Wamda Research Lab: Insights, reports and interviews from the MENA region.

Data Nuggets

Saudi Arabia's population is one of the world's most connected, with 91 per cent using the internet and a smartphone penetration rate of 73 per cent.

Online sales to Saudi Arabia were estimated at $8.7 billion in 2017 and projected to grow to $13.9 billion by 2020. The major barrier to domestic e-commerce adoption is cash on delivery.

Unemployment among Saudi nationals is around 12.8 per cent, but youth, who comprise about half of the population of 32 million face a more difficult challenge. Unemployment for those aged 20 to 29, stands at 29 per cent.

The total funds available for SMEs – directly or indirectly to tech entrepreneurs – are valued at $3.3 billion, yet, actual investments going into Saudi tech startups are concentrated on the seed stage and deal flows are moderate.

Data Nuggets

The number of entrepreneurship support organizations in the KSA has nearly tripled, growing from 13 between 2006 and 2010, to 36 between 2011 and 2015

Funds constitute about 30% of support organizations in KSA

Most of the funds offer between $0.1 million and $2 million in the seed stage for around 10 percent to 20 percent equity stake

Support organizations are located in Saudi Arabia’s four major cities: Riyadh (54%), Jeddah (29%), Eastern province (10%) and Makkah and Thuwal (8%)

Data Nuggets

Total number of fintech startups launched in MENA: 46 (in 2013) 105 (in 2015) 250 (expected 2020)

Fintech startups raised $100M in 10 years, plan to raise $50M in 2017

4 in 5 fintech startups have 1 or more co-founder with professional experience in financial services

44% of startups partner with corporations, another 44% seek to establish partnerships in future

Data Nuggets

43% of the startups interviewed in this study are self funded and fewer than 30% obtained VC or angel funding.

More cleantech startups launched in MENA during the last 2 years than in the 6 years before

90% of MENA's cleantech startups were created in the last 5 years.

Data Nuggets

90% of entrepreneurs plan to hire in the next 1-2 years

60% of entrepreneurs are satisfied with their local talent pool

53% of the surveyed workforce is willing to work for a lower salary if their employer provides equity in return