The Highlights of Venture Activities in MENA in 2021

Published January 23rd, 2022 - 06:30 GMT
The Highlights of Venture Activities in MENA in 2021
MAGNiTT research summarized MENA VC market for 2021. (Shutterstock: Morgan Rauscher)

Reporting on successful venture activities in a number of regions, MAGNiTT has revealed its 2022 comprehensive report, which includes valuable data on how this sector has been performing in the MENA, and others.

The +70-page report builds on a series of similar studies conducted by MAGNiTT over the years, in which investments in local and regional startups are summarized before predictions for the coming years come to the light.

Despite financially turbulent two years in which the whole world has felt the impact of COVID19 pandemic, venture activities in the MENA region seem to have scored major breakthroughs, with several success stories to tell.

In its annual report, MAGNiTT has revealed that venture activities in examined regions, including the Middle East and North Africa has performed beyond their predictions for 2021, as funding has been raised between, 132% and 162% for each respective region.

According to the study, the growing success of MENA startups in drawing the attention of investors from around the world is only a result of many years of success, during which these markets have a higher level of depth and complex innovation of homegrown startups.

The report notes that 30% of 2021 acquisitions were carried out by international investors, crossing $2.6 billion in the MENA region. 

It also highlighted the fact that while only two "megadeals" were flagged in the 2021 report (Careem and, the number of 2021 megadeals was equal to that recorded over the past 4 years combined. Megadeals are ones that received more than $100M.

Emerging MENA Startups

Major Findings from the MENA Region

1. UAE was ranked 1st across MENA by deal count and funding. 

2. UAE-based startups raised $1.2B across 155 transactions.

3. Saudi Arabia overtook Egypt to rank second by funding in 2021, after VC investment in the country grew by 270%

4. MENA projects accumulated $660M in mega-deals.

5. The number of deals in 2021 VC funding across the MENA grew by 10% YoY.

6. Fintech was the only industry to record 100+ deals in 2021 in the MENA region, accounting for 18% of total deals. 

7. The Food & Beverage industry ranked first by funding, mostly driven by Kitopi's mega-round worth $415M. 

8. A total of 35 exits were announced across MENA in 2021, surpassing the previous record of 31 exits in 2019 and up from 16 exits in 2020. 11 of the exits in 2021 were announced by UAE-based ventures. 

9. MENA ventures crossed $2BN in VC funding throughout 2021 (+138% YoY), driven by increased appetite from regional and international investors.

10. A total of $2.6Bn was recorded in VC funding in the MENA region during 2021, which is the highest the region has ever seen.

Emerging MENA Startups

The Top Five Deals Closed Across MENA in 2021

1. UAE's Kitopi - Series C round - $145M

2. Saudi's Unifonic - Series B round - $125M

3. Egypt's Halan - $120M 

4. Saudi's Sari - Series C round - $75M

5. UAE's Pure Harvest Smart Farms - $65M

Written by Riham Darwish

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