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MENA Digest: Basserah, nybl merge; The Cloud, gaming startups raise funds

By Dilasha Seth

  • 23 Feb 2024

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region recorded a spurt in dealmaking activity during the week, marked by a merger of two tech players in the region. UAE-based machine learning startup Nylb merged with Riyadh-based data automation firm Basserah to strengthen regional presence. 

Also, some early-stage startups, including gaming platforms Exverse and GameCentric, logistics player Pieship, and healthcare player Physio Home, secured funding. Abu Dhabi-based cloud kitchen startup The Cloud also raised growth capital to expand across Europe.

In what could further spur investment activity in the region, Egypt-based venture capital (VC) firm Sawari Ventures announced plans to launch a $150 million fund to back startups in the country. 

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The investment vehicle aims to focus on sectors like fintech, edtech, healthtech, cleantech, and deeptech in the country. The VC firm has so far backed over 30 companies, including Si-Ware, Almentor, Kashier, Swvl, MoneyFellows, Instabug, and Elves.

Exverse
Dubai-headquartered Web3 gaming platform Exverse secured funding worth $3 million to launch new products. The funding round was led by Cogitent Ventures, Cointelligence, and Moonrock Capital, and saw participation from KuCoin Labs, Epic Games, Seedify, and ChainGPT. 

Founded in 2020 by Nikita Uriupin, Exverse is an AI-powered free-to-play shooter that provides players with an immersive and advanced gameplay experience. The investment will facilitate Exverse’s alpha launch and token release besides the expansion of its marketing initiatives across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

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PIESHIP
Saudi Arabia-based logistics startup PIESHIP raised pre-seed investment of an undisclosed amount, led by SEEDRA Ventures and Nama Ventures. Angel investors in the region also participated in the funding round.  

Founded in 2023 by Nasser Alharthi, Musaed Al-Amri, and Mohammed Mohsen, PIESHIP offers warehouse management solutions and innovative solutions to improve the last-mile delivery experience to deliver shipments faster. 

The startup aims to utilize the investment to support business growth, research, and development of new products and services for its customers.

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GameCentric
UAE-based gaming platform GameCentric raised $1.5 million from Dubai-based angel investor Bilal Merchant to fuel product and geographical expansion. 

Founded in 2023 by Saad Khan, GameCentric is a web3 gaming platform, offering a diverse array of immersive games spanning genres. 

The fresh capital injection will allow GameCentric to enhance its platform features and expand its footprint beyond the Gulf Cooperation Council and the MENA region.

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The Cloud
Abu Dhabi-headquartered foodtech startup The Cloud secured $12 million from Dubai-based boutique early-stage investor MENA Moonshots as part of the $30 million Series B that it is currently raising. 

The funding also included debt financing from Aluna Partners. The cloud kitchen aims to utilize the funding to expand into Lithuania, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK. Founded in 2019 by Kamil Rogalinski and Georges Karam, The Cloud enables restaurant owners to enhance kitchen utilization by housing outside food delivery companies. 

In fact, The Cloud also acquired the UK-based foodtech company KBOX, adding another 200 locations to its worldwide portfolio. The fresh funding comes a year and a half after it raised $10 million in a Series A round, which was led by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and Olayan Financing Company, with participation from Rua Growth Fund. So far, the startup has raised $22 million. 

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PhysioHome
Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC)-backed Saudi health services company PhysioHome secured seed funding of an undisclosed sum, led by angel investors in the region. 

Additional capital raise comes more than a year after it raised pre-seed funding from MENA accelerator Sanabil 500 and a government venture capital firm SVC. Set up in 2021 by Ahmed Sidam as part of the health sector accelerator supported by the Ministry of Health and Establishments, PhysioHome offers rehabilitation services in homes or rehabilitation centres in nine cities across Saudi Arabia.

Basserah, nybl
The UAE-based AI startup nybl merged with Saudi data automation firm Basserah to solidify its position as a tech leader in the Middle East region. Nybl, which was founded in 2018 by Noor Alnahhas, is a machine learning platform that utilizes data into actionable intelligence to provide real-time failure prediction, prescription, prevention, and optimization for essential industries, boosting productivity and cutting costs.

Meanwhile, Basserah, founded in 2018 as a subsidiary of NOMD Holding helps businesses in industries including telecommunications, oil and gas, and the government sector to streamline their operations through robotic process automation. Nybl has raised a total funding of $5 million so far in two rounds, with the latest one in March 2021. It also acquired Mexican machine learning startup Nubil in the same year.

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