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The UAE-based SaaS startup and rewards program solutions provider Merit Incentives has successfully raised $5M in its latest funding round. The Series A round was led by Riyadh-based venture capital fund Impact46 along with Tech Invest Com, Arzan VC, Hambro Perks Oryx, and several regional angel investors.
Founded back in 2011, Merit Incentives started as a B2C gifting solution only to expand to become one of the most engaging technology and consulting firms specialized in developing the latest B2B user-engagement tools and technologies, building seamless and exciting reward programs for businesses. Currently, Merit offers its B2B2C services to a diverse portfolio of large enterprises, including Riyad Bank, Vodafone, Mubadala, Adidas, and Amazon.
As most recently recorded in our MENA Q3 2021 Venture Investment Report, MENA-based enterprise software startups as well as MENA-based IT solutions have observed major breakthroughs in funding this year. In Q3 2021, major rounds in IT solutions and a $125M Series B megaround by B2B communication solutions provider Unifonic led industry funding to grow by 1,059% YoY. From the enterprise software funding by in 2021, AI-driven HR solutions provider Leena AI led the biggest round, with UAE-based online banking platform NOW Money, and KSA-based E-commerce builder Zid also driving the industry's 328% YoY growth in capital deployed across MENA by Q3 2021.
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Merit Incentives’ products include Rewardsby, a Software as a service (SaaS) loyalty and rewards marketplace made up of nine distinctive engaging redemption modules, and GiftCardsby an ingenuous SaaS digital gift card platform on the market, enabling instant sales and redemptions from retailers. In light of this platform scaling investment Julie Barbier-Leblan, CEO and Founder of Merit Incentives commented “We are thrilled to have received strong support from such prominent investment firms. While we had the option of securing international investors our ambition has always been to raise funds from within the region, as this is where our business first launched. We believe in the Middle East’s fast-growing market which allows us to serve our international clients’ needs with agility and efficiency.”
The engagement start-up operates its own rewards network of 5,000 partner brands across 100+ countries, with 500+ retailers and merchants in the GCC alone further solidifying its principle of ‘thinking globally, acting locally'. In a very positive indicator of growth, Merit Incentive recently surpassed a landmark milestone of 20 million end-users globally “We are amid a new era where users require unique yet meaningful experiences with companies they like and trust. It has now become imperative for businesses to engage directly with their customers, and internally with their employees, to create a constant dialogue and emotional bond at every touchpoint.” Barbier-Leblan continued.
Merit Incentives plans to use this funding for the growth of their team into new territories, and further investment in technology, building on the existing artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities of its solutions. In addition to its headquarters in Dubai, the company has offices in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and UK, along with a technology lab and development team located in Pakistan. With a strong focus on in-house development, Merit expects to triple its research and development resources across offices by the end of 2022. Basmah Al Sinaidi, partner at Impact46 concluded with high hopes for the team’s potential and ingenuity of their solutions “With the team led by Julie and talented individuals from various backgrounds in tech, banking, & retail. Merit is set to tackle a great opportunity within the business engagement technology sector. The company has been able to expand within the GCC with a global mindset while maintaining a good grasp of the local enterprise and SME market.”
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