Tech investments in the Muslim World

This week had at least 3 major announcements for the tech scene in the Muslim World.

According to Al Arabiya “According to current estimates, tech start-ups’ funding in the MENA region was valued at over $750mln in 450 projects between 2013 and 2015.”

United Arab Emirates

First, is the creation of the largest Middle East and North Africa (MENA) technology fund by Alabbar Entreprises led by Mohammed al-Abbar for $1Bn USD.

Secondly, is the launch by the Dubai government and Dubai Holding of a $275M USD fund as part of the Dubai Future Accelerators that aims at solving 7 challenges: healthcare, transportation, renewable energy, sustainability, education, security and urban planning. Additional information can be found on their website or by reaching out to hunter lee soik who is the current Director for applications to the Accelerators (deadline 10 August).

Indonesia

When covering the Muslim World people generally tend to mainly discuss about the MENA region, even though Asia also has a large Muslim population including Indonesia which is the biggest Muslim country in the World with a population of 250M people.

Today, Go-Jek, the motorbike taxi on-demand service, surprised everybody by announcing a $550M USD round led by foreign VCs KKR and Warburg Pincus — to compete against Uber & Grab, giving the Indonesian start-up a valuation of $1.3Bn.

Go-Jek claims 200,000 motorbike drivers, due to high demand for the service particularly in Jakarta which is known as one of the planet’s most congested cities.

This is not the first time, someone emerges as a competitor for Uber in the Muslim World as U.A.E. based car-hailing app Careem did a $60M round led by U.A.E. based fund Abraaj Capital in November 2015 — the same month Uber raised $250M to expand their MENA operations.

Interesting times for “emerging markets”…