Egypt-based public transit tech startup, Swvl has secured USD 8 million in series A funding in an investment round led by BECO Capital with participation of Raed Ventures, DiGAME Investment Company, Silicon Badia, Oman Technology Fund, Arzan VC and Esther Dyson.

According to Mostafa Kandil, co-founder and CEO of Swvl, “the USD 8m round is the biggest Series A round in Egypt and one of the biggest rounds in the Middle East.” With the funding, Swvl will solidify its position in Egypt and establish the company as a global leader in the affordable smart mobility space, offering fixed routes for a fixed flat fare at prices that are up to 80% cheaper than on-demand ride-hailing services, with no surge or peak pricing.
According to Mostafa, “Swvl intends to invest 300 million EGP in the local market in the upcoming 3 years to empower as many micro-entrepreneurs as possible in Egypt and the region and to become one of the biggest job creators in the country.” Swvl is expected to expand beyond Egypt to other emerging markets across the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa region within 2018

Swvl was founded by three young entrepreneurs – Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, who have built a strong team with experience from Careem, Google, Instabug, Uber, Quora, MENA Commerce, Rocket Internet, DeliveryHero as well as finalists of the Global Maths Competitions.

Established in April 2017, Swvl is an Egyptian mobile technology startup, a private premium alternative to public transportation that enables riders heading in the same direction to share a ride during rush hour. Swvl connects commuters with shared rides with a network of high-quality buses that Swvl established and covers now Cairo and Alexandria. Swvl runs its own fixed routes spread across the cities and customers gather at specific pick-up spots along the route to be driven to a common drop-off location. This lowers the overall cost of all these commutes and helps in saving time and money for all parties improving the overall system’s efficiency and making the process convenient and affordable to all stakeholders. By reinventing the daily commute of Egyptians, Swvl is appealing to a new generation of tech-savvy commuters as well as providing a social benefit.

Swvl comes as a solution to a range of problems on both the demand and supply sides. From the soaring fuel prices due to subsidy cuts and Cairo’s and Alexandria’s notorious traffic that costs the country 4% annually of GDP (4X the congestion costs in comparable cities) to the idle fleets of buses that were caused by the slowdown in tourism.

Tamatem has picked up $2.5 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Wamda Capital, with participation from Discovery Nusantara Capital, Raed Ventures, Vision Venture Capital, and Seed Equity Venture Partners. Tamatem Inc, is the leading game publisher in MENA and creates localized versions of popular games so that they resonate better with users in Arabic speaking countries,

The new capital will be used by Tamatem to enable it to close deals with more international game developers in order to capture a bigger market share in MENA. Also, to increase headcount as it bids to attract more quality talent in the region.

That, founder and CEO Hussam Hammo tells, is a long way from the startup’s early days when in 2013 local investors shunned Tamatem, citing its founder’s previous “failure” as co-founder of browser-based gaming studio ‘Wizards Productions’. After some initial success and a seed round, Wizards dead-pooled four years into its existence.

“When the company closed, I kept pushing to establish a mobile games company. The opportunity is huge!” he says. “Arabic is the fourth most spoken language, and almost no content is available on the app stores. I knocked on the doors of every investor I dealt with in the region, but their response was: your previous company failed, you will most probably fail again. I was a single founder and I had no team. I just had a couple of prototypes and an investment deck. I applied to 500 Startups, and they believed in me”.

To put the opportunity in context, Hammo says MENA’s mobile gaming market is “severely underserved” with less than 1 percent of app store games available in Arabic. This creates a huge gap for users who want to consume culturally relevant and localized mobile games. This doesn’t just mean translating the written or spoken parts of a game, but also other creative or story elements so that a title is relatable and will resonate in Arabic speaking countries.

For example, Tamatem localised the racing/drifting game Shake the Metal for the MENA market, including swapping out graphical elements and the soundtrack. The results garnered 5 million downloads.

Explains the startup’s founder: “When users worldwide think about this type of game, they will think about driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis. In the Middle East, users are interested in driving the Toyota Camry or the Hilux. Music was also a big win in our case, instead of using soundtracks, which a lot of the Saudi Arabia audience will consider religiously forbidden, we used a specific type of music that uses body sounds rather than instruments”.

GoldenScent is a Saudi-based beauty ecommerce platform, announced today closing a Series A round led by Saudi Aramco, Entrepreneur Venture and Equitrust along with Wamda Capital and Raed Ventures.

This funding accentuates and reflects the increasing growth of the online beauty market in the GCC region, as Golden Scent mentioned in their statement. The new fund will be used to grow Golden Scent, and allow it to introduce new product categories, along with marketing their new app.

Founded by end 2014, Golden Scent has been growing to become one of the leading beauty online e-shopping platforms in the Kingdom.

“The company has already broken even, achieving a double digit million dollar in revenues. The strong growth as well as the vision and excellence of the founders who built Golden Scent to the number one beauty online destination in the GCC, has led us to invest in this excellent opportunity,” said Omar Almajdouie, managing partner and founder of Raed Ventures.

Trukker is an on-demand truck aggregator network with a focus on connecting smaller operators with shipping firms. It is relying on technology as a key to growth. The company has grown rapidly in 2017 and is preparing to expand its operations in 2018 to the GCC.

Raed Ventures led the Trukker’s first investment round of $1.4m with the participation of RTF, 500Startups and Alshareef Group Holding. The round aims to enhance and expand the company’s business in the region.

“The trucking industry has remained traditional for a very long time, relying on brokers to connect trucking companies and shippers, an uneven process, which is ready for technology-based transformation,” said founder and CEO Gaurav Biswas.

“Our services and products are designed to fill the gap between what the industry requires from an organized transportation company and what services are received from the unorganized small and individual owner-drivers.”

Malaeb, a Bahrain-based startup that lets people book sports venues has raised seed investment led by Raed Ventures with participation from two other Saudi-based VCs, Vision Ventures and Inspire Ventures, and 500 Startups.

Malaeb co-founded by Ahmed AlRawi and Yasser Hadi, Malaeb through its mobile applications help people find and book sports venues near them. The startup currently allows booking of football fields only but has plans to introduce other sports as well. Users can also create teams and challenge others using Malaeb’s mobile applications.

Malaeb that has hundreds of fields registered with them, has helped more than 100,000 players play their favorite sport until now. “I’m very happy to see the progress we reached to so far which led to this investment. Malaeb has grown rapidly in less than a year and a half. We are operating in 4 countries and we helped over 100,000 players play their favorite sport. You can find and book your football field from the app, as it is very difficult to find the suitable field and go through the booking process. We offer hundreds of sports fields to solve that issue,” said Ahmed AlRawi, the Co-Founder & CEO of Malaeb.

Currently available in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi, Malab has plans to expand into other countries of the region.

Malaeb will use the investment to accelerate its growth in GCC and build smart technologies to create unique experience for football players. “This is only the beginning for Malaeb, and we have a long way ahead with plenty of challenges that we’re looking forward to as we reach to our vision to create an unconventional social experience to the way sports are played. We are focusing on further expansion in Saudi and other GCC countries, and other surrounding countries soon after. Introducing other sports is also something in our plans where you can book and play almost any sport.” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s Foodics has closed a SAR 15 million ($4 million) investment round, led by Raed Ventures and Riyad Taqnia Fund (RTF) with the participation of Neseel Holding and 500 Startups Fund. This is the first raise done by Foodics.

Ahmed Alzaini, the cofounder of Foodics, attributed the success of this round to the startup’s fast growth enabled by a high demand for the company’s cloud-based point of sale system, which allows seamless operations management of restaurants and retail stores.

Foodics was founded in 2013 in Khobar by two young entrepreneurs, Alzaini and Musab Alothmani. It provides products that are characterized by their ability to integrate with Internet-based services such as accounting and inventory management systems.

In addition, Foodic’s products can be integrated with the widely available fast growing on-demand food delivery platforms. Foodics systems are offered in competitive packages for retailers and restaurants, said Alzaini.

Omar Almajdouie, Raed Ventures founding partner, said: “We are pleased to see the success of this round and the contribution of highly sophisticated and strategic investors to the company.” The investors will support the company to accelerate the its growth in the two current markets (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) and open new markets in the Gulf and the Middle East.

He added that Foodics success in its industry shows that Saudi companies are able to enter into the complex technological fields that were exclusive to foreign companies.

Hani Enaya, Taqnia’s Investment Head, said that this investment is part of RTF’s efforts to and scale startups in the Kingdom and the region, adding that RTF has a strong conviction that Foodics will become one of the leading companies in the digital transformation of the region.

in 2015, Foodics participated in Badir Program for Technology Incubators in Riyadh then graduated in Q4 2016. Currently it employs 52 employees in 4 cities: Riyadh, Jeddah, Khobar, and Dubai.