MENA startups raised $206mln in December 2021

Startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region raised $206 million in the last month of 2021, a decrease on the previous month of 27.5 percent but 215 percent up on December 2020, according to entrepreneurship platform Wamda.

Saudi Arabia was a top receiver of funds. The kingdom, along with the UAE and Bahrain accounted for the most venture capital investment at 88 percent, with Saudi receiving the most investment at $99.5 million.

Wamda said the majority of the funding was led by growth-stage funding rounds, including the UAE’s e-commerce enabler startup Opontia’s $42 million Series A round, and Saudi Arabia’s B2B marketplace Sary’s $75 million series C funding round.

Bahraini foodtech startup Calo raised $13.5 million, while UAE food delivery app Grubtech raised $13 million and Jordan-based gaming startup Tamatem $11 million.

In exits, Egyptian home services marketplace was acquired by South Africa’s SweepSouth, while B2B e-pharmacy marketplace One Platform was acquired by Jordanian-born and US-headquartered Aumet.

E-commerce was the sector that received the greatest amount of funding with Saudi Arabia’s Sary  raising $75 million in series C funding.

E-commerce startups attracted $119.5 million across five deals - 58 per cent of the total deal value. Foodtech was the second-highest funded sector with $24 million raised across four deals, followed by fintech which raised $19 million across eight deals.

Of the 44 deals, 12 received overseas funding and US-based investors were the most active foreign investors in MENA-based startups followed by Germany-based investors. Saudi Arabia had the highest number of investors in the region with Saudi investors investing in 23 deals outside the kingdom.

All-male founding teams received the vast majority of VC funding, at $197 million across 38 deals, versus $3 million to all female founder teams, at just $3 million, or 1.6 of the total, down from five percent the month before.




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