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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - CAIRO: Despite global headwinds, the Saudi venture capital market ended the year 2023 on a positive note recording multimillion-dollar investment deals.
The Kingdom’s Riyadh Valley Co., the investment arm of King Saud University, recently committed to an undisclosed amount of investment in IMPACT46 Fund III.
Founded in 2019 by Abdulaziz Al-Omran, IMPACT46 is a Saudi-based asset management and advisory firm specializing in alternative investment opportunities with a focus on technology startups ranging from growth stages to pre-initial public offerings.
“We are pleased to have Riyadh Valley’s support for our company fund, which focuses on investing in technology companies providing innovative solutions to address social and economic challenges across various sectors. We reaffirm our commitment to seeking exceptional opportunities that deliver substantial returns to our investors. Our previous funds enabled us to invest over SR650 million ($173.3 million) in more than 35 technology startups,” Al-Omran, said.
We are pleased to have Riyadh Valley’s support for our company fund.
The fund is designed to invest in both local and global startups, with an emphasis on sectors such as fintech, e-commerce, software as a service, and other emerging tech domains.
Aramco’s Prosperity7 invests in China’s Cispoly
Prosperity7 Ventures, the $1 billion growth-stage investment fund of Saudi energy and petrochemical giant Aramco, recently took the lead in a $14 million series B funding round for Cispoly, a femtech company based in China, according to a report by Tech in Asia.
Founded in 2020 by Liu Pei, Cispoly specializes in developing advanced methylation detection tools. The equipment is used for the early detection of gynecological tumors, as well as tests for reproductive microbiota.
Cispoly intends to utilize the funds to enhance its research and development capabilities and accelerate its global expansion.
This investment in Cispoly marks Prosperity7 Ventures’ second significant venture into the Chinese healthcare market, following its investment in Fourier Intelligence which is known for its development of exoskeleton robotics products designed for physical rehabilitation.
Singapore’s VC fund expands to KSA
Golden Gate Ventures, a prominent Singapore-based venture capital fund, has recently expanded its global footprint by establishing an office in Saudi Arabia, as part of the firm’s broader expansion plan targeting the Middle East and North Africa region.
Since its inception in 2011, Golden Gate Ventures boasts a diverse investment portfolio, having invested in over 90 companies across three continents. Notably, this includes nine unicorns and two companies that have successfully gone public with IPOs.
Golden Gate Ventures’ commitment to the MENA startup ecosystem has been evident since 2018. The firm has actively engaged in the region, supporting the burgeoning startup landscape through partnerships with various entities, including Endeavour.
Egypt’s MaxAB merges with Kenya’s Wasoko
Egypt-based business-to-business e-commerce company MaxAB announced a merger with Kenya-based Wasoko. While terms of the deal have not been disclosed, this merger represents a significant consolidation in the African tech landscape.
The amalgamation of MaxAB and Wasoko creates a formidable entity in the African e-commerce market.
The combined operations of these two companies will cater to a customer base of over 450,000 merchants, serving an estimated 65 million consumers across eight countries, namely, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
MaxAB, co-founded in 2018 by Belal El-Megharbel and Mohamed ben Halim, has made significant strides in the B2B e-commerce domain by connecting suppliers with traditionally underserved retailers.
The company has also ventured into fintech with the launch of MaxAB Payments in 2021, enabling local merchants to facilitate various customer payments. In 2022, MaxAB further expanded its services by introducing LAAS, which supports retailers in delivering business-to-consumer e-commerce shipments.
Wasoko, founded in 2013 by Daniel Yu, stands as the largest e-commerce platform serving informal retailers across Sub-Saharan Africa. The platform offers a way for retailers to restock their businesses, offering a mobile app for ordering with the convenience of free same-day delivery.
UAE’s fintech in deal with Skywards
UAE fintech company Qashio formed a partnership with Emirates and flydubai’s loyalty program, Emirates Skywards.
This collaboration will allow Qashio’s customers to convert their Qashio Points into Skywards Miles, adding significant value to their spending experience.
Qashio, established in 2021 by Armin Moradi and Jonathon Lau, offers a spend management solution that simplifies tracking expenses and conducting payments through virtual corporate credit cards.
Tameed closes series A funding
Saudi Arabia-based Tameed, a digital lending platform specializing in Shariah-compliant financing for small and medium enterprises, completed a series A funding round, raising SR56.75 million led by Alromaih Group.
The platform aims to use this investment to bolster its growth and cater to the increasing demand for its digital lending products which are fueled by the robust expansion of Saudi Arabia’s economy under various Vision 2030 programs and giga-projects.
We are pleased to have Riyadh Valley’s support for our company fund.
Tameed, CEO and co-founder
Licensed by the Saudi Central Bank in January 2023, Tameed previously operated within the apex bank’s regulatory fintech sandbox.
The company claims to have already provided over SR400 million in funding to SMEs, further supported by a mobile app that has garnered 50,000 downloads and achieved a growth rate surpassing 400 percent.
“The coming years are promising for the growth of the Kingdom’s economy, and we in Tameed are keen on meeting the needs of SMEs by offering innovative funding products,” Mohammed Al-Omayyer, CEO and co-founder of Tameed, said.
He also noted the platform’s recent introduction of Performance Bond financing for projects, broadening its support for SMEs involved in major national projects.
Omar Al-Romaih, CEO of investments at Alromaih Group, reflecting on the funding round’s success, stated: “The results of the funding round reflect our belief in this opportunity and the sector, and we look forward to seeing Tameed continue its growth and expand its investment and funding opportunities to meet the needs of SMEs for financing and meet the demand for funding gap created by Vision 2030 programs and projects which is estimated to be SR300 billion by 2030.”
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