Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Monday, Apr 15, 2024

Regional startup activity continues to rise ahead of LEAP24

Startup growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is accelerating, just before the technology conference LEAP24.
Ahead of the event from March 4 to 7, regional venture capital firms have replenished funds and businesses are securing investments, promising an entrepreneurial boost for Riyadh.

MoneyHash, a US-based fintech, raised $4.5 million in seed funding to expand in Saudi and regional markets. The UAE's COTU Ventures and Saudi Arabia’s Sukna Ventures led the round, with others like RZM Investment and Dubai Future District Fund contributing.

MoneyHash, established in 2020, offers a service to ease payment issues for businesses and aims to tackle high payment failure and fraud rates in the region. The new funds will be directed towards business growth, team expansion, and tech development.

Saudi investment company CoreVision has acquired VeFund, a startup platform, introducing AI for improved venture evaluation and strategic expansion.

This move forwards CoreVision's growth strategy and supports startups in overcoming market challenges. CEO Faisal Al-Abdulsalam will head VeFund, bringing his experience and vision to enhance the startup ecosystem in Saudi Arabia by creating a trade platform for safe notes to invigorate the community.

VeFund, launched in 2023 with an AI-enhanced suite of tools for startups, connects over 1,400 startups with a network of investors across the MENA region.

Saudi-based Tawaref has signed a MoU with Kuwait's Plus VC, to facilitate Plus VC-backed startups' expansion in the Kingdom through Tawaref's Saudi Landing program. The program helps reduce market entry time and navigate approval processes for startups.

COTU Ventures from the UAE, led by founder Amir Farha, announced a $54 million fund to support early-stage MENA startups with investments up to $2 million, and additional funds for subsequent investments.

Hayi, a UAE social networking app, secured an undisclosed seed round led by Plus VC, further supported by regional angels. The app, launched by Chris Darnell and Rene Morgan in 2020, aims to connect neighborhood residents and will use the funds for operational growth, marketing, and international expansion, building on a previous $325,000 pre-seed round.
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