CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s venture capital landscape has profoundly influenced the regional ecosystem, with startups attracting investments from the Kingdom’s speculators.
One of these startups is Emirati-based SpiderSilk, which raised $9 million from Aramco’s venture capital arm Wa’ed Ventures with participation from Saudi-based STV and the UAE’s Global Ventures.
Founded in 2019 by Rami El-Malak and Mossab Hussein, SpiderSilk will mainly utilize its funding to expand to the Saudi market by relocating its headquarters to the Kingdom.
The company offers organizations with an artificial intelligence-powered cyber defense platform and exposure detection technologies.
“While the Gulf Cooperation Council region is a key technology market, there is hardly any intellectual property being built in the region for the region and beyond, and we believe that it is increasingly important to achieve self-reliance in this sector for the benefit of the public and private organizations,” El-Malak said.
Set to establish its Saudi headquarters in 2024, SpiderSilk aims to generate high-skilled employment opportunities in advanced technology sectors including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and research and development.
Aramco Ventures leads $10m funding round for Singapore’s REDEX
Aramco Ventures, the investment arm of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, has taken the lead in a $10 million series A funding round for Singapore’s REDEX, a renewable energy certificate service provider.
The strategic investment is designed to catalyze REDEX’s expansion beyond Asian borders. Notably, the funding round also attracted a diverse group of new backers from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Japan.
Established in 2018 by Jen-Wee Kang, REDEX offers an all-encompassing suite of REC management solutions.
Saudi edtech startup Noon raises $41m in series B funding
Saudi Arabia’s educational technology startup Noon closed a SR153 million ($41 million) series B funding round co-led by Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures and RAED Ventures.
Offering a peer-to-peer social learning app, Noon aims to utilize the funding to enable artificial intelligence-powered solutions to personalize its learning experiences further.
Our goal is to introduce unparalleled engagement levels within the classroom while providing students with the opportunity to learn from exceptional educators.
Mohammed Al-Dhalaan, Co-founder and CEO of Noon
“As we extend our presence into physical classrooms, our goal is to introduce unparalleled engagement levels within the classroom while providing students with the opportunity to learn from exceptional educators,” said Mohammed Al-Dhalaan, co-founder and CEO of Noon.
Founded in 2013 by Al-Dhalaan and Abdulaziz Al-Saeed, Noon has gained traction in large markets, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, and Pakistan.
The company claims to have more than 12 million registered users, with the aim of expanding that figure to 190 million across the aforementioned markets.
Noon also aims to use the capital to boost its global expansion strategies within the next two to three years.
“We’re proud to double down on our investment in Noon and co-lead its series B round. The company has built an exceptional platform experience for students and teachers that delivers new approaches to learning and has demonstrated the ability to scale in various markets across multiple geographies,” Omar Al-Majdouie, founding partner at Raed Ventures, said.
Moreover, Fahad Alidi, managing director at Wa’ed Ventures, expressed his trust in Noon’s position to significantly grow.
“Noon has become one of the very few emerging companies to establish a lasting impact on the regional startup ecosystem by being both a successful business model in a typically challenging sector and a true agent of change,” he said.
The funding round also saw participation from notable investors, including SVC, STV, and Riyadh Valley Co. Other participants were Endeavor, Sanabil 500, Qyem Development Holding, and Nahlat Alarab Holding.
Saudi-based Tabby achieves unicorn status with new funding round
Tabby, Saudi Arabia’s “buy now, pay later” platform, has become the first fintech firm in the Middle East and North Africa to have achieved “unicorn” status after securing $200 million in a series D funding round.
A unicorn rating is achieved when a business reaches a valuation of $1 billion without the need for a stock market listing.
In a press release, the company shared that its valuation has reached $1.5 billion, ahead of its anticipated initial public offering in the Kingdom.
The latest funding has bolstered Tabby’s financial standing, enabling it to cater to the demand for its flagship BNPL solution, which oversees over $6 billion in annualized transaction volume.
“Tabby set out with a purpose to reshape financial services — one that’s fair and responsible — and with this investment, we can advance our mission across Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” noted Hosam Arab, CEO and co-founder of the company.
Initially established in the UAE, Tabby recently shifted its headquarters to the Kingdom in line with its IPO plans.
Moving to Saudi Arabia was a strategic step for Tabby, as 80 percent of its users were from the Kingdom.
The financing was led by Wellington Management, one of the world’s leading independent investment management firms, besides existing investors like STV, Mubadala Investment Capital, PayPal Ventures and Arbor Ventures.
Saudi Arabia’s VMS invests in two Egyptian startups to accelerate their Saudi expansion
Saudi Arabia’s venture studio Value Maker Studio invested in Egypt’s OBM Education and Awfar to accelerate their expansion into the Kingdom.
Founded in 2020 by Omar El-Barbary and Ezz El-Din Farag, OBM supports students with career guidance.
Awfar, on the other hand, is a software as a service platform for commerce businesses. It was established in 2020 by Abdelrahman Galal.
Morocco’s ORA Technologies raises $1m in a pre-seed round
Morocco’s homegrown super app, ORA Technologies, recently announced the successful closure of a $1 million pre-seed funding round, backed by local private investors.
Established in 2023 by Omar Alami, along with six other co-founders, the ORA app boasts a diverse range of functionalities.
From facilitating peer-to-peer transactions and hosting an e-commerce platform to offering on-demand services, the platform also integrates chat functionality and social networking features.
In a bid to expand its services, ORA aims to introduce a digital wallet. Since its inception, the app has witnessed 140,000 downloads.
Egypt’s Almouneer raises $3.6m seed round
Egyptian healthtech startup, Almouneer, has successfully secured a $3.6 million seed funding round from Global Ventures, Proparco, and Digital Africa via the Bridge Fund, and was further supported by Wrightwood Investments, among other international financiers.
Established in 2017 by Noha Khater and Rania Kadry, Almouneer is a digital platform dedicated to assisting patients suffering from chronic illnesses.
The funds raised are earmarked for the advancement of the patient-focused platform to treat pre-diabetes, diabetes and obesity.
UAE’s fintech NOW Money closes funding round
UAE-based fintech NOW Money secured an undisclosed funding round led by Dubai’s entrepreneurs Mark Nutter and Nicolas Andine.
Founded in 2015 by Ian Dillon and Katharine Budd, NOW Money facilitates peer-to-peer remittances and aims to utilize the funding to further expand its product offering.