Gulf Digest: ZainTech buys cloud firm Adfolks; Baytonia, Lifemost, Clara get funding

By Dilasha Seth

  • 26 May 2023
Credit: Thinkstock

Dealmaking in the Middle East during the week was led by the acquisition of the UAE-based cloud engineering services company Adfolks by ZainTech, the digital services arm of Kuwaiti telecom giant Zain Group.  

Meanwhile, several other tech startups raised funding, including health-tech player Lifemost, furniture ecommerce company Baytonia, and legal-tech startup Clara. 

Overall deal-making volumes picked up compared to subdued activity last week. The month of May has seen an overall pick up in funding volumes compared to April, which saw a sharp decline due to Ramadan.  

Key deals this month include fundraises by the UAE-based fintech startup Twig, direct-to-customer ecommerce brand Squatwolf, business-to-business ecommerce player Eighty6, superapp Snoonu, and fintech player Tarabut Gateway. 

ZainTech, the digital and ICT solutions arm of Zain Group, acquired cloud-native engineering firm Adfolks for an undisclosed amount to expand its technology offerings and to widen its customer base. The acquisition will facilitate Zain's plans to transform from a mobile operator to a multi-core digital ICT entity. 

Founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneur Arun Mohan, Adfolks enable clients to leverage cloud and cloud-native technologies to solve business challenges.  Last year, Adfolks reported a 300% increase in cloud consumption by companies in the UAE and wider GCC region since 2020. Its clients include Emaar, Dubai Airports, DP World, Mashreq, and Arab National Bank among others. 

The Adfolks deal follows ZainTech’s acquisition of BIOS Middle East, a managed private cloud services provider In February this year. 


The UAE-based B2B health-tech startup Lifemost raised $650,000 in a pre-seed funding round from a group of angel investors to support product development and explore expansion into new Middle East and North African markets. 

Founded by Dennis Yudchitz in 2022, Lifesmost is an app-based platform for corporates to provide employees with mental healthcare services. It offers a slew of services including access to a network of studios for activities and training; corporate events, mindfulness to stress management workshops, and online courses and live sessions. It has over 350 pre-recorded fitness classes and educational lectures.

With the funding, it also aims to scale marketing efforts. Currently, the platform provides over 1000 activities across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and is available in more than 120 locations and aims to increase to 300 by the end of the year. 


One-year-old Saudi Arabian B2B online furniture marketplace Baytonia raised seed funding of an undisclosed amount, led by Khwarizmi Ventures with participation from angel investors. It aims to expand its offerings across Saudi Arabia and scale its operations. 

Founded by Karam Rajab and Ibrahim AlHowaish in April 2022, Baytonia offers logistics, including pickup, listing, storage, assembly, and delivery through its ecommerce platform. 


Legal-tech startup Clara raised an undisclosed amount from Silicon Valley’s innovation platform Plug and Play. 

The UAE-based startup was founded in 2018 by Patrick Rogers, Arthur Guest, Hannah McKinlay, Ahmed Arif, and Lee McMahon, and facilitates digitization and automation of legal tasks for entrepreneurs, including digitally setting up companies across jurisdictions, data room management, and automated legal document generation. It also helps founders generate and sign agreements digitally in different countries. 

Clara has over 1200 clients who have used its beta platform, seeking guidance on legal best practices and legal processes. Until last year it had raised over $3.5 million in seed funding, including from the US-based TheLegalTech Fund.