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Press Dossier    By Date   24/03/2024 Early-stage startups across the MENA region secure funding rounds

Arab News, Sun, Mar 24, 2024 | Ramadan 14, 1445

​​Early-stage startups across the MENA region secure funding rounds

Saudi Arabia: Startups throughout the Middle East and North Africa region are experiencing a surge in funding, significantly energizing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Across diverse locales such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Tunisia, early-stage companies have successfully attracted pre-seed and seed investments this week, propelling their development and expansion. 

Saudi Arabia-based food tech startup Barakah successfully raised an undisclosed amount in a funding round led by German-based VC FoodLabs, marking the venture capital firm’s inaugural investment in the MENA region.  

Co-founded in 2022 by Rabah Habiss and Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Barakah is dedicated to combating food waste by enabling restaurants, bakeries, and groceries to sell their excess inventory via its app.  

This recent financial boost is set to accelerate Barakah’s expansion within Saudi Arabia and into neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council markets, following a $1.5 million seed round in September led by the Hambro Perks Oryx Fund. 

Christophe Maire, founder and managing partner at Food Labs, commented on the partnership, saying, “Barakah's model is beneficial for customers, retail partners, and the planet. We are supporting a brilliant team with ambitions to expand throughout the GCC and achieve global success with top Saudi tech talent.” 

Since its inception, Barakah is now operational across six Saudi cities and has sold over 400 thousand meals that would have otherwise been discarded. 

Bahrain’s Receiptable raises pre-seed round 

In Bahrain, fintech startup Receiptable has garnered a pre-seed funding round from HP Spring Studios, backed by the Al Waha Fund of Funds and Hambro Perks.  

Founded by Chris Purdie in 2022, Receiptable aims to bridge the information gap between banks and retailers by providing digital receipts directly to consumers’ mobile phones.  

The company intends to leverage the new funds to attract talent, enhance its platform, and debut its service in partnership with a leading Bahraini bank. 

“With the support from HP Spring Studios, Receiptable is poised to enhance the post-purchase retail experience, make our existing banking apps a daily touchpoint, and significantly reduce the billion paper receipts produced annually in Bahrain,” Purdie said. 

“This investment is not just a financial boost; it’s a potent catalyst for tech innovation and talent cultivation, right here in our Bahrain base. It also presents a great opportunity for us to utilize HP Spring Studio’s regional network and access to banking and fintech experts,” he added. 

Egypt’s healthtech Pharmacy Marts secures six-figure bridge round 

Egyptian healthtech Pharmacy Marts has secured a six-figure bridge funding round led by Acasia Ventures.  

Established in 2021 by Ahmed Kadous and his co-founders, the B2B digital marketplace connects pharmacies and medical suppliers, facilitating easy access to medicines, products, and cosmetics.  

“The distribution of medication in Egypt is not reliable or smooth, but rather plagued with the inconsistent availability of products across pharmacies and geographical areas, leading to a shortage in medication,” Kadous said. 

“This ultimately impacts the patients who need the medication and makes the life of a pharmacist rather difficult. We are excited about having Acasia Ventures on board, given its great presence in African markets that we are planning to enter, as well as their solid network of advisors and experts in the pharmaceutical industry,” he added. 

With coverage of 20 percent of Egypt’s market and over 200 suppliers, Pharmacy Marts is on a rapid growth trajectory, having raised a total of $2 million to date. 

Egyptian healthtech InCurA secures pre-seed round 

Egypt-based healthtech InCurA has raised a notable pre-seed round from a consortium of regional investors, including Tiye Angels and KAUST Innovation Ventures.  

Founded by Wessam Sarhan and Moussa Salem in 2021, InCurA specializes in biomedical technologies, focusing on bleeding control solutions.  

This funding round, a milestone for Egypt’s first female private individuals investment network Tiye Angels, will support InCurA’s mission to democratize healthcare access and fuel its expansion efforts. 

“We are thrilled to announce our first investment in InCurA,” said Christine Sedky, Tiye Angels Network Manager.  

“The company has a talented team, holds intellectual property rights for its products, has established licensing and manufacturing partnerships, and has a clear vision for addressing a critical need in the medical devices market. We are confident in InCurA’s potential growth and the positive impact it will have on the Egyptian and regional economies,” she added 

ClusterLab secures $600k in a pre-seed round 

ClusterLab, an artificial intelligence startup originated in Tunisia and now headquartered in the UAE, has raised $600,000 in a pre-seed round from investors including Karim Beguir, CEO of InstaDeep – another company operating in the sector.

Co-founders Haithem Kchaou and Chehir Dhaouadi launched ClusterLab in 2020 to offer advanced AI and natural language processing technologies.  

“Our expertise in technology goes beyond the current wave of large language models,” says Kchaou. 

“We've been pioneers in utilizing NLP to revolutionize content summarization well before it became mainstream,” he added. 

The fresh capital is earmarked for bolstering the startup’s research and development initiatives, setting the stage for further innovation in the AI domain. 

“The coming months hold immense potential. We’re eager to showcase the depth of our technological advancements to the public, particularly through the large-scale deployment of our AI solutions,” Dhaouadi said.

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