MENA startups including XPANCEO, Jisr, and Pearl Semiconductor raised $156 million in October 2023, according to data from Wamda.

Below are the venture funding activities we are tracking in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region this month.

Tabby closes $200M Series D at $1.5B valuation

  • Saudi Arabia-based fintech Tabby raised $200 million in a Series D equity round at a valuation of $1.5 billion, to continue financing consumers and retailers.
  • Founded in 2019 in the UAE by Hosam Arab, Tabby is a buy now pay later (BNPL) startup with over $6 billion in annualised transaction volume. In May 2023, Tabby upsized its debt facility to $350 million after closing a new financing round led by San Francisco-based Partners for Growth (PFG), along with Atalaya Capital Management and CoVenture.
  • The company currently has 10 million users and works with over 30,000 brands, including 10 of the largest retail groups in the MENA region.
  • The latest round is led by Wellington Management with additional participation from growth equity investor Bluepool Capital, in addition to existing investors STV, Mubadala Investment Capital, PayPal Ventures, and Arbor Ventures.

Noon closes $41 million Series B

  • The Saudi-based Edtech startup offering peer-to-peer social learning for students in the MENA region closed SAR 153 million ($41 million) in a Series B funding round.
  • Founded in 2013 by Mohammed Aldhalaan and Dr.Abdulaziz Alsaeed to radically change the way people learn, Noon ranks among the top Edtech startups in the Middle East by the number of registered students and funds raised to date.
  • Since its inception, the platform has served more than 12 million students across Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, and Pakistan, with the aim to support 190 million students across these markets alone.
  • The round was co-led by Wa’ed Ventures and Raed Ventures, with participation from SVC, STV, Riyadh Valley Company (a subsidiary of King Saud University), Endeavor, Sanabil 500, Qyem Development Holding, and Nahlat Alarab Holding, among other strategic investors.
  • Noon will use the funding to enhance its AI-powered solutions to offer personalised learning experiences and fuel its global expansion within the next two to three years.

COGNNA secures $2.25 million in a seed round led by IMPACT46

  • COGNNA, a company specialising in cyber threat detection and response, closed a seed investment round, exceeding $2.25 million, making it the first cybersecurity startup in the Middle East to secure investment in this domain.
  • Founded in 2022 by Ibrahim Alshamrani and Ziyad Alshehri, the startup utilises artificial intelligence and advanced data analysis to detect threats in customers' systems and networks, thus contributing to the mitigation of evolving cyber threats.

Ajras raises $28 million

  • Saudi Arabia-based proptech Ajras has raised a $28 million (SAR 105 million) seed round to help it expand and focus on its core product, which is streamlining the payment process for long-term leases of commercial properties.
  • Founded in 2022 by Muath Aljubailan, Abdullah Al Qarni, Ahmed Al Tamimi, Suleiman Aljarbou, and Suhail Al Tamimi, Ajras offers flexible payment solutions to retail businesses, enabling them to pay their annual rent in instalments and accordingly better manage their cash flow.
  • The seed round was led by Madarek International in a mix of debt and equity capital.

SpiderSilk raises $9 million

  • The Dubai-based cybersecurity AI startup, has closed $9 million in funding to fuel the expansion of its cyber defense technology offering in Saudi Arabia.
  • The round was led by Wa’ed Ventures, Aramco’s $500 million Kingdom-based VC fund, with participation from STV and Global Ventures.
  • Founded in 2019 by Rami El Malak and Mossab Hussein, SpiderSilk is working on addressing the limitations in cybersecurity products by providing organizations with an AI-powered cyber defense platform and continuous exposure detection technologies. 
  • The company aims to create high-skilled jobs in advanced technology fields such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and R&D.

ORA Technologies secures $1 million in pre-seed funding

  • Morocco-based super app ORA Technologies has closed $1 million in a pre-seed funding round to continue its growth and serve the needs of its expanding user base.
  • Founded by Omar Alami and six others, ORA offers multiple features, including P2P transactions, an e-commerce platform, on-demand services, chat functionality, social networking, and a digital wallet to be launched soon.
  • The app, which offers a wide array of features, including peer-to-peer transactions, e-commerce capabilities, on-demand services, chat functionality, social networking, and, coming soon, a digital wallet, boasts a remarkable milestone with 140,000 downloads in just 9 weeks of its launch.

CloudFret closes $2.1 million

  • The Moroccan transport and logistics startup has secured €2 million ($2.1 million) from investors AfriMobility and Azur Innovation Fund.
  • Established in 2021 by Driss Jabar, CloudFret initially concentrated on mitigating empty truck returns between the Mediterranean shores through an AI algorithm-driven platform connecting shippers and carriers. In addition to optimising empty truck returns, the startup has broadened its services, unveiling a business-to-business (B2B) SaaS marketplace. 
  • CloudFret presently serves 130 shipper clients, engaging with 900 transport companies operating 7,000 vehicles across six countries—France, Spain, Morocco, Senegal, Portugal, and Italy.
  • The startup, which has been operational in Morocco since 2021 has since extended its presence to Marseille, and is poised for rapid development, with plans to double its workforce by the close of 2024.

DIEZ launches $136 million venture capital fund

  • Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ) has launched a VC fund worth Dh500 million ($136 million) focused on investing in startups within the region.
  • The fund named Oraseya Capital will invest in startups from the pre-seed stage to the Series B investment stage and will facilitate the global expansion aspirations of startups and make investments in cutting-edge technology.
  • According to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, "Our aim is to see these startups join the esteemed ranks of 'unicorn' companies, beginning their journey right here in the emirate, a key player in shaping the global economy."

Follow our full coverage of the Middle East and North African startup and technology scene and get up to date with what's happening in the key markets within the region.