Pioneer Investors – MENA startups raised $206 million in December 2021 through 44 deals, which is 27.5% lower monthly, but impressively 215% higher yearly.
The vast majority of venture capital investments were concentrated in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Together, these countries accounted for more than 88% of the total financing activity this month. However, Saudi startups received the largest investment, totaling $99.5 million.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt attracted the largest number of deals.
The seed-stage deals had the largest share of the financing activity through 31deals, most of which were led by angel investors and accelerators, especially Sanabel 500, a business accelerator for companies in the startup stages in the Middle East and North Africa, which has invested in 11 companies across the region. In terms of the value of the deals, the largest share of the financing was for companies in the growth stage, including the UAE company Oponcia receiving $42 million in the first financing round, an emerging company working to empower entrepreneurs in the field of e-commerce, and Saudi company Sari obtaining 75 million Dollars in the third funding round, and Sari is an electronic platform that connects business owners with wholesalers. In both rounds, the companies received more than half of the investments made by startups in December.
Other startups that have received mega-funds this month including Bahraini food tech startup called Calo with $13.5 million, Emirati food delivery app Grubtech with $13 million, and gaming startup Tomato with $11 million. Also, the Saudi media company, Telfaz 11, received a large fund of millions of dollars, led by a group of local investors. The Omani delivery app, Akeed, has also secured $2.5 million in the financing, the largest deal in the Sultanate of Oman.
The last month also witnessed the exit of some Egyptian startups. South African company Sweep South has acquired Fil Khidmah, a home services platform. Umate, which is based in Jordan and is headquartered in the United States, has acquired Platform One, a platform for digital pharmacy suppliers that connects pharmacies with drug suppliers.
At the level of sectors, the e-commerce sector ranked as 1st in terms of financing thanks to the “Sari” company, which obtained $75 million in the third financing round, and e-commerce startups attracted $119.5 million through five deals or 58% of the total deal value. The food technology sector ranked as 2nd in the list of the most funded sectors, receiving 24 million dollars through four deals, followed by the financial technology sector, which obtained 19 million dollars through 8 deals.
Of the 44 deals, 12 have attracted external funding. Investors from the United States participated in nine deals, making them the most active foreign investors in MENA startups, followed by their German counterparts with two deals. Regionally, Saudi investors came out on top, having invested in 23 deals in startup companies out of Saudi Arabia.
Startups with all-male founders received the largest share of VC investments, generating $197 million through 38 deals, while startups with all-female founders received $3 million, which amounts to 1.5%. Of the total investment, compared to 5% last month. As for startups that were co-founded by men and women, they received 3% of the investments.
Jadwa Cloud, Fil Khidmah, Balastika, and Arkab did not disclose the amount they received this month. For their funding rounds, we put an approximate amount of $100,000 per company. Other startups that did not disclose how much they got, including Dua Tech, ZIWO, Hello World Kids, and AIM Technologies, each received a seven-figure sum.