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Dubai-based Opontia raises $20 Million to acquire and accelerate e-commerce brands in Africa and Middle East region

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Dubai, UAE Opontia Founders, Philip Johnston and Manfred Meyer (Source: Opontia)

Dubai, UAE: Opontia, a Dubai and Riyadh-based startup that acquires and grows e-commerce brands has raised $20M in seed funding, one of the largest seed rounds in the Middle East and Africa region. 

The seed round was led by Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Presight Capital, and Kingsway Capital with participation from angel investors like Tushar Ahluwalia, CEO of Razor Group, Jonathan Doerr former CEO of Daras and co-founder of Jumia, and Hosam Arab the CEO of Tabby and the former CEO of Namshi. 

Launched in March 2021 by Philip Johnston and Manfred Meyer, Opontia enables e-commerce entrepreneurs to realise the full potential of their brands, both in terms of getting an exit as well as profiting from future growth. Furthermore, Opontia aims to nurture and build the entrepreneurial e-commerce ecosystem in the region.

Opontia will use the funds to acquire exceptional e-commerce brands and to invest in a team of experienced e-commerce experts in the Middle East and Africa who will be responsible for managing and growing brands after acquisition. The company has already recruited a top-tier team with notable experience from Amazon, Noon, McKinsey, Uber-Eats and Namshi. 

Commenting on the successful financing round, Philip Johnston CEO of Opontia said:We are extremely thankful to our partners who joined us on this journey to transform the MENA e-commerce ecosystem. We founded Opontia to enable e-commerce entrepreneurs to realise the potential of their brands, both in terms of getting an exit now, as well as benefiting from future growth. We saw that many sellers had started their brand because they were passionate about their product and their customers but had hit a ceiling in terms of how far they could grow due to constraints on working capital, operations, logistics, and e-commerce commercial management. This is where Opontia comes in. We enable entrepreneurs to sell their brand and we take care of the daily operations while encouraging them to be involved in the part they enjoy – building the brand. Many sellers tell us that this frees up time to enable them to start their next venture or take a hard earned break.”

Manfred Meyer co-CEO of Opontia added: “The market in the Middle East and Africa region is currently less mature than in the West but is growing much faster than any other market in the world, with the number of entrepreneurs selling on marketplaces growing at over 50% per year.  The business model will work here because there have been so many amazing entrepreneurs in the Middle East coming up over the last few years. It’s a great opportunity for sellers to be able to realise some of the hard work from building their brand so they can take some time off or work on their next big thing” 

Opontia currently operates in Dubai and Riyadh, with plans to open offices in Istanbul, Cairo, and Lagos in the coming months.

 

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Investment

Fatura secures a $3 Million pre-series A investment round

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Fatura co-Founders (Source: Hossam Ali)

Fatura round was co-led by Sawari Ventures and Arzan VC, with the participation of Egypt Ventures, EFG-EV, The Cairo Angels as well as Khwarizmi Ventures. The B2B marketplace was launched late 2019 and already crossed the 1 Billion EGP yearly GMV milestone, and that’s just in the FMCG sector. Fatura is a mobile application that connects wholesalers & manufacturers with retailers in different industries. The start-up has been operating in the FMCG industry and it is currently piloting in other industries.

During the past year the start-up also extended its reach to more than 25,000 retailers and more than  500 wholesalers and manufacturers across 20 governorates, exchanging more than 10,000 SKUs. Fatura also cracked the surface of financial services by introducing digital lending with focus on retailers financing, aiming to add more services in that area in the near future.

“Fatura’s existing infrastructure has enabled them to expand their offerings to new customers,” commented Hany Al-Sonbaty, Managing Partners at Sawari Ventures, adding that, “the team has demonstrated that they have the vision to identify new opportunities and the prowess and agility to implement and deliver. We are excited to become part of their journey.”

Hossam Ali, Fatura’s CEO, commented on the news saying: “There is a great opportunity in the B2B space in Egypt, that is growing as the players are becoming digitally mature and ready. Collectively, the digital B2B players in the FMCG space capture less than 5% of the market and there is a long way to go. Our conviction is to stay asset-light, be inclusive to all the industry stakeholders and to attract the best on-ground acquisition force across the country”

Fatura has built a strong foundation and infrastructure that enables it to monetize its data and services. The company’s future plans include new services that support the different players in its ecosystem including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, multiple digitization initiatives with focus on digital payments and regional expansion into new markets.

“Being part of Fatura’s success story is exciting for us. The FMCG industry is in need of Fatura’s product, which will solve many challenges faced by small retailers. Also, its fintech angle complements the core product and enables retailers to scale their business further with less working capital constraints.” – Hasan J. Zainal, Managing Partner of Arzan Venture Capital

This investment will gear Fatura to extend its services beyond e-commerce and digital lending to optimize the exchange of goods, money and information in the B2B context while focusing on convenience and the different users’ experience.

 

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MoneyHash Raises Six-Figure Pre-Seed to Build the Middle East and Africa’s First Payment and Fintech Super-API

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MoneyHash Founders Nader Abdelrazik (CEO), Anisha Sekar (CPO), and Mustafa Eid (CTO)

MoneyHash, an Egyptian US-based fintech startup that uses a universal API and a unified checkout experience to help businesses consolidate and grow their payments and financial tech stack across Africa and the Middle East, closes a six-figure pre-seed round to launch its services across the region. The round was led by UAE’s venture capital firm COTU Ventures, with participation from the Ventures Platform, Kepple Africa Ventures, and angel investors.

MoneyHash was founded late 2020 by three co-founders: Nader Abdelrazik (Egyptian), Mustafa Eid (Egyptian), and Anisha Sekar (American). Combined, they have over 30 years of experience and worked for 11 startups, in addition to a portfolio of employers and education such as Microsoft, UpWork, NerdWallet, UC Berkeley, SigFig, and Brown University. The startup provides a unified checkout experience built on top of a secure Super-API that aggregates payment and fintech solutions through a single integration and a central dashboard consolidating technical infrastructure and centralizing data and operational reporting.

According to a company statement, MoneyHash is currently in a private beta with plans to go live soon in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. The startup aims to be fully operational across various countries in Africa and the Middle East by 2022.

“MEA is one of the fastest growing emerging markets with a rapidly evolving payment and fintech scene. As many companies in the region and abroad plans their expansion across the region, they are faced with a devastating technical and operational hassle: building a separate connection with each service provider while providing a unified experience for their customers. This results in a complicated tech stack wasting valuable resources with increased vulnerabilities to errors, fraud, and technical debt. MoneyHash’s technology abstracts the complexities of this fragmented market and allow businesses to scale and grow with a complete focus on their product, and without compromising security and efficiency,” said Nader Abdelrazik, co-founder and CEO of MoneyHash

“We are crafting a comprehensive revenue solution built for flexibility and scaling. With a unified checkout experience powered by a single API integration, businesses throughout MEA can instantly access the providers and products they need to grow. We increase speed to market and save weeks of effort upfront, and with a complete view of the revenue stack, we provide insights, automations, and smart routing to save time and money in the long term. Our mission is to build an efficient, secure, comprehensive solution that helps – rather than hinders – growing businesses.” said Anisha Sekar, co-founder and CPO of MoneyHash

“It’s rare to find such a well-rounded and complete team with deep domain experience and technical prowess so early in a company’s life. We’re very excited to back Nader, Anisha and Mustafa, as they look to tackle a problem that suits a fragmented region like the Middle East. The clarity with which they articulated their vision and strategy, and the chemistry we felt from the start, convinced us to support them in kick starting their plans to build a payments super API for the region and beyond. We are grateful they chose us as partners and are looking forward to what’s ahead.” said Amir Farha, Managing Partner of COTU Ventures

“We are excited to back the MoneyHash team. The team’s vision is compelling, and the product enables companies to scale their products and services across Africa and the Middle east with minimal friction. They are essentially powering the growth and expansion of startups and enterprise across the region.” said Kola Aina, Founding Partner of Ventures Platform

 

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Almentor, The Leading Video Based e-learning Platform In MENA Region Raises $14.5 million

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almentor Founders, Dr. Ihab Fikry and Ibrahim Mostafa Kamel (Press Release and Image source: Reem Jenkiz)

almentor.net, the leading video e-learning platform in the MENA region, has announced raising $6.5 million in series B Funding. Partech led this financing round, with the participation of Sawari Ventures, Egypt Ventures and Sango Capital, thus bringing the total financing that the company has garnered since its inception to $14.5 million.

Speaking about the company’s goals and endeavors, Dr. Ihab Fikry, CEO and co-founder of almentor, stated: “ We are now leading the continuous video learning industry in the Arab region, and we have a responsibility that goes beyond our ambitions for Almentor Company. Our responsibility now is to work unceasingly to improve the industry as a whole in the Arab region, and this can only be achieved through gaining the confidence of the Arab learners in the value, professionalism and impartiality of the content provided by the platform, and working in line with the global learning trends.” He added, “almentor.net library has an abundance of courses and talks that are capable of nurturing Arab youth, enhancing their personal experiences, and serving their career paths by providing them with what they deserve to advance their careers on all fronts.”

The platform was launched in 2016 to compensate for the lack of online learning content for Arabic speakers. With over 2 million successful learning experiences, and 80+ Enterprise partnerships in the MENA region, the platform offers a wide range of exclusive training courses and talks by distinguished experts who have succeeded in their personal lives and professional careers. Through its rich content, the platform supplies learners with unique solutions across a diversity of disciplines including health, technology, humanities, entrepreneurship, business administration, and many more.

“We are very proud to lead this latest round of financing” stated Cyril Collon, General Partner at Partech. “Since our first interaction, we have been very impressed by Ihab & Ibrahim, two fantastic mission-driven entrepreneurs who have been executing on a bold vision since 2016, and who built the leading Arabic self-learning go-to content provider in the Middle East and Africa. We are looking forward to supporting the company in its next phase of growth to serve the 430 million Arabic-speaking population and expand access to on-demand cutting-edge personal
learning & developments options.”

From his side, Wael Amin, Partner at Sawari Ventures said: “We have supported almentor’s mission from its beginning and are pleased to participate in this latest round. Almentor has achieved notable traction in a space where there has been limited success for regional players, and have managed to efficiently deliver during the pandemic. We are impressed by what the team has achieved and are excited to be part of the journey,” he added.

 

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