The Middle East is quickly becoming one of the most prolific entrepreneurial hubs in the world. In 2017, the Arab startup ecosystem became even stronger after several impressive funding rounds for local startups. Due to the support of venture capital firms, angel investors, and other entities from around the globe, a number of companies have stood out for their fundraising efforts this year. Following are seven of the Middle Eastern startups that raised the most capital in 2017:
Delivery startup Fetchr made headlines in 2017 after it secured a staggering $41 million in a round of Series B funding. While New Enterprise Associates Inc., led this fundraising round, Fetchr also garnered the attention of other local investors such as Iliad Partners, Majid Al Futtaim Holding, and Venture Souq.
Together, these entities helped Fetcher obtain the capital that it needed to facilitate growth across the Middle Eastern region and around the globe. Prior to its Series B funding round, the startup only had a presence in the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Aside from geographical expansion, Fetchr plans on using its funding to support improvements in proprietary technology.
In March 2017, Souqalmal announced that it had completed a Series B round worth $10 million. The startup, which is best known for its price comparison services, completed this round with the help of the Riyad TAQNIA Fund in Saudi Arabia. Other backers included GoCompare and the UAE exchange.
With this funding, Souqalmal aims to enhance its current technology and engage in more marketing campaigns. The startup has also set its sights on expansion. Looking to increase its lines of business, Souqalmal aims to reach audiences in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain before ultimately spreading throughout the rest of the Arab region.
Souqalmal has also initiated partnerships with GoCompare and the UAE Exchange designed to bring in more funding. These firms will contribute both the technology and consumer audiences that the startup will need for expansion.
Altibbi is another Middle Eastern startup that completed a successful round of Series B financing in 2017. Led by DASH Ventures and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), this round of financing brought the startup $6.5 million in funding. Altibbi reached this amount with the help of anonymous contributors and strategic investors such as RIMCO Investments and TAMM.
Since its inception in 2010, Altibbi has provided Middle Eastern audiences with medical information and access to physicians on-demand. Using its funding, the startup is looking to broaden its already extensive library of over a million pages of medical information and deepen its influence across the Middle East. With this assistance, Altibbi will be better prepared to improve health care delivery in the region.
Known across the Middle East for its innovative salon booking software, Shedul is another startup that achieved a funding victory in 2017 after securing $6 million from a Series A round. Headquartered in Dubai, the startup makes it easy for local salons to manage their operations by offering a platform that allows them to track point of sale (POS), customer appointments, and other daily processes.
MEVP played a key role in Shedul’s round of funding, with additional investments coming from Lumia Capital and BECO Capital. Although the startup’s founders made few announcements about their plans for the funding, they did express interest in expanding the company’s operations. Improvements such as these would only further bolster the success of Shedul, which garnered more than 40,000 clients in over 120 countries within its first two years of operation.
5. Pure Harvest Smart Farms
An agribusiness startup based in Abu Dhabi, Pure Harvest Smart Farms made history in 2017 by completing the biggest round of seed investment in the Middle East. With a total of $4.5 million in seed investments, the startup surpassed a previous pre-seed round in which it earned $1.1 million. Pure Harvest completed its seed round following investment from global angel investors, technology partners, and a government-supported investment fund.
In response to concerns about food security in the Middle East, Pure Harvest has created technology that makes it more sustainable to farm in a desert climate. Using controlled growing environments, the startup makes is possible for produce of all kinds to grow even during the hottest times of the year.
In September 2017, Saudi Arabian startup Foodics announced that it had raised $4 million from a Series A round of funding. Two local venture capital firms, the Riyadh Taqnia Fund and Raed Venture, were key to the success of this funding round, which was the first for the startup. With these new investments, Foodics will be able to increase its presence in the Middle East and possibly expand into the European market.
Since its inception in 2014, the startup has provided a comprehensive tablet-based POS system to local restaurants.
7. Now Money
An up-and-coming startup based in Dubai, Now Money is the first company of its kind to provide mobile banking services to people with low incomes. In 2017, this groundbreaking startup attracted the attention of global investors, who altogether contributed $1.46 million in support of it.
Now Money took in significant investment from venture capital firms in both Dubai and the United States. Additional funding came from the Women’s Angel Investor Network and other undisclosed supporters.