MENA startups made 260 deals, raising $410 million in funding in 2017 (excluding Souq.com 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 Souq.com and Careem, 2017 saw $560 million in investments, 36% less than the whopping $874 million in funding deals made in 2016.
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.
But 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 Souq.com 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.