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As recorded in our MENA Q3 2021 Venture Investment Report, MENA exits in 2021 marked a yearly increase after a dip in 2020. Reaching an all-time high of 32 exits in 2019, MENA-based startups recorded 43% fewer exits in 2020 and picked up by 76.5% by November of this year to become 2 exits short of the all-time high.
Exits are great indicators of startup success and overall ecosystem maturity. Of the many exits we’ve recorded this year we’ve observed horizontal acquisitions with startups like Chari.ma acquiring its Moroccan counterpart Karny.ma, Egypt-based automotive marketplace Sa3ar acquired by its local counterpart ContactCars, or Jordan-based EdTech platform Abwaab acquiring its Pakistani counterpart Edmatrix. Other acquisitions involved strategic product, business, or tech integrations with highly anticipated exits recorded by FinTech platform Spotii acquired by payment solutions provider Zip Co, or Jordan-based card game publisher Jawaker acquired by global gaming studio Stillfront.
This week, and prior to the release of our EVM November Venture Investment Dashboard, we explore the 3 most anticipated exits in MENAPT by international acquirers:
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iKcon- Acquired by US-based REEF
Founded in 2019, UAE-based iKcon is a tech-enabled cloud kitchen operator that procures, cooks, and delivers food on behalf of restaurants and brand owners. Earlier in November, iKcon gets acquired by US-based REEF, a leading operator of delivery kitchens, logistics, and proximity hubs in North America which marks their debut in the MENA markets. With this acquisition, the iKcon team will be able to bring global competitiveness to their local market.
Prior to their stellar Exit, iKcon had a formidable run in funding raising $25M over a Pre-Series A and a Series A funding round. While REEF becomes the permanent partner and acquirer of iKcon, the UAE-based startup aggregated a strategic network of key investors pushing their scaling success with investors including Arzan VC, AlTouq Group, Nazer Group, Derayah, and BY Venture Partners (BYVP).
Meddy- Acquired by Nigerian Helium Health
Founded in 2015, Meddy Inc. launched its doctor booking platform helping patients find the best doctors and book appointments, while Nigeria-based Healium Health launched with its debut product Helium Health (EHR/HMIS) in 2019- a Tech solution that is simple, robust, easy-to-adopt, highly customizable, and built around the peculiarities of healthcare ecosystems in emerging markets. With this new acquisition, Helium will be able to deploy its Electronic Medical Records (EMR) technology and healthcare financial solutions across the GCC market. Whilst the GCC’s healthcare market is more mature than Africa’s and has a higher technology penetration, the technology present in the region is more siloed, giving room for a global Tech player to disrupt the HealthTech scene in the GCC.
Prior to their exit in November, the Qatar-based HealthTech raised $3.3M over 5 rounds starting with a $260K Pre-SEED round in 2016, backed by initial investor Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) up until their final $2.5M Series A in 2019. Amongst its vetted consortium of strategic investors, Meddy has been backed by the likes of 500 Global, QCT, Modus Capital, and Innoway.
English Ninjas- Acquired by US-based Open English
This November, English Ninjas the Turkish EdTech startup specialized in connecting learners with native English-speaking tutors was acquired by the US-based English Education platform Open English. Founded in 2017, Open English provides individuals and corporate clients in Latin America and emerging markets worldwide with a unique, practical, and fun learning experience that caters to their own schedule and pace. The OE platform offers programs in English Learning with both on-demand content and personalized, live classes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with teachers who are all native English speakers.
Looking for benchmarks on acquisitions? Browse 270+ Exits in Emerging Venture Markets