Meet 5 companies boosting Jordan’s startup spotlight

MAGNiTT's 2019 Jordan Venture Investment Report discovered that the country took the 5th spot by the number of investment deals in 2019 (35), accounting for 6% of total deals in the MENA region. Similarly, Jordan took the 4th spot, after Saudi Arabia, by total funding ($41M), accounting for 6% of total funding raised in MENA. 

More startups are entering the scene, as the report highlights that a number of early-stage deals also saw a significant boost. A factor that has played a role in this is increased accelerator activity, where mentorship, market access, and guidance are accessible for startup needs to be supported and developed. 

Recently, the European Union in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation and the Ministry for Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, celebrated the launch of the new programme “Innovation for Enterprise Growth and Jobs” “Innovate Jordan” - to support Jordan's innovation industry.

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H.E. Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Muthana Gharaibeh, said, “We are committed to empowering the citizens and residents of Jordan in their digital journey across sectors and industries, and our alignment with “Innovate Jordan” will ensure motivating and inspiring people to produce change by maximizing the impact of financial and non-financial incentive programmes in place. It is important that innovation becomes part of companies’ business strategies, which together with a focus on competition leads to better performance and productivity as innovation creates a better investment and business environment."

It's evident that with the support of accelerators, key stakeholders, and talent, Jordan's startup ecosystem is quickly evolving, as well as solidifying its place in MENA's wider startup space, and there are several startups across multiple industries who are helping to uphold and accelerate that evolution. Meet some of them below. 

Discover more than 510 Jordan-based startups on MAGNiTT

The startups listed are based on MAGNiTT data of the top 5 disclosed funding rounds in Jordan-based startups, over the last 5 years. 

1. Mawdoo3

Entertainment platform, was officially launched in 2012 to address the lack of Arabic content online. To date, the site boasts more than 50M MAUs, with more than 6000 freelance writers and 300 full-time employees. Mawdoo3’s group started a journey in the field of Artificial Intelligence, with a particular focus on Arabic NLP tools capable of covering the Arabic dialects, and developed the region’s first Arabic speaking digital assistant, “Salma”.

The startup raised a $13.5M Series A funding round in 2018, putting them in the top spot.

2. Jamalon

Jamalon is an E-commerce bookstore which targets 22 Arab countries that are excluded from Amazon publishing services as well as the untapped online publish-on-demand business throughout the region. The startups' services allow for millions of Arabic titles to become available to Arab readers and maintains partnerships with over 3,000 Arabic and 27,000 English-language publishers.

Jamalon secured a Series B investment round of $10M early last year.

3. Liwwa, Inc.

Fintech Liwwa, Inc, is a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform in the MENA region. They connect small and medium businesses that need capital with fixed-income investors. Investors earn 10-15% returns while small businesses get access to much-needed financing. 

At the start of the year, the startup raised $6M in a Series B funding round, led by FMO.

4. Kharabeesh

Kharabeesh (meaning 'scribble' in Arabic) produces Arabic-language animated cartoons, music videos, and talk shows that generally tackle political issues in the Arab world. The top four most-viewed Kharabeesh videos posted on YouTube have more than 2 million views. All views feature either Housni Mubarak or Muammar Gaddafi. The political cartoons produced by Kharabeesh have received international attention during and after the Arab Spring revolutions.

The startup received a $5.7M Series A investment round in 2016, with a Seed round taking place in 2015.

5. ArabiaWeather Inc.

ArabiaWeather Inc. is a weather provider in the Middle East and North Africa to consumers and businesses, empowering 70M Arab people with accurate forecast every day. They provide weather decision-support solutions to businesses across the region, including sectors that are enormously affected by the weather. These sophisticated AI-based decision-support solutions help businesses reduce costs, enhance safety and drive efficiencies in their operations. 

In 2015, ArabiaWeather Inc. secured $5M in a Series A funding round.

Did we miss anything? Connect with me and share your thoughts!

The Digitainment Industry saw a number of sizable investments over the last 5 years, a total of $235M invested across 98 deals from 2015 to 2019. Discover more trends and insights in our 2019 Digitainment Venture Investment Report