Forbes Middle East


MENA Startups' Funding Fell By 36% In 2017

Carla Sertin
MENA Startups' Funding Fell By 36% In 2017
MENA startups made 260 deals, raising $410 million in funding in 2017 (excluding and Careem, which raised unusually large sums of money), according to a report released today by Magnitt, an online platform for MENA-based entrepreneurs and investors. The total funding amount is up 65% from the previous year’s $249 million in investments through 176 deals.

Including and Careem, 2017 saw $560 million in investments, 36% less than the whopping $874 million in funding deals made in 2016.

top 10 deals careem starz investments funding startups mena

According to the report, ride hailing app Careem closed the top deal of 2017 with its $150 million Series E round in June, followed by video on demand streaming platform Starz Play, which raised approximately $90 million in September, and on demand GPS-based logistics startup Fetchr, which closed a $41 million Series B round in May.

The industries that saw the most deals were e-commerce and fintech, which each held 11.9% of the total deals made in 2017, followed by the technology industry with 11.5%.

Of the $410 million raised in funding for MENA startups, 70% was raised by U.A.E.-based startups, followed by Saudi Arabia with 9% and Lebanon with 7%. The U.A.E. also boasts the highest number of deals, with 37% of investment deals made in the country, but it’s followed by Egypt (15%) and Lebanon (14%), indicating that investments in Egypt are generally for smaller amounts than Saudi Arabia or Lebanon.

Top 10 Industries investments startups funding menaBut 2017 was also a year of notable exits. Based on disclosed data, Magnitt estimates that over 20 MENA startups exited in 2017. The best known exit is Amazon’s acquisition of for $580 million, but others include Mohamad Alabbar’s Emaar Malls acquiring a 51% stake in fashion ecommerce platform Namshi for $151 million, and Berlin-based Delivery Hero’s acquisition of Kuwait-based food delivery app Carriage for $100 million.

For more on startups and investors, check out The Top 100 Startups In The Arab World and The 50 Most Active Investors In The Arab World.


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