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FinTech has taken the top spot by number of deals in both 2018 and 2019

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2019 saw 75 FinTech deals take place in MENA, amounting to $80M in total funding. Total FinTech deals in the MENA region topped 70 in 2019: 2019 saw 75 deals take place, an increase of 56% from 2018. $80M was invested in those FinTech startups in 2019, an increase of 82% compared to the $44M invested in 2018.

Key drivers of FinTech adoption include increased smartphone and mobile internet penetration rates, as well as customer attitudes towards traditional banks: smartphone and data penetration rates are high in more developed MENA countries and are increasing rapidly in more developing country, with a population that is open to trying FinTech solutions by other corporations than banks, including technology corporations.

FinTech is a key industry for many government and corporate initiatives: governments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, among others, have launched several FinTech initiatives to spur the industry, including funds, accelerators, sandboxes, special licenses, and more. Investors, especially accelerators such as StartupBootcamp, have been another key driver in the increase of investments in FinTech startups.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) remained the top destination for FinTech funding: the country accounted for 43% of all deals and 61% of total funding amount, followed by Egypt and Lebanon, respectively.

2019 MENA FinTech Venture Investment Report Banks and other corporations are increasingly entering the foray: banks, such as Emirates NBD and Mashreq Bank, have launched their digital-only banks, as well as other initiatives to penetrate the FinTech market.

STC, the Saudi telecom company, has launched its own digital wallet STC Pay, while retail and leisure conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim has acquired Dubai-based wallet startup Beam to integrate into their digital omni-channel strategy.

Payments & Remittances was the top vertical by number of deals and total funding: the vertical accounted for 40% of all deals that took place in 2019, while Wealth Management came second with 16% of all deals.

InsurTech vertical came in second in terms of total funding in 2019, accounting for 33% of total, with Payments & Remittances taking the lead at 37% of total.

Early stage saw a decrease as a percentage of total deals: Early stage, which includes Angel, Pre-Seed, Seed, and Pre-Series A rounds, accounted for 77% of all FinTech deals in 2019, down 8% from 2018.

This is largely due to the increase in FinTech-specific accelerator programs such as StartupBootcamp FinTech Cairo and StartupBootcamp FinTech Dubai. 2019 saw 61 institutions invest in MENA-based FinTech startups: 75% of these investors had not previously made investments in MENAbased startups, and 25% of these institutions were from outside of MENA



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AUB Students Made a Paddle Board From Cigarette Butts

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AUB has gone tobacco free and we’re gaging how the first two months have be The reveal! Join us at the AUB Beach on Tuesday, September 17th at 10:30 a.m. opening with an address by Dr. Fadlo R. Khuri, President of AUB and H.E. Mr. Fady Jreissati Minister of Environment in the presence of the AUB community and the press.

Get on board a greener future and join us for the launch of the first SUP standup paddleboard shaped by @p_a_surfboards in collaboration with Recycle Lebanon, made of recycled cigarette butts collected from AUB over the last year in the bins designed by alumni architect Adrian Muller. This project was supported by the AUB Neighborhood Initiative and the AUB Tobacco-Free Initiative.

Ride the wave of change with Recycle Lebanon and watch a one-of-a-kind sea cleanup from AUB Beach to Dalieh of Raouche with @surfshacklebanon. 
Dive in deeper and register to our ecodesign workshop with @charbelsamuelaoun! Rethink the medium in social space to create interventions targeting system change. Open to all participants 3 hours a week each Tuesday at AUB starting at 4:30pm, free to the public upon cv and letter of interest neighborhood@aub.edu.lb courses start October 1 thru December. en for the users without our behavior change interventions! Cigarettes have a love story with polution, the world’s most littered item, each flick of plastic filter tossed into nature has programed our throw away society. Our air polution is striking at the top of the charts.

Lebanon is the world’s 3rd largest cigarette consumer per capita and 94% of our water at source is contaminated with microfibres.

Ecocide drum roll, whose listening!? We’re upcycling cigarette butts into surfboards and much more!
Why surfboards first? To grab your attention and show our relationship with wind, water, air, soil, breath and the toxic manufacturing of nature’s beloved sport, with contaminated design for failure processes! It is more apparent if we make it out of cigarettes! We will pilot leak proof and use them for in sea clean ups to recycle the garbage floating from Lebanon’s 3 coastal landfills.

From there, we’re also making more products in the EcoSouk
and you can join in the process!
Be on the watch for a range of bins and collection containers and share your butts! Collect them at home and in your favorite hang out spots for us to collect and keep out of the land and sea!

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Kuwaiti Technology Company Transforming GCC Laundry Business Set For Major Growth

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 JustClean says US$3 billion industry set to move almost exclusively online within five years.

The Kuwaiti company building a thriving online marketplace for the US$3 billion laundry industry in the Gulf region today outlined its dynamic expansion plans to bring monthly growth in international markets.
JustClean, established three years ago by Kuwaiti brothers Athbi and Nouri Al-Enezi, has since signed up more than 300 laundry businesses in Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
With a growing tide of people in the Gulf now using the JustClean app to get their laundry done, the technology company says the industry could be an almost exclusively online business in the region within five years.

“We’re looking to sign up at least five more laundries in Kuwait each month for the rest of the year and into 2020 as we expand our logistics operation,” aaid Co-Founder Athbi Al-Enezi today.

“We’re going to be almost doubling the size of our fleet of delivery vans and drivers in Kuwait by the end of the year, and we’re following a similar pattern of growth in Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as well as expanding to markets beyond the GCC.”

Every day, growing numbers of consumers in Kuwait use theJustClean platform to get their laundry done, thanks to a quick and easy process delivering wash and iron, dry clean and many more laundry solutions.
Currently operating in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, JustClean will open for business in Jeddah and Riyadh before the end of the year, with entry into other international markets to follow early next year.

Co-Founder Nouri Al-Enezi said: “The company is three businesses in one, namely a marketplace application, a logistics operation as well as a SaaS (software as a service) business. We’re upgrading what is basically a large and underdeveloped sector through the integration of technology into the daily lives of consumers.

“The laundry business in the GCC regionally is currently worth roughly US $3 billion, with an annual growth of 9%, and it will develop substantially in the next five years. We feel the entire industry will eventually end up online”

Established in Kuwait in 2016, JustClean has revolutionized a traditional off-line service to make it user friendly, convenient and hassle free for consumers, at the same time giving laundry service providers who sign up access to a huge customer base.

Just a year after its launch the company attracted investment byFaith Capital Holding , the Kuwait-based venture capital fund, whose Deputy Chairman and CEO, Mohammad Jaffar, was installed as CEO of the start up.

In February 2019 Faith Capital announced it had closed an $8 million Series A round of financing in the company, enabling its growth across the GCC region, while also expanding the logistics and SaaS (software as a service) arms of the business.

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Localyser partners with AZADEA Group to elevate customer experience

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Localyser, the Middle East’s first online reputation management tool, is proud to announce their appointment as the partner of choice for the F&B brands of AZADEA Group, the region’s premier lifestyle retail company across the MENA region. The group’s most notable F&B brands to be added to Localyser’s portfolio include Paul Bakery & Restaurant, Eataly, New Shanghai, Kosebasi, and The Butcher Shop & Grill across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, and Egypt.

Commenting on this significant milestone for the company, Tarik Qahawish, Founder and CEO of Localyser stated “Our new partnership with AZADEA Group marks a momentous growth in our portfolio and I am extremely proud to be celebrating such a remarkable triumph. To cater to the needs of these multi-location brands, Localyser was established to offer an opportunity to aggregate their reviews at the location level to easily monitor, respond and analyze their reviews. With our industry knowledge and expertise, we are confident that we will work hand in hand with our new partner to further enhance their strategic customer engagement and experience across the region.” Mert Askin, President of Food and Beverage Division at AZADEA Group, stated “Given our wide operations across the MENA region, we are constantly looking for opportunities to further elevate our customer experience. Within our extensive and growing F&B portfolio, this partnership represents a strategic transition for our online operations. While we continue to excel in first-class customer experience on the ground, we want to ensure the same level of standard is being met on our online platforms and Localyser presents this solution. Through our work together, we aim to further improve our online reputation, analyze the data for trends and feedback, and strategically augment our operations in all markets.” 

In the region’s heavily saturated market, the significance of customer reviews and restaurant ratings is crucial for the success of a business. Consumers trust online reviews more than the company’s own description and self-promotion. A 2018 Businesses Consumer Review Survey reported that consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before being able to trust a business. In addition, a global study by Harvard Business School has found a positive correlation between a restaurant’s average rating and sales. It found that a one-star increase in rating leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue. Founded in 2016 and representing the first of its kind in the region, Localyser was established to address this pressing need for a more efficient method for multi-location brands to manage their online reputation. From one comprehensive platform, clients can quickly respond to reviews, analyze the performance of each location and brand, enhance their SEO marketing and digital presence, and engage customers to generate more positive reviews, and ultimately sales. Localyser currently gathers reviews in all languages from a variety of platforms including Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Zomato, Talabat, Foursquare, and Hunger Station. 

Having aggregated 1.5 million reviews to date from both global and regional review sites, Localyser’s current portfolio includes an impressive database of 400 restaurant and entertainment clients across the MENA region with Meraas, Gourmet Gulf, McGettigans and Tarfeeh to name a few. The most recent wins include Eathos, Saleh Bin Lahej and Global Catering Services.  The AZADEA group has been operating across the Middle East & North Africa for over 40 years and currently owns and operates over 50 leading international franchise concepts in fashion & accessories, food & beverage, home furnishings, sporting goods, multimedia, and beauty & cosmetics.

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Saudi-based Dhad raises investment for its Arabic audiobook platform

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Dhad, a Saudi-based audiobook startup has raised investment in a round led by Raed Ventures, the startup told MENAbytes today without disclosing financial details of the deal. The round was also joined by Khobar-based Vision Ventures, 500 Startups and Saudi angel network Oqal.

Founded in 2015 by Manar Alomayri, Dhad (for some reason their website is down atm – Twitter page here) is an Arabic audiobook platform enabling users to listen to different Arabic titles through its mobile apps. The books available on Dhad’s mobile apps are priced at SAR 6 to 22 ($1.6-5.9) each, with some of them being available for free. The startup currently has audiobooks published in the categories of literature, poetry, kids and teenagers, science & Islamic fiction, philosophy and novels.

Manar Alomayri, the founder and CEO of Dhad, speaking to MENAbytes, said, “Most of the Arabic content available online is religious, political or sexual. Its the type of content that divides people. We are trying to do the opposite. We want to bring them together through literature. We want to build content that brings them closer.

Dhad’s content according to Manar is being listened by the audience all across the world including places like Argentina where a large number of Arab Argentines (with Lebanese and Syria) reside and Germany that has received hundreds of thousands of Syrian immigrants in the last few years.

Manar also told MENAbytes that Dhad will be spending a big part of investment on content and technology.

Kitab Sawti, another Arabic audiobook platform, headquartered in Sweden raised $6 million Series A from different investors including Careem’s Abdulla Elyas, last month.

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Weekly Market Outlook

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source CNBC

  • It’s been a rough two years for consumer IPOs, from Snap in 2017 to Uber and Lyft this year.
  • Private market investors are generating all the returns, which is exactly what the experts have predicted for years.
  • Enterprise IPOs have performed much better, but even business software companies are starting to stay private longer.
GP: Trading On The Floor Of NYSE As Uber Releases IPO

Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., speaks on a webcast during the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Friday, May 10, 2019.Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nobody in Silicon Valley should be surprised by Uber’s disappointing IPO. Or Lyft’s.

Experts have been predicting this type of performance for years.

Marc Andreessen called “the effective death of the IPO” in 2014 and said that with high-flying tech companies staying private longer, “gains from the growth accrue to the private investor, not the public investor.”

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures told CNBC the following year that these late-stage IPOs mean “all of the gains are captured among a very small cohort of people.”

In 2016, Alex Mittal of FundersClub wrote that today’s top tech companies are raising gobs of private cash, “leaving the bulk of returns out of public investors’ reach.”

These are the very people that benefit from companies who stay private longer while their valuations skyrocket, because they’re the early investors. They get to ride the valuation up from the millions to $10 billion, $20 billion or $50 billion and then sell their shares to the masses of public market investors who are thirsting for the next Amazon or Google.

They were the ones warning us about the emerging Uber-Lyft problem. And they were right.

Over the last two-plus years, public investors have gotten consumer brands with big names but few gains. Snap has lost about one-third of its value since its 2017 IPO, while Dropbox and Spotify are up just slightly from their debuts last year. Uber and Lyft have dropped. After falling 13% on Friday on a bad earnings report, Pinterest is back to where it was trading in its first few days in April.

“Maybe we made a mistake in having these unicorns sucking in huge amounts of private capital and delaying their IPOs,” said Duncan Davidson, a partner at venture firm Bullpen Capital, in an interview this week. “Maybe we’d be better off having these puppies go public earlier like we used to.”

WATCH NOWVIDEO04:03Public markets good, private markets not so good: Fred Wilson

A good chunk of the capital at the later stage has come from firms like T. Rowe Price and Fidelity, who normally buy public stocks but moved into the private markets in recent years so as not miss out on all the value creation. Since they’re already shareholders it’s hard to get them to buy more when it’s time to take the company public.

“A lot of the prime public investors you’d want in your stock after the IPO already own the stock,” said Iris Choi, a partner at early-stage venture firm Floodgate who previously worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. “What is their incentive to actually buy at the IPO?”

Of course, it’s still too soon to come to any conclusions about where Uber, Lyft and others will be trading months or years down the line. Investors can point to Facebook’s miserable kickoff in May 2012, and the fact that it lost half its value over the next three months before rebounding. Now shareholders who bought in at the IPO and held have seen their investments quintuple. There was plenty of skepticism surrounding Google’s lofty valuation in 2004, but buy-and-holders are up 2,800%.

However, if you’re banking on a similar result from this new class, consider two important factors:

  • Facebook and Google are outliers.
  • They were profitable at the time of their IPOs.

‘Unit economics really do matter’

With the latest crop of consumer offerings, public investors are being asked to pick up where the venture community left off and continue to subsidize cash-burning growth while the companies seek to prove they can morph into sustainable long-term businesses. Investors are balking.

“The big lesson everybody in Silicon Valley learned is unit economics really do matter,” Davidson said.

So what happens from here?

There’s still little pressure for start-ups to change their approach because private capital is so plentiful. SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which has poured billions into Uber, WeWork and other capital-heavy businesses, is only planning to get bigger. Venture fundraising hit a record $55.5 billion last year, according to the National Venture Capital Association, and those firms have to put their capital to work.

In the first quarter of 2019, five “mega-funds” (over $500 million) closed, the NVCA said, and more prominent firms are in the process of raising $1 billion or more. These funds are increasingly willing to put some of their cash into secondaries, buying shares from founders who can lock in a portion of their riches while steering clear of quarterly earnings and the scrutiny of public markets.

“Mega-funds are creating challenges with the oversupply of capital, and it’s reducing discipline in operating companies,” said Robert Mittendorf, who invests in health-tech companies at Norwest Venture Partners. “We forget out here that operating results are more important than the amount of capital raised. We should be applauding operating performance more.”

It’s certainly not all gloom and doom. Enterprise software companies continue to reward public investors.

Videoconferencing company Zoom, which is profitable, has more than doubled from its IPO price in April and has even generated substantial gains for investors who missed the initial pop. PagerDuty has also more than doubled, and Fastly, whose technology helps companies more quickly deliver online content, surged 50% in its debut on Friday.

Zoom PagerDuty Uber Lyft

Source: CNBC

Smaller enterprise companies have had even more success since going public. In January, venture capitalist Jeff Richards of GGV wrote on LinkedIn that 14 of the 20 best performing tech IPOs since 2014 were worth less than $1 billion at the time of their offering. Almost all of them sell to businesses.

But Dan Scholnick of Trinity Ventures says things are changing rapidly. The late-stage investors who previously concentrated their dollars in consumer companies have caught onto the enterprise, where cloud software, developer tools and collaboration technologies are seeing huge adoption and have increasingly predictable revenue models.

Scholnick, who invests primarily in business software and infrastructure start-ups, points to companies like Snowflake ComputingHashicorp and Confluent, which have all raised money at valuations in the billions of dollars. His firm is an investor in data backup start-up Cohesity, backed by SoftBank and valued last year at over $1 billion.

“The private markets for consumer funding developed and got frothy long before enterprise was considered interesting,” Scholnick said. Now that the enterprise has caught up, for public market investors “it’s not going to get any better,” he said. “It’s probably going to get worse because the system is awash in capital.”

— CNBC’s Christina Farr contributed to this report

WATCH: Fastly CEO Artur Bergman on cloud computing

WATCH NOWVIDEO03:58Fastly CEO Artur Bergman on cloud computing

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E-groceries: The fastest growing e-commerce segment

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In the $8.3 billion e-commerce sector in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), it is the grocery segment that has perhaps experienced the most amount of disruption.

Buying groceries either through a website or app is increasingly becoming the norm for many people across Mena as companies like Carrefour, Danube and smaller supermarkets offer their produce direct to the customer. About 30 per cent of users across Mena are now shopping this way. The e-groceries market is currently worth $200 million in the GCC and Egypt, accounting for less than 1 per cent of the e-commerce market and so there is room for rapid growth.

The region is no stranger to food delivery. Apps like Zomato, Careem Now and Deliveroo have normalised search and taps to get food. This restaurant-to-door delivery service is worth Dh12.9 billion ($3.5bn) in the UAE alone with 60 per cent of the population using a food app on their smartphone or tablet. Germany’s Delivery Hero, which counts Talabat, Hunger Station, Carriage and now Zomato in its portfolio of companies in the Middle East can attribute almost half of its $2 billion yearly revenues to this part of the world.

Read more 

https://www.wamda.com/2019/03/e-groceries-fastest-growing-e-commerce-segment

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Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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Harley-Davidson Unveils First Ever Electric Bike

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After years of talk, Harley-Davidson is finally ready to put its LiveWire electric motorcycle up for sale — The green two-wheeler is now available for pre-order ahead of its August debut and it will start shipping with a price tag of $29,799 dollars. That’s a lot to shell out, but Harley is betting that performance and connectivity will seal the deal.

The motor tucked between your legs can take the LiveWire to 60MPH in a brisk 3.5 seconds (complete with a “futuristic” sound), while an H-D Connect service uses LTE to help you remotely check on the status of your bike, get service reminders and find out whether someone is trying to mess with your ride. If someone manages to steal the motorcycle, you can track its whereabouts through GPS.

Watch Video https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/325965

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