The number of investments in Saudi-based startups amounted to 71 investments in 2019, an increase of 92 per cent from 2018, recording the highest-ever number of funding deals in Saudi Arabia and third highest in the region, according to “2019 Saudi Arabia Venture Capital Snapshot” report published by UAE-based data platform Magnitt.
Saudi-based startups also witnessed last year its highest ever amount of funding and third highest in the region, with $67 million recorded in total funding, up 35 per cent from 2018. Of these investments, the delivery and transport industry received the highest amount of funding at 26 per cent, while e-commerce accounted for the highest number of deals at 27 per cent.
“Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing ecosystems in the region. With the government clearly identifying innovation and entrepreneurship as one of their key focuses in line with Vision 2030, many new initiatives have been launched in 2018 and 2019. Usually, these initiatives take time to come to fruition, but we have already seen their impact on the ecosystem in the country and Mena region,” said Philip Bahoshy, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Magniit.
The number of institutions that invested in Saudi-based startups also reached its all time high in 2019, with 41 institutions, of which around a third were international investors, recording a higher rate than the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) average.
In total, 48 investors from Saudi Arabia made investments in Mena-based startups in 2019, ranking Saudi Arabian investors as the most active investors in Mena, with more investors in Mena-based startups coming out of the Kingdom than any other country.
“On the back of strong government support, Saudi Arabia has experienced growth in many aspects of its startup ecosystem. 2019 was a record year by both number of deals and total funding, with 2020 expected to grow even more on the back of public and private interest in the sector, including matching programs, the new Fund of Funds, accelerators, licenses, and more,” said Bahoshy.