With a series of startup exits dotting the MENA business ecosystem, MAGNiTT has released today the results of its analysis on technology startup exits in the region, over the last five years (2012-2017). While the heightened buzz around it, and the spate of exits that followed it, have made Amazon’s acquisition of Souq.com a landmark event, MAGNiTT finds that the year 2015 saw a peak in exit activity in recent times with 16 startup exits, and says 2017 has already had a strong start with eight exits in the first six months. According to the study, over the last five years, the region has seen 60 startup exits (disclosed, and part of MAGNiTT’s proprietary data) totaling up to a value of over US$3 billion.
Discovering that only 38% of MENA exits during the period are publicly disclosed, MAGNiTT’s study finds that predominantly (for almost 35% of the startups), the exit valuation was in the range of $10-20 million, and it took an average of seven years from founding the company for the 60 startups to exit business- a duration that MAGNiTT finds to be in line with international comparisons. “Corporates at all levels are becoming more interested in startups, and their ability to grow in dynamic ways… As startups continue to develop and grow further, the opportunities for acquisitions will arise,” says MAGNiTT’s founder Philip Bahoshy.
As a nation ahead of its regional peers when it comes to its entrepreneurship culture, 60% of the top 10 disclosed exits in the MENA region pertain to startups based in the UAE. In another optimistic sign for the entire region, 47% of startups that exited their business during the study duration, were found to have been acquired by MENA-based companies. While a look at some of the major acquisitions during the period, be it Souq.com by Amazon or JadoPado by Alabbar Enterprises or Yemeksepeti and Carriage by Delivery Hero, all point towards momentum in e-commerce, logistics, and allied sectors, MAGNiTT’s data confirms that MENA e-commerce has seen largest exits (22%) during the period, followed by media (18%), and F&B sectors (15%).