Saudi Arabia approves instructions from international central securities depositories


RIYADH: Two competing Saudi business-to-business online marketplaces have announced a fundraiser, further sign of growing interest in startups in the region.

Sary has raised $ 30.5 million in a Series B round led by VentureSouq and joined by new US-based investors Rocketship.vc and STV, Sary said in a press release. Existing shareholders Ra’ed Ventures, MSA Capital and Derayah also contributed to the funding round.

Riyadh-based Retailo raised $ 6.7 million in a funding round led by existing investor Shorooq Partners and UK private equity store Abercross Holdings, Retailo said in a separate press release. Retailo, founded by former Careem executives, has now raised $ 9 million after being in operation for just nine months.

Although Sary is the most mature company to be founded in 2018, the two companies offer a platform to connect small businesses with wholesalers and fast-growing consumer goods (FMCG) businesses.

Sary plans to use the funds to grow geographically and is expanding the services it offers, including providing credit.

“The heart of VentureSouq’s global fintech thesis is the emerging trend of integrated financial services,” said Suneel Gokhale, co-founder and general partner of VentureSouq in the press release. “In Sary’s case, we see this transition to credit as directly contributing to revenue growth, diversifying income streams and improving the unit economy for a tech company. strong and proven to be vertical. ”

A rush to fund digital startups in the Middle East risks creating a valuation bubble, Fadi Ghandour, CEO of venture capitalist Wamda, said last month.

“Since the pandemic, the whole digital ecosystem that we expected to happen within ten years has actually happened within a few months, so all digital is growing exponentially,” he told Bloomberg Television. “Everything digital is exploding. So a lot of new money and a lot of new startups. “

“There is so much new money coming into the market,” he said. “Sovereign wealth funds are starting to invest and they are seeding a lot of venture capital, so I think yes, there is a little valuation bubble.”

Last month, 44 startups across the Middle East and North Africa raised more than $ 175 million, up $ 5 million from March, according to Wamda data.

The biggest deal was closed by Tamara, the now pay later, Riyadh-based buying platform, which raised $ 110 million in a Series A round led by leading global payment processor Checkout.com . Aided by this transaction, Saudi Arabia tops the list for the first time in terms of the number and value of start-up investments.



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