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Startup Wrap — regional venture landscape kicks off 2024 with a flurry of deals

CAIRO: Startups in the Middle East and North Africa are leaving no stone unturned at the beginning of 2024, with a flurry of deals in the second week of the year.

Saudi health tech startup Clinicy has secured substantial investment through a seven-figure Series A funding round, led by Middle East Venture Partners and structured by Gate Capital.

The exact amount remains undisclosed. However, the deal, with the participation of additional investors, is noted as one of the largest in the history of the Kingdom’s health tech sector, as per the company’s press release.

Established in 2017 by Prince Mohammed Al-Faisal, Abdullah Al-Obaid, and Saud Al-Obaid, Clinicy is a Saudi-based tech startup specializing in digital solutions for medical institution management.

Speaking about the impact of this funding, Al-Faisal said: “Clinicy is already making a real, tangible impact on redefining healthcare in Saudi Arabia, enhancing digital experiences for one million patients across the Kingdom.”

He added that the latest investment “underpins our vision to deepen the quality of engagement with medical institutions and patients, ensuring that our technology makes healthcare more accessible, efficient, and user-friendly.”

The capital will be utilized to further Clinicy’s expansion plans across the Saudi market, which is valued at SR7.2 billion ($1.9 billion), according to the press note.

The company’s services aim to address critical issues in the healthcare sector, such as high patient “no-show” rates and administrative inefficiencies, which, the release added, cost over SR3 billion annually.

The company claims that its solutions have led to a 75 percent reduction in missed appointments among its clients.

Saudi AI startup Intella partners with US counterpart

Saudi Arabia’s artificial intelligence startup Intella partnered with US-based Deepgram to build one of the most inclusive AI-powered speech-to-text products in the market.

Founded in 2021 by Nour Taher and Omar Mansour, Intella is a deeptech company that offers AI transcription models for the Arabic market, covering over 25 dialects and sub-dialects with an average accuracy rate of 95.7 percent.

Moreover, Deepgram is a US-based company that utilizes AI to transcribe over 30 languages with a high accuracy rate.

Saudi e-gaming startup Rize.gg raises $430k

Saudi Arabia-based e-gaming startup Rize.gg has successfully completed a pre-seed funding round, securing $430,000 led by a group of angel investors.

Established in 2022 by founder Anmar Alharbi, Rize.gg offers a platform designed to cater to gamers’ needs by providing comprehensive tools for team building, live streaming, and organizing gaming tournaments, making it a one-stop solution for the gaming community.

The newly acquired funds are set to be strategically utilized for the development and enhancement of the Rize.gg platform. This includes expanding its user base and introducing new features aimed at enriching the overall gaming experience.

UAE’s Cargoz raises seed round for Saudi expansion

The UAE-based logistics solutions provider Cargoz has successfully concluded a seed funding round, securing an undisclosed amount.

The funding was led by Saudi-based Nama Ventures and saw participation from RAZ Holding, Innovest Properties, as well as various regional family offices and angel investors.

Established in 2022 by Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony, Cargoz specializes in connecting small and medium-sized enterprises in need of warehousing space with companies that have surplus capacity.

This approach is tailored to optimize logistics efficiency for SMEs. The fresh influx of capital from the seed funding round is poised to play a crucial role in Cargoz’s growth strategy.

The company plans to utilize these funds to launch its operations in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2024.

Saudi logistics firm Nawel raises $1m in seed funding round

Nawel, a logistics firm based in Saudi Arabia, has raised SR3.75 million in a seed funding round led by NOMD Holdings.

Founded in 2022 by Mohamed Balsharaf and Nawaf Al-Shalani, Nawel transforms underutilized spaces in warehouses and retail outlets into efficient storage points and distribution centers.

This strategy proves particularly advantageous for the e-commerce sector, enabling companies to strategically store products and expedite shipping, ultimately enhancing the customer experience.

“This funding round marks a pivotal moment for Nawel, and we look forward to Nomad Holdings becoming a strategic partner on our journey,” said Balsharaf.

Mohammed Al-Khushail, chairman of NOMD Holdings, echoed these sentiments, stating, “We believe that Nawel has the capability to make a significant impact on the future of supply chain management in the region.”

Nawel specializes in establishing delivery centers that operate as parcel sorting hubs, facilitating faster and more cost-effective delivery services. 

This innovation aims to support the rapidly expanding e-commerce industry by ensuring the swift delivery of fast-moving and promotional items.

With this fresh injection of funds, Nawel aims to expedite its expansion, extend its network, strengthen its infrastructure, and advance the development of its unified warehouse management system.

These enhancements are focused on streamlining business operations and enhancing the overall customer experience.

UAE’s Lokalee ink $5.6m in pre-series A

Dubai-based travel tech startup Lokalee has successfully raised $5.6 million in a pre-series A funding round.

This financial infusion was led by Crown Private Fund, with additional investments from three strategic investors with expertise in the hotel and technology sectors.

Founded in 2019 by Samir Abi Frem, Lokalee operates as a business to business platform, enabling hotel guests to browse and book accommodations and various amenities.

The freshly secured funds are earmarked for further development of the Lokalee platform to enhance its offerings and capabilities and to accelerate the company’s expansion into European markets.

Kuwait’s ed tech Baims acquires Egypt’s Orcas

Kuwait-based educational technology company Baims has announced the acquisition of its Egyptian counterpart, Orcas.

Baims, established in 2017 by Bader Al-Rasheed and Yousef Al-Husaini, specializes in offering online pre-recorded courses targeted at university and high school students in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Jordan.

This strategic acquisition will enable Baims to expand its educational offerings by integrating Orcas’ personalized tutoring services into its existing platform.

Orcas, launched in 2019 by Hossam Taher and Amira El-Gharib, is known for providing customized learning experiences to  primary and secondary students, known as K-12,  attending international schools.

UAE’s fintech Maalexi secures $3m

Maalexi founders Azam Pasha and Rohit Majhi. Supplied
Maalexi founders Azam Pasha and Rohit Majhi. Supplied

UAE-based fintech company Maalexi, which focuses on the agriculture sector, has successfully secured $3 million in a pre-series A funding round.

This investment was led by Global Ventures and saw participation from existing investors Rockstart and Ankurit Capital.

Founded in 2021 by Azam Pasha and Rohit Majhi, Maalexi specializes in offering advanced risk management tools.

These include digital contracts, AI-powered inspections, and blockchain-authenticated documentation, which the company asserts lead to increased revenues for customers, improved bankability, and more sustainable business practices.

The recently acquired funds are earmarked for further development of Maalexi’s technology platform and to expand customer acquisition efforts within the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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