Top 10 MENA startup fundings in H1 2019
Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG)
While not a startup itself, Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) is the parent company of Dubai-based property platform Bayut, as well as Pakistan’s leading property portal Zameen.com, Bangladesh's Bproperty.com, and Morocco's Mubawab.ma which it acquired in 2018.
With the latest funding, EMPG plans to further strengthen its position as the leading player in the market by investing in their tech platforms. It is currently present in 40 cities across UAE, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Spain, and Romania.
It received this half's largest funding from US-based family investment fund KCK Group and eight other investors, including Exor Seeds, an investment fund associated with Exor with a capitalisation of about $24 billion.
Yellow Door Energy
UAE-based leading solar developer, Yellow Door Energy has doubled its revenue since 2018, with an impressive customer portfolio that includes multinational corporations in consumer goods, retail, logistics, among many others sectors.
Essentially, Yellow Door Energy provides solar leases and energy savings contracts to commercial and industrial businesses to support them in reducing energy costs, improving of power reliability and lowering carbon emissions.
With Abu Dhabi commencing operations of the world's largest solar project, Dubai building the world's most concentrated solar farm, and Saudi Arabia signing the deal of its own solar plant project, there is immense potential for renewable energy sector in the GCC. We believe Yellow Door Energy, will continue to see more interest from the local investment community.
The funding validates our company's vision of powering emerging economies reliably, efficiently and sustainably. It enables us to scale our energy platform from the Middle East to Africa and Asia. We aim to build 300 megawatts of solar in the next 2 years, benefitting hundreds of businesses and the broader economy. We are excited that prestigious global investors believe in our company's credibility, commitment and customer-centric offerings."Jeremy Crane, CEO & Co-Founder of Yellow Door Energy
The plan is to be in at least two or three more African cities by the end of the year.Mostafa Kandil, the co-founder and CEO of Swvl
After raising both Series A and B in 2018, Swvl recently raised $42 million in Series C, showcasing the tremendous growth it has seen and will see in the future. While it will face tougher competition with Uber and Careem joining hands to surpass Swvl in Egypt and neighbouring countries, it seems Swvl will indeed give them tough competition on its home turf.
Discount e-commerce platform competing with Amazon and noon in the region, Awok has its own courier service fleet that allows it to control the quality and logistics of its business. With the latest funding, it plans to expand to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, enhance the technology behind its platform, as well as increase its range of product offering to cater to the region's growing demands.
"The e-Commerce space in the region is set for exponential growth in the coming years. Awok.com is ideally positioned to capitalise on that growth and further establish itself as one of the leading platforms for buyers and sellers in KSA and overall MENA region.Alejandro Carbon, chief portfolio officer of Al Faisaliah Ventures, one of the three investors in Series A
Often labeled as Wikipedia of the Arab world, Mawdoo3 has consistently provided credible Arabic content, becoming the world’s first Arabic website with more than 45 million unique users every month, who browse its online library. The platform has more than 6000 expert professional contributors who produce unique articles and video content across a wide range of topics including health, business, religion, cooking and many more.
The founders announced that the latest funding will be used for launch of Ujeeb, a digital Q&A platform like Quora; allowing its users to receive detailed answers from experts in Arabic. According to Menabytes, the platform is already live with over 200,000 answers. The team is working to reach 10 million answers within a year of its launch.
Led by Wamda capital, this was Jamalon's largest funding round till date. The platform offers more than 9.3 million Arabic and English titles from 30,000 publishers.
With the recently raised funds, the e-marketplace for books plans to increase the reach of Arabic books to the international market, as well as expand its print-on-demand service, that can print more than two million titles in under five minutes per book.
One of the fastest growing EdTech startups, Noon Academy has over 2 million registered students. It started off as a simply a test prep website, but has now grown to become a social learning platform, enabling peer study groups for students to study with friends and compete with one another, as well as request for top tutors from its base of 1500 and growing.
With students spending over 60 minutes on average per visit, far more than the industry average of 14 minutes, Noon Academy has immense potential to grow.
A specialised online marketplace offering 'Everything For Mums' started by following an asset light model by not managing inventories directly, but by simply connecting customers to partner inventories and providing customer support—middleman operations at its best.
With the recent funding Sprii plans to accelerate its expansion across the Middle East as well as invest in technology and recruitment to offer better customer service. Read her conversation with SME10X regarding the latest funding that has put in the top funded startups in the first half of this year.
“The first six months of 2019 have exceeded our expectations. We have launched a new application, opened our operations in Saudi and have now finalised our funding round early, which will allow us to continue to deliver on our promise to our loyal customers.”Sarah Jones, founder of Sprii
The leading financial comparison website for everything from car insurance to credit cards, flights to phone plans, YallaCompare plans to use the recently raised funds to expand its presence in the region. Currently, it accounts for more than 75 per cent of online insurance transactions, according to The National.
While there are many laundry companies in the region, Just Clean ventured to organise the marketplace, bringing more transparency and ease to people through its app.
Previously known as Masbagti, the Kuwaiti startup is now available in Bahrain and UAE, and is planning expansion to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.