a strategic partnership with Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) to provide after-sales services to customers of furniture retailers in their portfolio.

Tabby, Dubai-based buy-now-pay-later startup, announced a strategic partnership with DHL Express to provide alternative for cash-on-delivery.

Eventtus launched Eventtus Virtual Platform to help people host online events.

DP World, the Dubai-headquartered global port operator, joined the TradeLens platform, a blockchain-powered digital container logistics platform, co-developed by AP Moller, Maersk, and IBM. DP World is preceded by Saudi Customs and Agility who joined the platform in early 2019 and 2018.

Research & Reports

Almosafer, the Saudi-based travel booking platform, ran a survey during May across Saudi to measure consumer sentiment towards travel in the upcoming months. 45% are somewhat confident and 28% fully confident to travel as soon as restrictions are lifted, with the majority opting for car travel or short-haul destinations as their primary means for the short-term, more inside.

Zid, the Saudi-based e-commerce enablement platform, released a “Complete Guide to e-commerce adoption” in Saudi with insights into the market size and stats covering April-May 2020:

The report is in Arabic so we translated the key stats:

*Saudi e-commerce market is estimated at SAR 80 billion (USD 21 billion), up 14% from last year;

*64% of Saudi shop online at 2-3 times a year, with an average basket size higher than that of the average US and Chinese consumer;

*60% of consumers shopping online are between the ages of 25-44;

*87% of consumers prefer online payments to COD (Cash on delivery);

*SAR 35 billion (USD 9.3 billion) was spent online last year;

*Around 13 million consumers are using e-commerce in Saudi;

*Online shoppers increased by 48% since the pandemic broke out;

*The median annual spend on e-commerce for a Saudi consumer is SAR 4,000 (USD 1,000);

*65% of e-commerce website browsing takes places on mobile.

Post-pandemic:

*Consumer adoption in Dhahran (Eastern province) grew by 260%;

*Online sales of home appliances and books grew 5-fold, while online sales of accessories and jewelry, as well as food and beverage grew 3-fold, personal and health care grew 2-fold;

*Repeat purchases increase by 29% and order cancellations went down to 6%;

*Average basket value increased by 25%;

*There were 335,000 orders fulfilled in Riyadh alone in April/May 2020, representing 55.7% of national sales.

Union Media published “Brand Suitability and the Power of Context at a time of a Crisis.” The report tracked consumer attitudes towards advertising during a crisis across EMEA including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar during mid-April to May.

Digital14 published a “Smart Cities: The Power, The Risks, The Response” assessment of UAE’s cybersecurity readiness and prospects. Report link here.

Policy

UAE’s Ras Al Khaimah Government launched an integrated Stimulus Package for SMEs.

Further News

Samsung announced plans to invest USD 84 million in the Egyptian tech market over the next 5 years, starting with USD 23 million to launch a new computer screen production line by August 2020.

Investcorp, the Bahrain-based alternative investment manager, closed a USD 354 million fund to invest in European senior secured loans.

Natixis, a French investment bank, launched a corporate and investment banking office in Riyadh.

New Frontier Capital Management Hong Kong (Japan) and Blue Apple Partners (Abu Dhabi) partner to establish the Blue Apple New Frontier Healthcare Fund, a USD 300 million fund to invest in the medical and healthcare sector in MENA.

Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) injects USD 13.3 billion in the Saudi banking system to increase the liquidity and enable banks to provide credit facilities.

Photo credit: Murat Sahin/Pexels.