OTF commits funding support to 3 new Omani online start-ups

The Oman Technology Fund (OTF), the Sultanate’s leading venture capital investment fund, has announced funding support for three Omani new startups that will help strengthen the virtual marketplace at a time when many conventional shops and establishments remain shuttered amid the current lockdown over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Tharwa, Drewel and Hadaya join a total of seven online platforms named by the government-backed Fund as beneficiaries of funding assistance from a special purse of RO 1 million earmarked for innovative IT initiatives that help mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

As with all of the beneficiary projects supported by OTF, the latest platforms are designed to enable Omani farmers, livestock breeders and manufacturers of consumer goods to connect with customers online and thereby fuel the growth of e-commerce in the Sultanate.

Tharwa, an online platform set up by three Omanis, will serve as a virtual marketplace for suppliers and distributors of all kinds of fresh and processed meat to offer their products to consumers. The platform will cater to local as well as internationally sourced produce.

Hadaya’s launch coincides with the start of the Omani rose harvest and rosewater distillation season in Al Jabal Al Akdhar and is thus an apt platform for buyers of rose essence or other related products to connect with suppliers.

Finally, Drewel specializes in the home delivery of a range of fresh of produce, including fruits and vegetables, meat, foodstuff and household goods. It caters primarily to Omani farmers, producers and traders.

Already, four previous startups have taken off in recent weeks since OTF announced funding support for their initiatives. They include Behar, which was launched earlier this month in the wake of the shuttering of the Wholesale Fish Market at Al Felaij in Barka wilayat – part of measures by the Omani government to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Fishermen and brokers can now use this integrated platform to offer their fresh merchandise to leading supermarket chains and other distributors operating across the Sultanate.

Helping connect wholesale buyers and sellers of fruits and vegetables is Athmar, an online platform that recently won the endorsement of Muscat Municipality, which operates and manages the wholesale market at Al Mawaleh in Muscat Governorate.

Ashal is an online teaching platform set up by Omanis for the benefit of students who are encouraged to study from home. Rounding off the seven OTF-funded initiatives is Edlal, billed as the first Omani open e-learning platform which seeks to prepare young Omanis to join the workforce by equipping them with the required skills and knowledge for the market, in addition to enriching the Arabic online content.

OTF, which is also providing funding support for a number of startups engaged in COVID-19 innovations, has pledged to expand the list of Omani initiatives benefiting from its RO 1 million kitty.