The Middle East’s startup ecosystem continues to mature as entrepreneurs look to tap innovative business opportunities across the region. Investors too have an increased appetite for funding as they invest in MENA-based startups that fix transit systems, insure people, facilitate e-payments and even offer robo-backed investment advisory solutions.
For the second consecutive year, Forbes Middle East reveals its annual list of Top 100 Startups In The Middle East that rounds up companies offering innovative solutions to some of the challenges that the region’s businesses and consumers face. The list highlights the 100 startups in the region that have bagged most funding—with the startup’s age not exceeding six years. These startups possess the potential to scale-up into bigger businesses in the near future.
In order to qualify for the list, startups should be no more than six years old. While many young companies do not qualify for the list in 2018, they still continue to bag the highest amounts of funding from the region’s investors. We have formed a separate list called 12 Up And Coming Companies that compiles these high achievers.
The U.A.E. remains the hub for entrepreneurial activity in the Middle East, with the majority of startups based out of the country. However, startup ecosystem in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan also showed signs of growth with many catching the investors’ fancy through their innovative solutions.
This year 2018 has also been significant for startups within our lists since many have secured funding from regional and international investors. More funding deals can be expected since many are just finishing the formalities as the year ends.
Within the two lists we have 217 founders from 35 different nationalities. The startups and companies bagged $610.3 million in total funding from external investors, with 93% of them securing more than $1 million each.
In this edition, we also list the 50 Most Active Investors who have been successfully identifying entrepreneurial talent across the region and helping them grow by injecting funds.