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MENA Watch: Region’s start-ups secure major funding deals

Tiye Angels and KAUST Innovation Ventures are among the group of prominent regional investors who have contributed to the pre-seed round of funding for Egypt-based HealthTech InCurA

The funding landscape for startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is booming, which is greatly stimulating the region’s entrepreneurial scene.

This week, pre-seed and seed investments have been successfully drawn by early-stage enterprises in a variety of places, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Tunisia, which has accelerated their development and expansion.

The German venture capital firm VC FoodLabs led a funding round in which Saudi Arabia-based food tech start-up Barakah successfully raised an undisclosed sum, representing the business’s first investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Barakah, which was co-founded in 2022 by Rabah Habiss and Abdulaziz Al-Saud, aims to reduce food waste by allowing bakers, supermarkets, and restaurants to sell their leftover inventory through its app.

This latest funding round, which comes after a USD 1.5 million seed round in September 2023 headed by the Hambro Perks Oryx Fund, is expected to hasten Barakah’s growth both within Saudi Arabia and into adjacent countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Food Labs’ founder and managing partner, Christophe Maire, offered the following assessment of the collaboration: “Barakah’s model benefits consumers, retail partners, and the environment. We are assisting a talented group that wants to use the best IT talent in Saudi Arabia to grow throughout the GCC and succeed internationally.”

Since its founding, Barakah has expanded to six Saudi cities and sold more than 400,000 meals that would have otherwise been thrown away.

Receiptable In Bahrain Increases The Pre-Seed Round

With support from Hambro Perks and the Al Waha Fund of Funds, Bahraini fintech start-up Receiptable has secured a pre-seed funding round from HP Spring Studios.

Receiptable, which Chris Purdie founded in 2022, seeks to send digital receipts straight to customers’ mobile devices to close the information gap that exists between banks and retailers.

The business plans to use the additional funding to expand its platform, hire more staff, and launch a new service in collaboration with a top Bahraini bank.

“Receiptable is positioned to enhance the post-purchase retail experience, making our existing banking apps a daily touchpoint, and considerably cut the billion paper receipts produced yearly in Bahrain,” Purdie stated, expressing gratitude for HP Spring Studios’ support.

“This investment is a powerful stimulus for tech innovation and talent development, right here at our Bahrain headquarters. It’s not just about the money. We have a wonderful chance to take advantage of HP Spring Studio’s local network and banking and fintech professionals,” he continued.

Egyptian Venture Closes Massive Financing Deal

Acacia Ventures sponsored a six-figure bridge fundraising round for Egyptian health tech Pharmacy Marts.

The B2B digital marketplace, which was founded in 2021 by Ahmed Kadous and his co-founders, links pharmacies and medical suppliers and makes it simple to obtain medications, supplies, and cosmetics.

According to Kadous, “There is a shortage of medication in Egypt because the distribution of medication is not smooth or reliable, but rather plagued by inconsistent availability of products across pharmacies and geographical areas.”

“In the end, this affects the patients who require the medication and complicates a pharmacist’s job. We are thrilled to have Acasia Ventures on board because of their strong network of advisors and pharmaceutical industry expertise, as well as their strong presence in the African markets we intend to enter,” he continued.

Having funded a total of USD 2 million so far, Pharmacy Marts is on a strong growth trajectory, covering 20% of the Egyptian market through over 200 suppliers.

Another Egyptian Venture Hits The Jackpot

Tiye Angels and KAUST Innovation Ventures are among the group of prominent regional investors who have contributed to the pre-seed round of funding for Egypt-based healthtech InCurA.

InCurA, a biomedical technologies company founded in 2021 by Wessam Sarhan and Moussa Salem, focuses on bleeding management solutions.

This capital round will assist InCurA’s objective to democratise healthcare access and fuel its expansion efforts. It also marks a significant milestone for Tiye Angels, Egypt’s first network of private individual investors.

“We are extremely happy to declare our initial investment in InCurA,” stated Christine Sedky, the Network Manager of Tiye Angels.

“The firm has a strong team, owns the intellectual property rights to its products, has partnered with manufacturers and license providers, and has a clear plan for filling a significant gap in the medical device industry. We have faith in InCurA’s ability to expand and the beneficial effects it will have on the economies of Egypt and the surrounding areas,” she continued.

About USD 600,000 Was Raised By ClusterLab

The CEO of InstaDeep, another business in the same industry, Karim Beguir, contributed USD 600,000 to the pre-seed round of funding for ClusterLab, an artificial intelligence start-up with its headquarters presently in the United Arab Emirates. The start-up was founded in Tunisia.

In 2020, ClusterLab was founded by Haithem Kchaou and Chehir Dhaouadi to provide cutting-edge artificial intelligence and natural language processing tools.

According to Kchaou, “Our technological know-how extends beyond the current wave of large language models.”

“We were early adopters of NLP, revolutionising content summarisation well before it was popularised,” he continued.

The business plans to use the additional funding to support its R&D efforts, paving the way for future advancements in the AI space.

“There is a lot of promise in the upcoming months. We’re excited to demonstrate to the public the breadth of our technological achievements, especially with the widespread application of our AI solutions,” Dhaouadi said.

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