- Mena is set to witness the birth of more than 45 unicorns in the next eight years, with an estimated total equity value to reach more than $100 billion, according to an STV report.
- The report claims that more than 55 per cent of Mena’s population is under the age of 30, who are avid consumers of digital media, with an average daily social media consumption of 3.5 hours, which creates the right environment for unicorns to thrive.
- It also projects that underdeveloped sectors like finance, logistics and real estate are key areas for technological disruption.
MENA is one of the most attractive markets for the development of technology ventures and has the potential to produce 45+ unicorns in the next 8 years according to the latest report published by STV, the largest technology investment company in the region. Based on benchmarks of comparable markets globally and STV proprietary market insights, the report estimates that the total equity value of these companies could reach beyond $100B, as some of those technology companies will reach a valuation much higher than the $1B required to be called a unicorn.
The report titled “From Startup to IPO: Unlocking a $100B+ Opportunity” shares analysis and learnings on how to further enable and nurture the ecosystem, in addition to laying out a possible playbook on scaling technology companies across multiple sectors and countries in the MENA region.
This report follows STV’s first report published in 2019, which projected a strong acceleration of MENA and Saudi Arabia’s VC deployment. The new analysis further solidifies the notion that MENA’s tech ecosystem is at an upward tipping point with ample headroom for growth and even realisations.
The report highlights some of the major challenges that inhibit MENA tech ventures from scaling throughout the region and proposes a playbook that addresses these challenges through cracking the largest market in the region, replicating that success through in-organic growth channels, and finally maintaining regional independence while maximising growth.
While the report highlights the growth potential for the wider MENA region, it zeroes in on Saudi Arabia as an anchor market for venture activity and IPOs. The Saudi market’s high GDP, positive transformational reforms, and deep public market which today is one of the top 10 largest globally in terms of market capitalisation makes it the gravitational centre of the region attracting the most promising tech ventures. Furthermore, the Saudi public sector has undertaken numerous initiatives that greatly support the development of technology ventures, from launching a number of regulatory sandboxes, to promote digital adoption and APIs within government entities, to investing in regional VCs. The role of regulators and government stakeholders has been pivotal in igniting this journey and attracting regional and international resources toward a clear and compelling vision.