Gulf Digest: Two crypto investors get commitments; Tech startup iot squared makes acquisition

Gulf Digest: Two crypto investors get commitments; Tech startup iot squared makes acquisition

By Dilasha Seth

  • 18 Aug 2023
Gulf Digest: Two crypto investors get commitments; Tech startup iot squared makes acquisition
Credit: Pixabay

Dealmaking in the Middle East region saw an uptick during the week with two venture capital firms securing investments. 

While UAE-based crypto investment venture capital firm Illuminati Capital raised $50 million for its blockchain and Web3-based gaming fund, Saudi Arabia’s early-stage VC fund secured a $1.5 million commitment from Jordan’s Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF). 
Other deals include Saudi telecom giant STC Group’s iot squared, who signed a binding agreement to fully acquire Machinestalk, one of the largest IoT players in UAE. Also, Lumi AI, a UAE-based generative artificial intelligence company raised its first round of funding. 
Meanwhile, Singapore-based venture capital firm Antler launched a $60 million Middle East North Africa and Pakistan (Menap)-focused fund to invest in early-stage startups in the region. Its investment approach offers co-founder matching, personalised coaching, access to founder networks, day zero investment, and follow-on funding support. 
Sadu Capital 

Saudi Arabia-based venture capital firm Sadu Capital received a $1.5 million commitment for its early-stage fund from Jordan’s Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) to invest in Jordanian companies. The $27 million fund will invest in startups operating across different sectors, particularly those offering business-to-business solutions, across multiple geographies, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt.  


Founded in 2021 by Qusai AlSaif, Sadu Capital also saw investment from Saudi Venture Capital (SVC), Saudi Arabia’s government investment company.  The ISSF is a $98 million private sector managed fund established in 2017, set up as a partnership between the Central Bank of Jordan with $48 million investment and $50 million from the World Bank.

It facilitates funding for small and medium enterprises through investments in venture capital funds as well as direct investment in startups. Its fund of fund portfolio includes Global Ventures, Shorooq Partners, Flat6Labs, and Oasis Ventures. 
Iot squared x Machinestalk
Internet of things (IoT) company Machinestalk got fully acquired by Saudi Arabia-based IoT solutions provider iot squared, which is a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and STC Group, the Saudi telecommunication company.  

The acquisition will enable iot squared to accelerate growth and expand its offerings and capabilities across the IoT value chain.  


Founded in 2015, Machinestalk is one of the largest Saudi companies in the IoT space. It is a subsidiary of NOMD Holdings that focuses on smart mobility, smart cities, smart buildings and facilities, smart transportation, and industrial IoT.  

Meanwhile, iot squared, established in 2022, offers smart solutions for sectors including manufacturing, logistics, and smart cities. 
Lumi AI
UAE’s generative artificial intelligence startup Lumi AI secured its first round of funding from the UAE-based Annex Investments, US-based Forum Ventures and strategic angels to further its product development and expand its team size ahead of a full-scale platform launch later this year.  

Founded in April 2023 by Ibrahim Ashqar and Tudor Boiangiu, Lumi allows retail businesses to use AI generative models to digitise their supply chain, enabling them to generate custom reports and run statistical models using plain language.  


To put it simply, it develops data analyst AI software designed for end business users working in retail and supply chain. 
Illuminati Capital
Dubai-based venture capital fund Illuminati Capital raised $50 million for a blockchain and Web3 gaming-focused fund to invest in early-stage startups in the decentralised technologies space. Founded by Vickaash Agrawal, Dhaval Parikh, Muhannad Abulhasan and Laura K, Illuminati Capital invests in innovative and disruptive projects in the Web3 ecosystems.  

Its portfolio companies span a range of industries, including decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), gaming, and infrastructure.


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