Recapping 2020: Five startups who closed investment rounds in Q1

It seems like only yesterday when the vast majority of us were ushering into the new decade with high hopes and expectations. Almost one year on, it is safe to assume that nobody could have anticipated a global pandemic overshadowing practically the entire year, and is also set to dominate the headlines for a considerable duration of 2021.

MENA's startup ecosystem was no stranger to feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by the 22% drop in number of deals from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020, according to MAGNiTT's Q1 2020 MENA Venture Investment Report. Unsurisingly, March saw a significant drop in deal announcements, which coincided with the Coronavirus being declared a pandemic, as the world braced itself for a global lockdown.

Albeit Q1 2020 will infamously be remembered as the buildup to the pandemic, it should not eclipse the fact that there were many sizeable investment deals that took place during this timeframe. From FinTech to EdTech, here is our roundup of five MENA-based startups that collectively secured approximately $145M in funding between January to March 2020.

1. Sarwa

$8.4M Series A Round

Sarwa is the first hybrid automated investment management platform for young professionals in the Middle-East, making investing simple and affordable. The FinTech startup's funding round was led by Kuwait Projects Company Holding (KIPCO), and was joined by investors such as Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO)500 Startups, Saudi Arabia-based Vision Ventures, UK-based Hambro Perks, as well as existing investors Shorooq PartnersHala Venture CapitalPhoenician Funds, and Mindshift Capital.

Find out more details on Sarwa's plans for the investment

2. Kitopi

$60M Series B Round

Kitopi is the world’s leading managed cloud kitchen platform that partners with restaurants to expand their delivery reach. The FoodTech startup's investment round was led by Knollwood and Lumia Capital with further participation from new and existing global investors, namely BECO, CE-Ventures, GICRise Capital, ReshapeGlobal Ventures and Wilshire Lane Partners.

Find out more details on Kitopi's plans for the investment


Access data on more than 5,430 startup funding rounds on MAGNiTT

3. Vezeeta

$40M Series D Round

Vezeeta is an Egyptian digital healthcare platform that is pioneering the shift to automated physician, clinic and hospital bookings. The HealthTech startup's fundraise was led by Gulf Capital, with the round also having strong support from existing investor, Saudi Technology Ventures (STV).

Find out more details on Vezeeta's plans for the investment 

4. SellAnyCar

$35M Series C Round

SellAnyCar is the Middle East's first and largest car buying service, which offers free and instant online car valuation, free car inspections and a guarantee to purchase any car within 30 minutes. The Transport startup's funding round was led by Saudi Arabia’s Sanabil InvestmentsGulf Investment Corporation (GIC), and Olayan Financing Company

Find out more details on Vezeeta's plans for the investment 

5. Aanaab

$1.5M SEED Round

Aanaab is an online marketplace for teachers to buy and sell educational resources. The EdTech startup's investment round was led by Nour Nouf Knowledge Company and Wamda, along with a group of angel investors in the education sector.

Find out more details on Vezeeta's plans for the investment 

Did you enjoy the funding data in this article? Stay tuned for more data in our upcoming end of year report!

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