Funding activity in the Gulf region accelerated in the first week of May after a subdued April, led by a slew of deals including Emirates Telecommunication Group Company e& acquiring a majority stake in the UAE crowdfunding platform Beehive.
Key startups that raised funding this week include direct-to-customer ecommerce brand Squatwolf, business-to-business ecommerce player Eighty6, superapp Snoonu, and fintech player Tarabut Gateway.
Telecom major e& acquired a majority stake in crowdfunding platform Beehive at a valuation of $35 million. It will reportedly acquire between 61% and 69% of Beehive to scale up SME lending in the region.
This is e&’s second acquisition in a month. It acquired a 50.03% stake in Careem’s super-app in April, a carve-out from the Uber-owned ride-hailing business.
Founded in 2014 by Craig Moore, Beehive connects small and medium enterprises seeking finance with private and institutional investors. The platform has operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman.
The UAE-based Tarabut Gateway raised $32 million in Series A round led by Pinnacle Capital to fuel expansion in the region. The round also saw participation from Aljazira Capital, Visa, and Tiger Global, among others. The startup had earlier raised $12 million in a pre-Series A round led by Tiger Global and a seed round of $13 million in early 2021.
Founded in Bahrain in 2019 by Abdulla Almoayed, the startup operates an open banking platform that connects regional banks and fintech companies through a universal API. It is looking to expand into Saudi Arabia.
Four-year-old super-app Snoonu raised $12 million in a Series B round led by Qatar Development. Founded in 2019 by Hamad al-Hajri, the Qatar-based platform offers multiple services on a single application including online shopping, food delivery, grocery delivery, and third-party logistics services for local startups and SMEs.
The startup had earlier raised $5 million in a Series A round in 2021 and acquired Oman-based Akeed last year. It is said to be the first Qatar-based startup to raise a Series B round.
Direct-to-consumer gymwear ecommerce startup Squatwolf raised $30 million from ASCA Capital. A significant proportion will be invested in the first 12 months to widen Dubai-based entity's omnichannel presence, improve its product line, enhance its customer engagement, and bolster brand presence.
Founded in 2016 by Anam Khalid and Wajdan Gul, Squatwolf offers premium gymwear collection for men and women through its online platform and is sold in more than 120 countries.
Food and beverage marketplace platform Eighty6 raised $3.7 million in a seed round led by Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator Fund to support its technological and geographical expansion. Other investors in the round included a few Gulf-based family offices.
Founded in 2021 by Abdul Kader Saadi, Eighty6 aims to allocate funds towards enhancing its technological capabilities, expanding operations within the UAE, and launching in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.