Startup funding activity in the Middle East entered slow lane in the last week of March following an action-packed first three weeks of the month. Startups that raised funds include VR-enabled social media app Vuz, creative media studio Telfaz11 and fintech player Madark.
The overall activity was subdued relative to previous week that saw startups like fintech player Credable, metaverse builder LandVault, proptech startup Estater and AI-based healthcare firm Aumet raising funds ranging from pre-seed to Series A rounds.
Meanwhile, Dubai Future District Fund (DFDF), the region’s first evergreen venture capital fund-of-fund has announced an intent to invest $1 billion in startups and locally-oriented venture capital funds in the Middle East North Africa region by the end of 2024.
Founded in 2021, DFDF aims to invest in 180 portfolio firms and 55 venture funds with a portfolio of $43 billion in the next 10 years.
In February, startups in the Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) raised $760 million across 48 deals led by the fintech sector, which is 638% higher than the funding value in January, and about double than seen in the corresponding month last year.
January had seen 22 deals worth $104 million. Egypt was the highest contributor with a funding value of $422 million, followed by Saudi Arabia, which raised $316 million in 13 deals and the UAE with seven deals worth $8 million.
UAE-based immersive social media app Vuz undisclosed amount of investment from newly launched SRMG Ventures, the venture capital arm of Saudi Research and Media Group.
Vuz is a leading virtual reality-based social media app that allows users to engage with 360 degree videos. Founded in 2017 by Khaled Zaatarah, VUZ had raised $20 million in Series B investment in October last year with investors including Caruso Ventures, Vision VC Fund, e& capital, and DFDF.
Since its inception, the company has raised investments worth over $31million in over seven rounds. It has offices in Los Angeles, Dubai, and Riyadh.
Telfaz11, a Saudi-based creative media studio specializing in Saudi entertainment content also saw funding from the newly launched VC fund SRMG Ventures for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in 2011 by Ali Kalthami the company produced box office hit-Sattar and the feature film Alkhallat+, one of the top ten most watched movies in Saudi Arabia on Netflix. The media company has raised over $9 million in funding. Their previous funding was raised in 2021 and has over 10 investors on board including Muvi Cinemas and Rawabi Holding Group. The company also acquired production entity Last Scene Films in 2021.
Saudi Arabia’s education fintech startup Madark closed a pre-seed investment round of an undisclosed amount through Learn Node Startup Studio.
Founded in 2020 with the concept of ‘study now pay later’, Madark allows individuals to enroll in their desired educational systems without worrying about finances. The company specializes in financing annual tuition fees and allows parents to pay various educational institutions in installments without any interest.