Startups in the Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) raised $206 million in December 2021 across 44 deals, a 27.5 per cent decrease month on month (MoM) but an impressive 215 per cent increase year over year (YoY).
The vast majority of VC investment was concentrated in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain. These countries together accounted for over 88 per cent of total funding activity this month. However, Saudi startups received the most investment at a total value of $99.5 million.
Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt attracted the most number of deals.
Seed-stage deals dominated funding activity with 31 deals, most of which were led by angels and accelerators, notably Sanabil 500 Mena Seed Accelerator, which invested in 11 companies across the region. Yet, in terms of deal value, 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-based B2B marketplace Sary's $75 million Series C raise. Both rounds attracted more than half of the amount raised in December.
Other startups that bagged mega-rounds this month include Bahrain's foodtech startup Calo ($13.5 million), UAE's food delivery app Grubtech ($13 million) and Jordan-based gaming startup Tamatem ($11 million). Also, Saudi media company telfaz11 raised a significant multi-million round led by a consortium of local investors.
Last month also saw a couple of Egyptian startups making exits. Felkhedma, a marketplace for home services, was acquired by South Africa's SweepSouth, while B2B e-pharmacy marketplace connecting pharmacies with suppliers One Platform, was acquired by Jordan-born and US-headquartered Aumet.
Sector-wise, e-commerce stood as the top-funded sector thanks to Sary's $75 million Series C round. E-commerce startups attracted $119.5 million across five deals, aggregating to 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 garnered $19 million across eight deals.
Of the 44 deals, 12 attracted overseas funding. US-based investors participated in nine deals, making them the most active foreign investors in Mena startups, followed by their counterparts from Germany with a couple of deals. Regionally, Saudi investors led the pack, having invested in 23 deals in startups outside Saudi Arabia.
Startups with all-male founding teams notched up the largest share of VC funding with $197 million raised across 38 deals, while female founders raised $3 million, amounting to 1.6 per cent of the total amount raised, down from 5 per cent the month before. Startups with male and femal3 co-founders raised 3 per cent of funding.
This month, Jadwa Cloud, Filkhedma, Plstka, and Arcab did not disclose the amount they raised. We assigned them a conservative amount of $100,000 each for their rounds. Other startups that did not reveal the amount they raised include Dawatech, ZIWO, Hello World Kids, and Aim technology, each raised a seven-figure round.
These monthly reports are a collaboration between Wamda and Digital Digest