The UAE’s startups raised $625 million in 2018, dominating the biggest share of funding directed to entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
In 2017, total startup funding rose 31% in the MENA region, excluding the $200 million funding attracted by Dubai-based ride hailing app Careem, Arabian Business reported, citing a report conducted by investment data platform Magnitt.
A record number of 366 startup transactions were conducted in MENA in 2018, with a total investment of $893 million, according to the Magnitt 2018 MENA Venture Investment Report.
The UAE drew 30% of deals, followed by Egypt, the fastest growing ecosystem, and Lebanon with 22% and 10%, respectively.
“We see a strong push from governments to support the innovation space along with a significant rise in the quality and speed of growth of start-ups from the region,” venture capital investment officer at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Issa Aghabi said.
The financial technology sector attracted the highest number of deals with 12%, followed by e-commerce and transport and delivery sectors which accounted for 11% and 10%, respectively.
“The MENA market lacks VC capital, which makes it more attractive for early and growth stage international VCs such as Gobi. We have always believed that returns are at its greatest when capital is scarce,” vice president at Beijing-based Gobi Partners Taraec Hussein said.