The Middle East and North Africa has seen a $659 million investment boom during the Covid-19 pandemic
Conditions in the Middle East are “ripe” for another unicorn start-up like Souq or Careem, according to Areije Al Shakar, fund director at the Al Waha Fund of Funds.
According to Al Shakar, it is likely another unicorn may emerge from a $659 million investment boom during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“To date, the MENA region has only birthed two unicorns, but now the conditions are ripe for the next one,” she said. “Covid-19 has driven an unprecedented boom in the consumer uptake of fintech and other technologies across the region, at a time when governments are investing considerable sums in building increasingly dynamic and sophisticated tech ecosystems.
“There is a wealth of talent in the Middle East, and with their help, Covid-19’s legacy in MENA could well be its third unicorn,” she added.
According to a recent report from start-up data platform Magnitt, the $659m raised in the first six months of the year is already at 95 percent of total venture investments in 2019.
“The report correctly attributes this to a shift in investor appetite towards lower-risk, later-stage startups. But this doesn’t have to mean that smaller, newer startups and higher-risk ideas will be left by the wayside. The region’s burgeoning VC community is deploying their capital more strategically and sparingly, but more accurately,” Al Shakar added.
Al Waha Fund of Funds has so far deployed tens of millions of dollars to a range of venture capitalists, including MSA Capital, Lumia Capital, BECO Capital, Middle East Venture Partners, 500 Startups and European fund manager Finch Capital.