June investment round-up: apps and services dominate
Riyadh-based food delivery platform Jahez has raised $36.5 million (SAR 137 million) in a Series A round led by Saudi VC, Impact46. Jahez is now also planning to expand into cloud-kitchens, groceries and non-food ecommerce services. It will use the fresh funds to further develop its tech, launch new products & services, and solidify its position in Saudi Arabia.
Jahez’s food delivery platform offers complete delivery solutions (with the help of freelance couriers) to its restaurant partners in over 20 cities of the Kingdom. Its platform automates the inbound order flow through a single point and provides last-mile delivery service too, to deliver food to customers. It recently expanded its offering to grocery stores and non-food retailers, delivering to their customers as a large number of people stay indoors due to Covid-19 and are make these purchases online.
Wahed, a digital Islamic investment platform, has closed a US$25 million investment round led by Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures (also known as Wa’ed Ventures), a venture capital investment arm of Saudi Aramco. The round included participation from existing investors BECO and CueBall Capital, as well as Dubai Cultiv8, and Rasameel. The funds will be used to fuel the company’s ambitious global expansion, namely in developing the company’s subsidiary in Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Wahed is aimed towards Muslim investors with a Sharia-compliant offering. Wahed was recently awarded the first RoboAdvisory permit by the financial regulator, the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), to launch its platform in KSA. The company has tapped into the rising demand for Islamic and ethical investments, a sector that merges Sharia law and modern investment theory.
Tabby, the UAE-based FinTech startup, has raised $7M to fund its growth and launch its offering in Saudi Arabia. The funding round was led by Raed Ventures with participation from MSA Capital and existing investor, Arbor Ventures.
Tabby helps retailers across the UAE and Saudi Arabia boost their sales by offering their customers flexible payment solutions. Tabby’s Pay Later option offers an alternative to cash on delivery (COD) by allowing customers to purchase products online using only their mobile phone number and email address and requires no pre-registration or credit card to use. Tabby’s Pay in Instalments option gives customers the flexibility to pay for their purchases in multiple, interest-free instalments without requiring a credit card.
Ajar, a cloud service designed for the real estate market, has raised a Pre-Series A funding round of with participation from SBX Capital, 500 Startups, and Seeds Partners, bringing its total funding to $7.5M. The newly raised investment will be deployed to further deepen its platform capabilities, grow the team, and expand its footprint in the MENA region and beyond.
Ajar was one of the earliest PropTech players in the Middle East to focus on solutions beyond property listing. The company was established in Kuwait with the aim of solving the nuance of collecting and paying rent and has since expanded its product to include a full suite of automation solutions.
Syarah, a platform for buying and selling cars in KSA has closed its B round of investment, with participation from Impact46 and an angel investor. The amount is undisclosed. The use of this round will be focused on Increasing sales, expanding to new cities, Increasing inventory of used cars, and Integrating with financial institutions to offer auto financing leases.
Syarah has expanded into offering new and used cars for both dealers and individuals, generating Mojaz car history reports for used cars, facilitating car financing, and has marked itself to be the go-to online channel for both individual sellers and traditional auto showrooms.
RIZEK, the Abu Dhabi-based service marketplace, has raised USD 3.5 million in seed funding from strategic investors from across the region including the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), E-tech investment, Rozana capital. With this fresh injection of capital, RIZEK plans to activate the region’s gig economy with its service marketplace, as well as increase job opportunities for people to earn a service-based income through the portal.
Having launched in February 2020 with the support of its strategic stakeholders and an experienced management team, the start-up has built a strong platform of suppliers and consumers and has delivered thousands of on-demand services with high levels of satisfaction.
Checkout.com has secured a $150 million Series B funding round, tripling the value of the online international payments business to $5.5 billion. The Series B funding was led by Coatue, along with participation from existing investors, including Insight Partners, DST Global, Blossom Capital, and Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, GIC.
The company will use these funds to further strengthen its balance sheet, bringing available cash to over $300m. Checkout.com will also invest in the development of new innovative products, including its upcoming advanced Payouts solution and the capability to accelerate settlement times.
ZoodMall, a cross-border e-commerce marketplace app, has closed a US$10 million Series A funding round. The app is currently operating in Central Asia and the Middle East. Currently, the shopping app is operational in Uzbekistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.
The company will utilize the latest investment to expand its regional presence into Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia in addition to bolstering its proprietary ZoodPay “Buy Now, Pay Later” fintech technology.
Band Industries, a music tech startup dedicated to building the next-generation musician’s toolkit, has raised a $2.8M Series A funding round led by Cedar Mundi Ventures as well as other Lebanese investors, iSME and B&Y Venture Partners. Berytech Fund II (Lebanon) and SOS Ventures (USA) also participated in the round as returning investors.
The investment will contribute towards growing the business reach and product portfolio, while also focusing on its proprietary technology. This will include a strong expansion into music education driven by hardware.