A touch of data: Philip Bahoshy’s Duck-Dive into 2020 in MENA and predictions for 2021

MAGNiTT's CEO and Founder, Philip Bahoshy sat down with Christian Eid of DuckLife on their DUCKit podcast, to delve into the impact that the unprecedented and unexpected 2020 has had on MENA's startup ecosystem. Philip explores his predictions for 2021, the increasing participation of international VC’s across the region, if there is a large talent gap, how expensive and difficult it is to start a company in Dubai, the role that MAGNiTT plays in the ecosystem, and much more.

Watch the podcast below to access expert opinions and data-focused insights on MENA's startup ecosystem: 

The fireside chat aligned with our recently released Q3 MENA Venture Investment Report, which found:

- Capital invested in startups in 2020 YTD has matched total FY 2019 funding
- Q3 2020 saw a 50% decline in the number of startup investments compared to Q2 2020
- 2020 has seen a record H1 for capital deployed driven by an increase in average deal-size at both Series A (up by 34%) and Series B (up by 91%) from 2019
- The UAE ranked 1st by number of deals (with 26% of all deals)

Some key insights shared by Philip and Christian's deep dive into the region are: 

- We have witnessed a delayed impact of COVID-19 on the venture space
- We are beginning to see hesitations with investments 
- Such behaviour will continue until year-end until investor appetite increases
- We should credit early-stage investors in the region who were the first movers to build the industry
- There is a big misconception that the region is flushed with cash
- Last year was a record year for exits, there was an anticipation that this year would be higher which hasn't been the case 
- The US is so well developed that it takes a certain mindset to be interested in the region
- Nothing is more powerful than an organisation attracting, retaining, and motivating talent
- Accelerator's play a key role, but we are yet to see the success of them with regards to follow on funding

"I have been impressed with the resilience of many startup founders. In March/April, there was widespread panic, in May/June, companies took difficult decisions to optimise cash flow. When speaking to investors, they will tell you, those startups that managed cash flow and maintained their company & growth and were able to define opportunistic products out of the situation will be the ones to come out stronger at the end of it, and that will be the story for 2021." - Philip Bahoshy

You can also check out the episode on DuckLife's Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.


2020 YTD has seen $803M invested in MENA-based startups, matching total funding of full-year 2019. Discover more trends and insights in our Q3 2020 MENA Venture Investment Report.