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ArabNet to Launch 3rd Edition of State of Investments Report (2013-2017)

ArabNet Team, Apr 11 2018

ArabNet, in partnership with The Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development, will soon be launching the third edition of its investment report entitled ‘The State of Digital Investments in MENA (2013-2017)’, a holistic analysis of MENA technology investors and investments.

The year 2017 observed an increased global investor interest in Healthtech, Biotech, Autotech, Foodtech, and Agrytech, an interest that has been mirrored in MENA, where funding reached $650M in 270 deals last year alone. The MENA startup ecosystem has become a hot spot for global investors who are closely eyeing robust investment opportunities in the region.

This research report, which analyzes 1,091 regional investments, investigates the technology investment landscape in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with findings based on data collected from 52 investors and accelerators in the MENA region, as well as from startup surveys and public sources such as Crunchbase, CB Insights, AngelList, Eureeca, and others.

We are excited to share with you some of the key highlights from the ‘Investments in MENA’ section of the report in this article. Make sure to stay tuned for the official launch of the entire report on May 1st at the ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai.

Key Highlights

1) The UAE is far ahead when it comes to the number of deals per country over the past 5 years; with the number of deals double that of Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. The UAE witnessed only a 25% increase from last year representing a deceleration in number of investments. Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan display an overall average of 155 deals per country and Oman and Qatar witnessed one of the biggest percent increase from last year (1400% change) attributed to the efforts of the OTF.


2) The number of deals over the past few years displays a gradual increase of approximately 20%, whereas, the value of investment over the same period reveals a higher rate of increase. This is a sign of a maturing ecosystem where the value per deal is increasing.


3) The below chart illustrates the consistent distribution of deals by ticket size over the years (with 2014 being somewhat of an outlier). Venture capital and growth investments have displayed marginal growth over the past few years.


4) Exploring investments by business model over the past five years, transactional-based startups make up the biggest share of deals at approximately 40% of overall models. Media (advertising), technology, and SaaS business models are the next biggest business model deals representing slightly less than 60% of the total deals.  


5) Last year’s report was the first time that the number and value of investments were analyzed by tertiary business model (see appendix for definitions). Lifestyle (20%), enterprise (11%), and entertainment (10%) encompass the biggest number of tertiary business deals. The biggest investments poured into the top three lifestyle-based tertiary business models include Wysada, Skyshopper, and GlamBox ME.



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