Startups in the Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) raised $284 million in November 2021 across 71 deals, an 89 per cent increase month-on-month (MoM), and a colossal 666 per cent increase year-on-year (YoY).
Startups in the UAE, Jordan and Egypt attracted the bulk of VC funding, accounting for almost 73 per cent of total deal value. Leading the pack in terms of the number of deals were UAE (24), Egypt (24) and Saudi Arabia (12).
While there has been an uptick in late-stage and growth funding rounds, most of the financing rounds in November came from accelerator programmes, led primarily by Flat6Labs.
In terms of sectors, fintech was the most-funded sector, with 15 deals amounting to almost $73 million. This was followed by foodtech and logistics. The three sectors together accounted for 56 per cent of the total funding activity.
A large chunk of investment went to 3D printing startups, which received $33 million combined across four deals including that of UAE's Immensa, which raised $7 million.
Saudi insurtech Rasan and Jordan-based e-learning platform Abwaab, which raised $24 million and $20 million respectively, helped push their respective sectors to the top rankings. This month also saw a surge of investment activity across other verticals such as SaaS, traveltech, legaltech, data analytics, and mobility.
US investors were the most active international investors, participating in 12 deals for Mena-based startups, followed by Chinese investors who invested in three deals, and led Dubai's logistics and last-mile delivery company iMile's $40 million round. Regionally, it was Egyptian investors who led the pack with over 22 deals.
Founded by Rita Huang, Naveen Joseph, Nancy Chen and Gao Wenli, iMile closed the largest financing round raised this year by a mixed founding team in the region. Female-led startups’ overall share of the total investment stood at 5 per cent last month, corresponding to $14 million raised across six deals, of which four of the startups were founded by solo entrepreneurs.
Male-led startups raised $218 million across 54 deals, while startups with mixed-gender founding teams raised $52 million, indicating that having a male co-founder on board increases the chances of landing an investment for a female founder.
The five largest financing rounds were:
- UAE's last-mile logistics startup iMile ($40 million)
- Algeria's super app Yassir ($30 million)
- Jordan's dental tech startup Eon Dental's ($26 million)
- Egypt's e-grocery startup Breadfast ($26 million)
- Saudi Arabia’s insurtech Rasan's ($24 million)
In November, eight startups did not disclose the amount they raised. They include Crefer, Hekouky, Dallali, KIWE, Klickit, Nuqtah, Venu, and Qubx. We have assigned them a conservative estimate of $100,000 each for their rounds.
These monthly reports are a collaboration between Wamda and Digital Digest.