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Gulf Digest: Saudi startup co-founded by ex-Zomato exec, SaaS firm Blink get funding

By Dilasha Seth

  • 08 Dec 2023
Gulf Digest: Saudi startup co-founded by ex-Zomato exec, SaaS firm Blink get funding
Omniful co-founders Alankrit Nishad (left) and Mostafa Abolnasr

Saudi tech startups Omniful and Blink led dealmaking in the Middle East region in the first week of December. Both raised early-stage funding from well-known venture capital firms including 500 Global and VentureSouq. 

Meanwhile, November reported a spike in startup funding activity, according to an industry report. The Middle East and North Africa startups raised $760 million across 42 rounds in November, up 390% from October and a 74% increase from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Wamda. It was led by Saudi Arabia with $338 million raised across nine deals, followed by the UAE at $284 million across 22 deals, and Egypt at $130.5 million. 

During the ongoing climate conference COP28 in the UAE, the Dubai Future District Fund committed 20% of its $272 million evergreen fund to support climate-tech startups.  

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Besides, Abu Dhabi-based startup accelerator Hub71 launched a climate tech-focused programme for startups worldwide. Under the programme, startups will receive $68,000 worth of in-kind incentives and an initial $68,000 cash incentive in exchange for equity to accelerate their growth. High-performing startups will be eligible for another $68,000 top-up in exchange for additional equity. 

Cloud-based supply chain and e-commerce enablement startup Omniful raised $5.85 million in seed funding from a slew of investors to scale its business in the Middle East region and India.  

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The round was led by VentureSouq. Other investors included 500 Global, DASH Ventures, Jahez Group, SEEDRA Ventures, Bunat Ventures, Hala Ventures, and RZM Investments. Family offices including Al Rasheed, Siraj Holding, Al Bawardi, Al Nafea and a number of GCC-based angel investors.  

Founded in 2022 by Mostafa Abolnasr and Alankrit Nishad, Omniful is headquartered in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Nishad previously worked with Indian food delivery company Zomato and medicine delivery company 1mg. Abolnasr previously worked with SEEDRA Ventures and Saudi tech firm Squadio. 

It allows retailers to fulfill orders in minutes by instantly shipping online orders directly from physical retail stores and providing tools and software to help omnichannel retailers operate better and faster. The company says its unified management system, warehouse management system, and transport management system enable brick-and-mortar retailers to operate more efficiently.  

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It currently has operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and an R&D hub in India. The company also plans to launch its operations in India.  

The company plans to deploy capital to strengthen its position in existing markets, launch sales and marketing activities in new countries in the region, and enhance its tech development. It currently employs over 50 people. 

Blink 

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Software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup Blink secured $2.1 million in seed funding from investors including 500 Global to accelerate its growth in Saudi Arabia. Other key investors in the round included Global Founders Capital, and existing backers Orbit Startups and SOSV.  

Founded in 2020 by Syed Sair Ali and Umair Khalid, Blink is a cloud-based enterprise ordering solution that helps restaurants to launch and grow their direct online ordering channels and reduce their dependence on delivery aggregators. Over the last 12 months, the company has processed 4.5 million orders for its over 1,200 partner restaurants across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan. It has exceeded $0.5 million in annual recurring revenue. 

Blink had raised $150,000 in 2021 from SOSV, and additional capital in November 2022 from Orbit Startups and SOSV. 

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