UAE startups attracted $400 million of VC funding in 2017

Ecommerce, local services, and financial services are the top three industries these startups belong to (Image via Pixabay).

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2017 witnessed 134 funding deals of 129 startups in 12 countries across the MENA, which brought in around $475 million worth of investments, said MENABytes’ 2017 MENA Venture Report.

This data does not represent investments by MENA-based VCs in startups that are not headquartered in MENA countries.

UAE startups attracted almost $400 million in investments which accounts for 84 percent of the whole deal value of region. It is largely due to Careem and Starz Play deals. Even without these two mega deals, the UAE would still represent 63 percent of deal share by value. The country leads the chart with 57 deals,18 of which are Series A.

Egypt comes second with 28 deals, most of which are seed stage investments. Whereas Saudi Arabia comes in second in terms of deal value of around $28 million. Lebanon came third with 10 deals, with a value of $11.5 million.

Ecommerce, local services, and financial services are the top three industries these startups belong to, accounting for 30 percent of the entire deal count.

More seed and Series A rounds

Funding seed and early stage startups was at the core of VC’s investment behavior. This could mean that the newborn startups are very active and avid of funding. It could also reflect a ‘safer’ and ‘less risky’ investment approach VCs are adopting.

Seed funding rounds, with amounts between $100,000 and $499,000 were the most frequent and constituted 37 percent of the total transactions. Series A rounds, with amounts bracketing between $1 million and $4.9 million, were also frequent, reaching 27 percent of the transactions.

VCs offering later stage funding were less active. Only four percent of the deals were Series B (between $5 million and $9.9 million), and another four percent in Series C ($10-$49.9 million), while only two percent reached Series D (over $50 million).

Big activities happenings

2017 was a year that saw a mix of domination by old and new players. 500 Startups became very active after closing $15 million for their $30 million MENA-dedicated fund. MEVP, BECO, Raed Ventures and Wamda continued to be active throughout the year with Wamda announcing multiple deals just before the end of 2017.

Lebanon’s Phoenician Funds, a newer player, announced six investments, all in Lebanese startups.

RTF, Wadi Accelerator, HIMangel, Algebra Ventures are some other new names that were very active throughout the year.

DASH Ventures, Jabbar Internet Group, DSOA, Cairo Angels, Silicon Badia & B&Y Venture Partners also continued to invest with three or more deals during 2017.

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