MENA Investment and funding round-up for February 2020
Investment and funding have been reasonably robust this month and this could be partly because of the STEP Conference earlier this month. But as this article on Venture Beat articulates, funding is a journey not an event. Here are some of the funding stories that caught our eye:
Vezeeta: $40M Series D Round, led by Gulf Capital and joined by existing investor STV
Vezeeta, Middle East and Africa’s leading digital healthcare platform secured US$40 million in its Series D round led by Gulf Capital, the Middle East’s largest and most active alternative asset management firm. The round had strong support from existing investor, Saudi Technology Ventures (STV), who led Vezeeta’s Series C round in September 2018.
Raising more than US$63 million in funds since its founding in 2012, Vezeeta’s cohort of other high-profile investors also includes BECO Capital, Silicon Badia, Vostok New Ventures, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures and Endeavour Catalyst.
Vezeeta has grown to become a mainstream digital leader of healthtech solutions, enabling patients to search, book and review the best doctors and medical services in just one minute. Currently operating in 50 cities across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon, the platform generates 4 million annual appointments, tripling year over year.
Sellanycar.com raises $35M
UAE’s SellAnyCar.com has secured a funding of $35 million, led by Saudi Arabia’s Sanabil Investments, a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF); Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), a sovereign financial institution owned equally by the six GCC states; and Olayan Financing Company. The three companies join earlier investors including iMENA Group, a venture capital investment company, and the CEO and Founder of SellAnyCar.com, Saygin Yalcin.
The new capital will be used to accelerate growth throughout the GCC and SellAnyCar.com is now expanding into Saudi Arabia with plans to employ more than 300 Saudi nationals and open 100 branches throughout the Kingdom. In 2019, SellAnyCar.com crossed a new milestone in surpassing AED1 billion (US$272.2 million) in total gross merchandising value (GMV).
Middle East’s KBW Ventures invests in Memphis Meats for the second time
Middle East-based, KBW Ventures has invested in Memphis Meats for the second time following the company’s initial investment in 2017 in Memphis’ Series A round led by DFJ. Memphis Meats, a leading cell-based meat, poultry and seafood company, announced the close of a $161 million funding round. KBW Ventures has chosen to back Memphis once again for its role in global food security and the role it will play in reducing animal agriculture, one of the biggest contributors to the climate change crisis.
This round marks the largest funding moment in the history of the cell-based meat industry and will enable Memphis Meats to reach a historic milestone of bringing its products to consumers. In total, the company has raised more than $180 million.
Memphis Meats expects to use the funds to build a pilot production facility, continue to grow its world-class team, and to hit a major milestone of launching products into the market. The company has not yet announced a date for product launch and is working with regulatory agencies to ensure a timely and safe market entry.
The Chefz has raised undisclosed six figure seed funding
Riyadh-based, gourmet food and sweets delivery platform, The Chefz, has raised seed funding in a round led by Saudi’s Vision Ventures with the participation of Impact 46, a relatively new Saudi VC, and Riyadh-based startup consultancy firm, Ocean X. The size of the investment was not disclosed but the team has confirmed that it is a six-figure (USD) deal.
The platform currently offers its services in Riyadh and uses a hybrid fleet that comprises of its own drivers and “highly trained” freelancers.
Co-founder, Abdulrahman Almarshad confirmed that this new funding will enable the team to expand to new cities in the Kingdom starting with Dammam and Jeddah; expanding its marketing, as well as investing in the development of additional product and services.
UAE InsurTech Addenda raises six-figure bridge financing
Addenda, Middle East’s first insurance blockchain platform, has closed a six figure bridge round, by participating in AB Accelerator program powered by Arab Bank and funded through the venture capital fund, AB Ventures. This marks the second round of funding for Addenda, after its recent seed round announced in November 2019. Addenda plans to use the funding to explore reconciliation smart contracts in other insurance lines of business, deploy a suite of fraud identification tools, and capitalize on data analytics.
Founded by two brothers, Walid and Karim Dib in 2018, Addenda utilizes the power of the blockchain to reconcile payments between insurance companies. In a few months since its platform launched, Addenda managed to onboard more than 7 of the UAE’s top insurance companies onto its platform. Well over 15,000,000 AED in motor accident claims have already been transacted on the platform, and several more insurance companies across the GCC are expected to join the blockchain platform in 2020.