The first Moroccan group buying website MyDeal.ma announced investment of 2 million Moroccan Dirhams (~$240,000) by the Maroc Numeric Fund (MNF) in March. With this round of funding, MNF has joined the founding shareholders of the project, Moroccan entrepreneur Karim Zaz and the American group buying website Social Living, which has invested via its French subsidiary Dealissime.
"Since the launch of Mydeal.ma, we have been looking to raise a round of funding," says Mounia Rkha, Associate Director of Mydeal.ma. One year after its creation, the website is becoming a leader in the Moroccan group buying market, with 100,000 members across Morocco and generated over 12 million Dirhams in revenues in 2011.
This startup is currently facing major competition due to the number of daily deals sites of that continue to multiply in Morocco, and MENA more generally, including MarocDeal.com, which launched in 2010, before MyDeal launched, but after it had begun development. Others include Hmizate.ma, and Superdeal.ma, which both also came online in 2011. As many in the field will acknowledge, a daily deal site needs investment to scale quickly, and Mydeal.ma is no exception. This round of investment will enable it to accelerate its development and work to build its customer base further in order to better differentiate itself.
The reason MNF focused on MyDeal as opposed to its competition was its firstmover quality in terms of product development, and the power of its team, says Ali Bassit, the General Director at MNF managing company MITC Capital. "CEO Karim Zaz, the former CEO of Wana, the third telecommunication company in Morocco, had worked for Living Social, and Associate Director Mounia Rkha worked for a major European VC fund for almost three years and is one of the few people here in Morocco with real internet experience."
Thus far, Mydeal.ma, which started in Casablanca, has worked to expand into Rabat, Marrakech, Mohammedia, Fes, Tangier, and Agadir by building the internal team and investing in more aggressive marketing campaigns to better reach its target audience. It also plans to target other markets within the Arab World soon.
This investment brings Maroc Numeric Fund's total amount of investment to date to 19 million Moroccan Dirhams. As MNF invests in young technology companies (generally less than 3 years old), the distinguishing factors that they primarily look at are the team around the project and the degree of innovation of technology, said Ali Bassit,.