DUBAI / Emirates Business
Startup funding across Mena region witnessed a strong growth in 2018 with record number of transactions, according to a report released by Magnitt — leading data platform tracking the region’s startup ecosystem.
The 2018 Mena Venture Investment Report — which provides an in depth analysis of startup funding across the Middle East and North Africa — revealed an increase of 31% in total funding, compared to the previous year.
Philip Bahoshy, Magnitt founder and CEO, indicates “this is an extremely positive signal. 2018 saw more international investors enter the foray than before, new accelerator programs created the region, multiple government initiatives spurring innovation and established regional Venture Capital firms closing out new funds to deploy further capital.”
Another key highlight Bahoshy notes is “as startups mature and grow, 2018 has seen more later stage investment deals at Series B and beyond than ever before and we expect this trend to continue into 2019 as startups scale to get closer to exits.”
The year 2018 saw 366 investments in Mena-based startups, which amounted to $893 million (AED3.28 billion) of total funding. This is an excellent indicator for the ecosystem, with a 31% increase in investment compared to 2017, in which $679 million was invested. The number of deals remained healthy at a record high, up 3% compared to 2017, showing continued appetite in startups from the region. The UAE has maintained its dominance thanks to continued government support, corporate venture interest and growing investor appetite for startups.
As much as 30% of all transactions were made in to UAE-he-adquartered startups in 2018, while it also accounted for 70% of total funding.
In another sign of a shifting landscape, fintech accounted for 12% of all deals in 2018. Notable deals include the $18m in Aqeed, $8m in Wahed Invest and $4.5m in Expensya. E-commerce remains prevalent accounting for 11% of all deals, followed by transport & delivery, which was third most popular industry in terms total deals.