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MENA VC Landscape Sees 33% Increase in Investors: MAGNiTT

MENA VC Landscape Sees 33% Increase in Investors: MAGNiTT

CAIRO: Investor numbers in the Middle East and North Africa’s venture capital ecosystem saw an annual increase of 33 percent in the first half of 2024, new data shows. 

According to a report from venture data platform MAGNiTT, rising sentiment spurred a 130 percent increase in the number of funds launched in the MENA region during this period.  

Data revealed that despite the increase in investors, only $768 million in funding was poured into regional startups, a drop of 34 percent year on year.  

The total number of deals reached 211, an 18 percent decline in the first half of the year, while exits plummeted by 63 percent to just 10.    

E-commerce was the most funded sector with $244 million in funding, while fintech was the industry of choice in terms of deal count.    

The Public Investment Fund’s Sanabil Investments was the most active investor in the region with $57 million in capital deployed.   

Saudi startups garnered the most funding in the first half with $412 million, followed by the UAE with $225 million, and Egypt with $86 million. However, all these markets saw a drop of 7, 19, and 75 percent, respectively.    

Morocco and Kuwait joined the top five list with $17 million and $14 million, respectively.    

In terms of deal count, the UAE topped the list with 83 transactions, an 11 percent annual increase. Saudi Arabia followed with 63 deals, a 3 percent drop, Egypt with 28, a 15 percent decrease, and Morocco and Bahrain with 10 and 7, respectively.    

In an interview with Arab News, Philip Bahoshy, CEO of MAGNiTT, explained that the second half of the year is expected to see an uptick in VC activity.    

“In terms of trends, the wider MENA region including both the UAE and Egypt are likely to benefit from a very strong fourth quarter, while the third quarter is expected to be a little bit quieter,” he said.    

“I think that from a macroeconomic perspective, political stability is key. Interest rate declines to bring liquidity back into the markets is important as well as conferences and events that can highlight the opportunities for the Middle East versus other geographies will be very important in seeing strength across the wider MENA region,” the CEO explained.  

He added that the UAE’s growth in transactions is extremely positive.   
“For early-stage investment, I anticipate that they’ll continue to be positioned as one of the leading ecosystems to attract international companies to set up and grow across the wider MENA region,” Bahoshy said.    

“Egypt, on the other hand, which is continually challenged with the macroeconomic environment locally and the wider economy will be looking to support early-stage startup investments and therefore is likely to be in the rankings for total number of transactions,” he stated.    

He further explained that capital deployment in Egypt will remain a challenge as startups continue to relocate to other geographies to raise funding.    

“I think both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are well positioned to see continued strength in their ecosystems despite the slowdown in venture and macroeconomic environment that we find ourselves in,” the CEO added.