MENA cashes in: new report shows VC money is rising

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This is an edited crosspost from Medium.

I’ve always admired the consistency and nuggets of wisdom that US founders and VCs are able to communicate through blog posts, tweets, and published decks. I won’t mention all of them but there are plenty of lists stating the top VCs to follow here, here, and here.

As part of a personal mental exercise, I’ve created a deck (below) aggregating recent reports along with other data to paint a picture of venture capital in the Middle East and how the UAE has quickly grown to lead the region.

This is by no means an exhaustive research but an attempt to add some clarity.

A few interesting points that stood out:

  1. Tech investments arrived late but are quickly growing since 2010.
     
  2. Exits, though limited, are increasing in pace and will continue to happen.
     
  3. Non-traditional investors such as family offices and sovereign wealth funds are getting more active.
(Image via Global Watch Weekly)

Why did I create this report?

Since arriving in the Middle East, I’ve read plenty of regional coverage on venture but very few from the actual investors. There is no lack of experienced fund managers and angel investors but very few publish content, share their experiences, or even tweet their thoughts.

I give my kudos to the teams at
Arabnet, Wamda, and the MENA Private Equity Association for providing the limited data we have in the region. They have done a great job of shedding light and adding relevant commentary to an ever-growing market. They have all released recent reports collating data that is difficult and costly to capture.

Feedback is highly appreciated, and let me know if my data is inaccurate, I missed a point, or you’d like to add to what is already there.

You can download a copy here or reach out to me directly.

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