The State of Digital Investments in MENA (2013- 2016)
Excerpts of the 2nd edition of the report conducted by Dubai SME and Arabnet that provides a comprehensive analysis of investors and investments in technology startups in the MENA.
MENA witnessed a record year in technology startup funding in 2016: more than 30 new investment institutions launched, and more than $900M was invested in 2016 alone, more than the value of all investments between 2013-2015 combined (approximately $750 million)! The UAE remains the region’s tech startup hub, capturing the largest number of deals and almost all of the growth capital - a whopping 90% of total dollars invested. Ecommerce still dominates the investment landscape, especially for growth-stage deals, but new areas of significant interest are emerging, including health tech, fintech, and IOT / smart devices.
Digital entrepreneurship and innovation remain focal points for government leaders across the region as they develop their economic strategies. We have seen the launch of many new initiatives to support this in the past year: the establishment of the SME Authority in Saudi Arabia, the launch of the Dubai Future Accelerators in the UAE, and the announcement of $300M in government-backed funds in Oman (OTF and IDO) to name a few. In total, billions of dollars are being earmarked for programs to stimulate startup growth and investment.
This second edition of our Investment Report, conducted in collaboration with Dubai SME, is the most comprehensive research on investors and investments in tech startups in MENA to date. It covers more than 150 funding institutions and 760 transactions that took place between 2013 and 2016, and actively analyzes year-on-year trends – from the distribution of investors by geography to the percentage of founders who are female. In addition, the ambition of this report is to help investors and policymakers’ measure identify the strengths and gaps in their ecosystems and monitor the impact of their policies and programs.
N.B: The report's findings are based on data collected from 75 investors and accelerators in the MENA region, specifically in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Palestine, Algeria, Tunisia, and Bahrain. The report also aggregates information from publicly available data such as those listed on Crunchbase, CB Insights, Angellist, and Eureeca, among others. The report also collected data from startups through surveys and analyzes a total of 768 regional investments (all investments analyzed in the report are for equitybased investments only, and therefore institutions that provide grant/non-equity funding have not been included in the analysis).