The first quarter is usually an active one for venture capital (VC) investments in the Middle East and with the top five closed before the Coronavirus pandemic. The top five investments amounted to $173 million with the UAE once again accounting for most of that.
Food technology garnered the most amount of funding, a trend that is likely to continue given the rise in demand for e-groceries at the moment. It remains to be seen how active the investment community will be in the second quarter of this year, but we are expecting an overall slowdown.
The top five disclosed VC investments were:
1 - Kitopi
The UAE-based cloud kitchen platform Kitopi, raised $60 million, closing its Series B round.
The round was led by Knollwood and Lumia Capital with further participation from new and existing global investors, namely BECO, CE-Ventures, GIC, Rise Capital, Reshape, Global Ventures and Wilshire Lane Partners.
2 - Vezeeta
Egypt-based healthcare platform Vezeeta raised a $40 Million Series D round. The funding round was led by UAE-based Gulf Capital, alongside further investment from existing Riyadh-based investor Saudi Technology Ventures (STV), which previously led Vezeeta’s Series C round in September 2018.
Vezeeta’s other investors included BECO Capital, Silicon Badia, Vostok New Ventures, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures and Endeavour Catalyst.
The company said that it now plans to roll out new products, such as an online pharmacy, as well as ‘tele-health’ services across its existing footprint and new markets.3
4 - Nana
Saudi Arabia-based online grocery app Nana's raised $18 million in its Series B investment round. Investors in the round included Saudi Technology Ventures (STV), Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), Wamda, Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Impact46 and Watar Partners.
Nana is an online grocery marketplace platform that powers hypermarkets and helps them showcase their inventory to millions of users.
The company aims to deliver a hundred thousand orders every month to Saudi-based buyers by the end of 2020.
5 - iMile
iMile, a UAE-based last mile delivery company, raised $10 million in its Series A round, led by a China-based venture capital firm that specialises in the logistics industry and will help the startup roll-out its services to Egypt, Kuwait and Morocco in its push for regional expansion.
The company also plans to open a new research and development centre in the region.
5 - Okadoc
The UAE-based doctor booking platform Okadoc closed a $10 million Series A round, following a $2.3 million seed round in 2018.
The latest fundraising round was the largest healthtech Series A and will be used to promote its telehealth offering, including virtual consultations as well as pre-consultations and follow-up appointments for patients as well as fuel expansion to the GCC.