The participation of international investors has also increased exponentially. By the end of the year, the number of international investors like Global Founders Capital, Y Combinator, 500 Global and even Sequoia Capital had more than doubled since 2020.
1- England- Dubai
UAE-based digital English-teaching platform Englease.com raised $3.4 million in its latest funding round backed by major Silicon Valley players.
Founded in 2019, Englease.com offers 24-hour online English lessons led by bilingual tutors offering their own accredited program in the UK. Students simply take a skills assessment test before being granted unlimited access to live lessons with English tutors.
After a 4-year consecutive growth in industry funding, funding for EdTech startups based in the MENA region has increased by 525% since 2018.
Students pay a one-time fee to access unlimited live group lessons or select their individual tutoring option for up to a full year, significantly reducing the cost of synchronous education. The global ESL market reached a record 1.72 billion learners in 2021.
2- Arcab- Dubai
Arcab, a Dubai-based start-up and tech-based bus aggregator, has raised an undisclosed sum in a funding round.
Arcab allows fleet owners to earn more money by increasing the utilization of their vehicles. The company works with over 40 operators, including Europcar, Avis and Dubai Taxi Corporation, with over 3,000 buses in their supply pool.
The brand plans to use the funds to build, maintain and scale the technology infrastructure that facilitates the multifaceted marketplace.
The startup will also focus on activities related to scaling operations, building the brand, and building a sales and marketing engine to fuel the expansion.
The USP of the brand lies in its technological activation which allows a fleet operator to reduce downtime, avoid manual control, optimize the fleet and increase profits.
3- Lean- Saudi
Sequoia Capital has made its first investment in the Gulf region by leading a funding round for Lean Technologies, a Saudi fintech whose founders include the son of the kingdom’s former oil minister, Khalid Al-Falih.
Lean, which enables businesses to access banking data and make payments, raised $33 million.
Established in 2019, Lean claims to have amassed dozens of major clients and has offices in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cairo and London. She intends to use the profits to grow her team and expand further in the region.
The Saudi company is benefiting from what it sees as an open banking transformation underway in the Middle East. Businesses use its platform to connect to their customers’ bank accounts and make instant transfers.
4- WaffarX- Cairo
Egyptian cashback marketplace WaffarX has raised an undisclosed multi-million dollar funding to help it grow its user base and expand its geographic presence. The round was led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Lobby Capital and included former investor A15.
WaffarX uses advanced technology to distribute cashback, helping shoppers save on every dollar spent. The startup’s secure channel helps brands deliver cash back to consumers, build brand loyalty and allow customers to monetize their own data.
5- ExpandCart – MENA
ExpandCart, a leading e-commerce platform in the Middle East and North Africa, secured $2.7m in pre-Series B funding round
Founded in 2016, ExpandCart is one of the largest e-commerce platform builders in the MENA region with customers from over 40 countries and a customer base of 25,000 merchants who have managed to reach over $850 million in GMV through the ExpandCart platform from its current major marketplaces. , including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
The new funding round is expected to fuel ExpandCart’s growth in current markets while focusing on maximizing R&D, technology and new product development to ambitiously serve 1 million merchants over the next three years in the MENA region.