Up close and personal with MEAPT's most prominent players in the ecosystem. Today we invite Impact 46 Community & Communication Specialist Reema Almahfouz
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3 questions, 1 player, and endless insight. Welcome to the "FireSide 2022" content series where we reflect on trends, industries, investments, and venture capital in the Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, and Turkey. For today's FireSide chat, we invite KSA-based Impact 46 Community & Communication Specialist Reema Almahfouz:
What have been some of the most interesting verticals on your portfolio in the past year and what was the thesis behind their backing?
Tech is the backbone of succeeding business in many areas. The adoption of innovative financial solutions to eCommerce services has accelerated the cycle of those who are involved. We are proud we were from the first believers of Buy now pay later, flower e-commerce to food delivery solutions that are now footprinting their success locally and internationally.
Impact 46 has supported some of the most anticipated funding rounds in MENA over the past year. Traversing sectors of digitization including FinTech, E-commerce, and T&L Impact 46 has led and participated in investments backing the likes of TNBL pioneer Nejree, Flower marketplace Floward, car & car part marketplaces Speero and Syarah, digital investment platform Raseed Invest, and Insurance Banking Technologies provider Rasan Information Technology amongst a consortium of innovative startups emerging in from the kingdom and beyond.
From your portfolio you seem to be invested in FinTech, E-commerce, and Delivery- how would you describe the development of these industries in Saudi Arabia, and what are some remarkable features (whether governmental, entrepreneurial, or on the investor side) you could share with us?
The Saudi youth segment’s willingness to embrace innovative/ disruptive solutions has elevated and incentivized the cycle of developing a regulatory body along with institutions incubating and supporting the startup ecosystem. highlighting some innovation hubs that have been making a great impact on the ecosystem, the SAMA regulatory Sandbox supports fintech/ e-commerce innovations to help diversify the series offer within the financial sector. Along with other initiatives from SDAIA, Monshaat, and Fintech Saudi and their acceleration programs, the gaming is being leveled up for investors to join the path of promising startups from different sectors to revolutionize the tech scene in the kingdom.
With an almost 300% YoY growth in VC funding across KSA in 2021, the Kingdom has reached a new record-high capital deployment crossing the $500M mark. As recorded in our KSA 2022 Venture Investment Report brought to you by the Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC) every fourth deal was closed by a FinTech startup, while E-commerce reigned as the most funded sector, raising more than 30% of all VC capital investment in 2021. Other industries like Enterprise Software and Healthcare made major comebacks over the past year with Saudi's first Mega Deal ($100M +) in 2021.
What could be 1 prediction for the VC landscape in Saudi Arabia for the year 2022?
With the solid foundation of the entrepreneurship scene over the past few years, the ecosystem is going to witness more growth/ later-stage funding in the kingdom.
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