18th November 2023 Funding and Investment Update
1. Saudi Shopping and Payments Platform Tamara Secures $250M in Debt Financing.
Tamara, the leading shopping and payments platform in Saudi Arabia and the GCC, has announced that it has secured debt financing of up to $250 million, bringing the total value of Tamara’s financing to nearly $400 million. This financing consists of additional premium debt of up to $200 million and the financing led by Goldman Sachs brings the platform’s preferred debt to $350 million, in addition to a $50 million mezzanine tranche supported by Shorouq Partners. The new funding will help drive strong and continued demand for the main BUY-Now, Pay Later service and will enable Tamara to invest further in the development of new products and solutions. Tamara’s mission is to enable individuals to go about their daily lives seamlessly along with radically transforming shopping, payment and banking services. Founded by entrepreneur Abdulmajeed Al-Sikhan and his partners Turki Bin Zarah and Abdulmohsen Al-Babtain, Tamara now employs more than 500 people, operating from its headquarters in Riyadh with offices in the UAE, Egypt, Germany and Vietnam.
2. KSA’s IT Startup AJRAS Closes a $28M Seed Funding.
AJRAS Saudi Information Technology Company has closed a USD 28 mn seed funding round between equity and debt-equity with the participation of Madarek Global, which aims to help the company expand its business focused on facilitating commercial property leasing. AJRAS was established in 2022 and started work in the second quarter of 2023, aiming through its platform to reconcile small and medium enterprises and landlords, as it allows company owners to submit a rental request to AJRAS, after which it studies the application and rents the place from the owner in the event of approval and pays the annual rent to him, and then works to collect it from tenants in the form of regular monthly payments, thus achieving according to its statement a high occupancy rate for the owner, and also provides the tenant with rental solutions that help manage cash flows and business expansion.
3. COGNNA Saudi Arabia Secures $2.25M in Seed Funding Round Led by IMPACT46.
COGNNA Saudi Arabia announced that it secured investments worth $ 2.25 million during a seed funding round led by IMPACT46 with the participation of Vision Venture funds, Faith Capital and a group of investors, to be the first Saudi startup specialised in the field of detecting and repelling cyber threats to close an investment round of this type in the Middle East. COGNNA, a company specialising in the field of cybersecurity, is one of the local startups that joined the first edition of the cybersecurity accelerator program launched by the National Cybersecurity Authority in August 2022 to enable local startups to develop their products, services and solutions in the field of cybersecurity. COGNNA provides innovative products and solutions in cybersecurity technologies, which contribute to reducing renewable cyber threats through artificial intelligence and advanced analysis to process data and detect threats in systems and customer networks. The company stated in its statement that the closure of the investment round is an essential achievement in the company’s journey, which has worked to build innovative solutions that understand the needs of the user in the Middle East and North Africa and contribute to the rapid detection and repelling of renewed cyber threats by the legislation issued by the National Cybersecurity Authority and international standards in this regard, and that these innovative solutions will result in bridging a gap in cybersecurity technologies for its customers in the region.
4. Saudi FinTech Company LYNK Raises Undisclosed Funding Led by Investors’ Mine.
LYNK Saudi Arabia announced the closure of a successful funding round led by Investors’ Mine following a strategic partnership with Al Fozan Holding and Ramla Holding. This partnership aims to open new horizons in the financial technology services sector by developing a working mechanism in line with the local market’s needs, enabling access to local commodities for economic entities and executing transactions in an automated manner compatible with Islamic Sharia. LYNK launched in 2023 from Mine’s BIM Ventures studio for business development and company building, headquartered in Riyadh. LYNK is working on creating technical solutions to support financial entities in facilitating Islamic Murabaha operations by automating the buying and selling of commodities in an instant manner that is compatible with the provisions of Islamic Sharia. Since its launch, LINK has executed Murabaha transactions worth more than SAR 100 million, with a capacity of 15,000 transactions per day with a trading value of more than SAR 5 billion, and the time to execute buying and selling to and from the commodity markets takes less than a minute. LYNK aims to expand locally and internationally by introducing additional fintech products that serve financial institutions, which will contribute to the development of the financial sector in general and the fintech sector in particular, in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
5. Saudi Enterprise Firm Value Maker Studio Invests Six-Figure Funding in Egyptian Edtech Startup Akhdar.
Egyptian edtech startup Akhdar has received six-figure dollar funding from Saudi enterprise studio Value Maker Studio to expand its presence in the Kingdom. Akhdar offers a unique service in the form of summaries of Arabic audiobooks, starting as a YouTube channel in 2016 and rapidly evolving into an entrepreneurial path, leading to the launch of its platform in 2020. Since then, Akhdar has gained users’ attention with over 2 million app instals and a user base of 1.5 million individuals from 174 different countries. Through the Akhdar platform, users can access 15-minute audio summaries of their book favourites, providing a convenient and time-efficient way to access educational content, and the platform also includes more than 2,500 audio materials. VMS Projects Studio, a collector of talent, resources, tools and transforming innovative ideas into thriving businesses, will launch the Bridge program early next year to help Egypt’s tech startups seamlessly expand into Saudi Arabia. Through this, I invested a six-figure amount in Akhdar.
That’s all for today’s funding update. Stay tuned for more updates on the MENA startup scene, and remember to subscribe to our newsletter or browse our archives for more news and analysis.
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