MAGNiTT Intelligence: Healthcare deals boomed in MENA, even before COVID-19

According to MAGNiTT’s newly released 2019 Healthcare Venture Investment Report, the Healthcare industry has seen increased investment activity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region over the last 5 years. With a record high of 31 investment deals, the industry accounted for 6% of all investments in 2019. Furthermore, $21M in funding was raised by MENA-based Healthcare startups, making up 3% of total funding raised in the MENA region in 2019.

As is proven throughout history, people are susceptible to disease, no matter the complexity, size or impact it has on our lives; hence, the reason why Healthcare, a multi-trillion dollar industry exists. However, customers in the region often cite three issues with the current healthcare system: accessiblity, cost, and antiquated systems.

This is where startups come in, providing tech-enabled solutions to alleviate such challenges. With the rapid evolution of technology and medicine, the conventional ways of obtaining pharmaceuticals, instant medical assistance, and consulting with medical professionals, are being adjusted to suit the current times. MENA-based startups such as Proximie, a software solution that allows the sharing of surgical expertise between surgeons using augmented reality, Sohati, an online platform that provides guidance on how to lead a healthy life, and Nala, an Arabic portable medical assistant, look to play a very crucial role in the evolution of Healthcare – especially in these challenging times.

Nonetheless, the majority of these startups are still Early Stage. 84% of all investments in 2019 were of Early Stage, dropping by 9% from 2018, after seeing an increase of 34% from 2017 to 2018. Series A deals, on the other hand, increased by 9% from 2018 to 2019, Series B seeing a slight increase to 3% in 2019.

Flat6Labs, the MENA region’s leading startup accelerator program and seed investment company, launched by the founders of Sawari Ventures in 2011, was the most active investor in the Healthcare sector in 2019, with 8 investment deals, all of which were Early Stage. The entity operates out of several locations throughout the Middle East and North Africa, where it supports the MENA region and boosts entrepreneurship by helping startups grow to their full potential.

Lastly, the number of investors in healthcare startups has increased significantly as well, growing by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33% over the last 4 years. However, MENA-based investors accounted for the lion’s share of 89% of investment activity in 2019, while the share of international investors remained stagnant over the last 5 years.

The ongoing crisis has placed the Healthcare sector under a microscope unlike ever before. Learn all about the industry’s funding and investment trends in our 2019 MENA Healthcare Venture Investment Report