The MENA Startup Ecosystem Received $277 Million in Investments in Q1 Y2020

This is a 102% increase since Q1 Y2018.
The MENA Startup Ecosystem Received $277 Million in Investments in Q1 Y2020
Q1 Y2020 witnessed the highest total funding over the last two years, if we subtract When excluding Careem’s $200 million mega round in Q4 Y2018. Source: Austin Distel

In a recent report that Magnitt published, figures show that $277 million were invested in the Middle Eastern startup ecosystem in Q1 Y2020. The Egyptian ecosystem enjoyed the biggest chunk of deals, accounting for 37% of deals that occurred during the past three months, followed by the United Arab Emirates that accounted for 25%.

Startups based in the UAE raised 51% of total funding in the quarter, followed by those based in Egypt who raised 27%. Meanwhile, startups based in the emerging entrepreneurial empire of Saudi Arabia accounted for 10% of overall funding, mainly attributed to Nana’s $18 million deal.

What are the leading industries in 2020?

In the time of coronavirus it comes by no surprise that Fin-tech remains on top of the ecosystem, in its grip 15% of investment deals in the past three months. With almost a tie, Delivery & Transport follows, then comes E-commerce with 13% of the deals and Food & Beverage with 9%.

Speaking of which, the Food & Beverage industry witnessed the highest total funding of $74 million, making up 27% of funding in the MENA region – thanks to Kitopi’s $60 million deal.

A staggering majority (82%) of all investments in the first quarter were at the early stage. The report highlights a gradual increase in later-stage deals since 2015, suggesting that the ecosystem is maturing.

However, there is no doubt that pandemic took its toll on the quarter. March alone saw a 67% decrease in number of deals compared to March 2019, as an early sign of the COVID-19 impact on investments.

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