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A Record Year for Investment in MENA

ArabNet Team, Dec 04 2017

The past two years have been record years for MENA in technology startup funding with more than 50 new investment institutions launched. This year, Crescent Enterprises launched a corporate VC arm (with plans to invest $150M), the first hybrid automated investment management platform, Sarwa, was launched, 500 startups closed a new $15M fund ‘500 Falcons’ and ADGM introduced the first VC Managers Framework in MENA.

2017 also witnessed the closing of 88 deals amounting to $290M in the first six months of the year, according to MAGNiTT Funding Report Card. Some of the biggest deals included a $125M investment in Starz Play (UAE), $20M investment in PayTabs (Saudi Arabia), $12M investment in Wego (UAE), $4M investment in Foodics (Saudi Arabia), and $1.5M investment in Nalbes (Kuwait).

Innovation and Investment2

According to ArabNet’s State of Digital Investments in MENA Report, 64% of all funding institutions are concentrated in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.  Currently, Saudi Arabia rank 2nd in the region for number of investors/funding entities (18%), and 3rd in number of investments in tech startups. In the past two years, the ecosystem has flourished with startups that are rising to fill market needs, gaps and tackle unemployment. 

The Innovation and Investment Forum at ArabNet Riyadh will feature a dedicated track focusing on the investment landscape, improving the ecosystem, and accessing LPs and growth capital. To attend the Innovation and Investment forum, register for ArabNet Riyadh here


Jonathan Nelson is the Managing Director of HACK VC and Founder of the largest network of tech founders in Silicon Valley and the world, Hackers/Founders, whose portfolio companies were valued at $500 million.


Fawaz Alrajhi is Chairman of Al Rajhi United investment firm, one of the major investors in the RetailNext round which secured $125 million in growth funding.

Fady Yacoub, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the global venture firm HOF Capital, created a Hong Kong-based SPV to invest in the record-setting IPO of Alibaba.


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