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Flood warning startup Sadeem to seek more funding

Flooding in Dubai. Sadeem co-founder Mustafa Mousa is aiminig to 'change the way the cities handle their flood management' Reuters
Flooding in Dubai. Sadeem co-founder Mustafa Mousa is aiminig to 'change the way the cities handle their flood management'
  • Sadeem provides AI flood monitoring
  • Active in 17 cities in six countries
  • GCC growth first priority

Tech startup Sadeem, which provides patented flood-warning systems to cities worldwide, will raise further funding this year, its co-founder told AGBI.

The Gulf is among the driest inhabited regions worldwide, with on average less than 130 mm of rainfall annually, academic research shows.

Yet when rainfall does occur it is often torrential and sustained, and the Gulf’s urban areas typically lack the drainage infrastructure of cities where precipitation is more frequent.

In April, for example, the UAE experienced its heaviest rains in 75 years, causing widespread damage.



In the UAE, Sadeem works with the Ras Al Khaimah emirate. Its most extensive monitoring networks are in Riyadh, Medina and Al Hail in north-western Saudi Arabia.

Sadeem operates in 17 cities across six countries – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the US, Canada, Mexico and Spain. It provides both the hardware and software, managing the flood monitoring system on cities’ behalf. Clients pay an annual subscription fee for a bespoke package.

Planning and preparedness

Saudi Arabia’s Sadeem began as a research project at the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (Kaust) in 2011. It aims to help city planners in the Gulf and beyond become better prepared for potential floods through its patented technologies.

Kaust remains a shareholder in the company, while other investors also include Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures Fund.

Sadeem will raise additional funding this year, said Mustafa Mousa, Sadeem’s co-founder and CEO: “We’re speaking [with] a number of investors. Our current investors are happy and also want to renew the engagement.”

The company will use the additional funding to “further propel our growth and increase the capacity within the team, expand our project sizes, [and] deliver the projects we have in the pipeline”, said Mousa.

It has around 10 staff and is “on the verge” of net profitability, said Mousa.

Mustafa Mousa, Sadeem’s co-founder and CEO

Sadeem builds, installs and operates flood monitoring systems powered by artificial intelligence. These use ultrasonic, infrared and other sensors, rather than cameras.

“It’s based on technologies we developed in house, all combined with platforms and applications that can help cities mitigate their flood risks,” said Mousa.

This includes before, during and after floods, said Mousa: “We provide risk assessment, real-time monitoring [and] damage analysis or analytics for cities.

“We’re trying to change the way the cities handle their flood management and risks [with] technologies that can give the right information at the right time – they can allocate resources, trigger early warning solutions and get their plans on point, whether it’s operational, maintenance or strategic plans.”

Mousa said his company’s monitoring system enables cities to reduce flood risks – to humans, buildings and infrastructure – and also cut operational maintenance costs by at least 50 percent.

“It lowers the risks by giving information about what is developing in the city. It gives the right triggers to go and maintain the city. So, they avoid having a blockage and in turn, having [a] flood,” he told AGBI.

“I’m preparing them by telling them what is the performance of your drain system? It’s not only about when the rain happens, it’s about everything related to that.”

Mousa’s focus is expanding his company’s operations in the GCC and Mena region before growing further afield.

“We provide something essential for every city in the world, something that every city should have to mitigate the risks of floods,” he said.

The company will launch what Mousa describes as the first-of-its-kind stormwater operation and maintenance app in late 2024.

Mousa said that, because of climate change and population expansion, flooding will increase in severity and in frequency, estimating three-quarters of cities are coastal. 

“So we need to be prepared through technology and data.”

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