Funding in MENA start-ups surges 66% in 2019

A record total of 15 start-up exists took place in H1 2019, according to Magnitt report
Funding in MENA start-ups surges 66% in 2019
A record total of 15 start-up exits also took place in H1 2019, led by Careem’s $3.1 billion acquisition by Uber, and marking an increase of 5 compared to H1 2018.
By Lubna Hamdan
Mon 15 Jul 2019 11:29 AM

Funding in MENA has surged 66% to a total $471 million in the first half of 2019 compared to just $283m invested in the same period last year, according to a report by data platform Magnitt.

The H1 2019 MENA Venture Investment Report revealed a record 238 start-up investment deals from 130 institutions across MENA in the first 6 months of the year, with 30% of investors including China’s MSA Capital and Germany’s food conglomerate Henkel headquartered outside the region.

In the region, 500 Startups remained the most active venture capital firm at early stage investments, followed by Flat6Labs as the most active accelerator programme.

The UAE remained the most active ecosystem with 26% of all deals, followed by Egypt (21%) and Lebanon (13%). However, Tunisia was the fastest growing ecosystem, having received the fifth highest number of deals at 8% of all deals, up 4% from H1 2018. Saudi Arabia also recorded a 2% increase in number of deals, up to 11% of all transactions across MENA.

Fintech retained its top spot as the most active industry by number of deals at 17%, with notable investments including $8m in Yallacompare, $6m in Souqalmal and $4m in Beehive. E-commerce followed at 12% and delivery & transport at 8%.

Record exits

A record total of 15 start-up exits also took place in H1 2019, led by Careem’s $3.1 billion acquisition by Uber, and marking an increase of 5 compared to H1 2018.

Magnitt founder Philip Bahoshy said MENA is “hitting its inflection point”, with the acceleration of funding seen in the second half of 2018 having continued into 2019.

EMPG received the highest amount of funding by a single start-up at $100m in February 2019, followed by Yellow Door Energy at $65m and Swvl at $42m.

Dubai-based Magnitt connects entrepreneurs with funders, mentors, support services, and talent, and allows startups to apply for funding directly to VCs and angel networks.

Investors, corporates, mentors and service providers can also review over 11,000 startups’ information and funding history.

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