Dubai-Based Wafeq Is Helping SMEs Balance Their Books
The software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup raised $3 million in a January funding round.
Founded in 2019 by Lebanese entrepreneur Nadim Alameddine, Wafeq is a Dubai-based SaaS platform that provides finance and accounting tools for small and medium businesses in the Middle East.
Nadim first noticed a market gap and potential opportunity back in 2018, when the UAE government announced the introduced VAT.
“I had to set up the accounting framework for my first startup on my own to be able to file the VAT returns. I realized there is no strong, localized accounting software brand for our region like in other mature markets […] I researched the opportunity further, and it became clear that the market for it will be very large. That’s when I decided to launch Wafeq,” says Nadim Alameddine, Wafeq founder.
However, despite Wafeq’s successes, over three years of development were needed before the company launched its first product at the end of 2022.
Alameddine’s business idea seems to have been a wise one, with demand for accounting software growing exponentially across the MENA region. Legacy platforms are struggling to keep up with numerous regulation changes in accounting, while Wafeq, on the other hand, is uniquely poised to meet the needs of modern businesses, with features such as e-invoicing, which are becoming a legal obligation in some jurisdictions.
Wafeq is currently working to meet the tax requirements of authorities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — some of the Arab world’s largest economies. Wafeq was initially bootstrapped using the founder’s own capital, though it has now raised $3 million in a January funding round. Riyadh venture capital firm Raed Ventures led the investment round with the participation of Wamda, a platform of programs and networks that aims to accelerate entrepreneurship ecosystems across MENA.
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The startup is in no hurry to raise new capital, and Nadim Alameddine has no plans to exit the business, instead intending to establish strong long-term foundations. According to the company, businesses using Wafeq generate over 630,000 invoices monthly, exceeding $117 million in value.
NEOM Airlines Is Saudi Arabia’s New, Tech-Centric Carrier
The airline will embrace advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, and utilize high-tech propulsion systems by 2026.
Opening in 2025, NEOM is a $500 billion Saudi Arabian smart city that will be powered entirely by renewable energy. Now, Saudi authorities have announced that the futuristic metropolis will also be served by its own dedicated carrier — NEOM Airlines.
The service will begin operating in 2024 and embrace advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence and biometric check in. Aircraft will fly to and from NEOM Bay before moving to the soon-to-be-built NEOM International Airport.
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NEOM Airlines will focus on tourist, commercial, and residential travel and incorporate plenty of cutting-edge technology. Klaus Goersch, the airline’s CEO, revealed that existing aircraft will be retrofitted with existing technology on launch, but by 2026, an ultra-modern fleet will be in operation, “whether electric, hydrogen-powered, or supersonic”.
As well as modern, low-emissions power airplanes, NEOM aircraft will also be fitted with sleek, modern interiors, 6G Wi-Fi, large screens for every seat, plus gaming and chat technology.