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3 months into the second half of the year and VC activity seems to still be in top gear, continuing the most exciting year for the VC ecosystem across Emerging Venture Markets. As we release our full suite of Q3 2021 EVM Venture Investment Reports, covering the most active Venture Spaces and the Top Industries across MENA, Turkey, and Pakistan (MENAPT) we highlight record-highs in fundings, exits, and deal flow by Q3 2021.
A stellar Q3’21 wasn’t any different from Q2’21, in fact, VC funding across MENAPT continued its 4 consecutive quarter growth since Q4’20, to achieve a 44% QoQ increase in capital invested by Q3 2021. With 3 months still left in the year, each of these emerging geographies saw more funding in 2021 than the total amount raised in FY’2020, with Turkey achieving the highest YoY growth in funding (718%) across all geographies.
With 2021 recording record-highs in both, overall investment activity where number of active investors doubled in Pakistan, and foreign investor participation growing their share of total investment in MENA by 11%YoY in 2021, the MENAPT ecosystem has become increasingly attractive as investors reap unprecedented returns. A great ROI indicator has been the record of Exits across MENAPT continuing well into the year. Here are the top Exit stories in Q3 2021 across MENA, Turkey, and Pakistan:
MENA was the only geography amongst the three to surpass the total number of Exits recorded in 2020 marking a 35% YoY growth of total exits recorded by Q3 2021. The 23 exists recorded by Q3 2021 was the second-highest yearly record of Exits in MENA after a stellar 32 Exits in 2019. On the forefront of the many stellar exits recorded was a 16-year startup journey that unfolded with a grand exit by an international acquirer. The Jordan-based gaming studio Jawaker revealed their $205M exit back in September 2021.
Founded in 2009, Jawaker is a rooted highly profitable mobile gaming studio in the MENA region, with one of the largest classic PvP gaming apps in the world. The studio focuses on board & card games and other popular games specific to the region. Jawaker has built a strong presence in the fast-growing MENA region, supported by its regional reseller network, which creates a strong competitive advantage and entry barrier. In a sudden breakthrough, Jawaker’s platform heavily picked up in 2020 during the pandemic, with hundreds of thousands of players downloading Jawaker games. This set the stage for their grand exit; spotting this major growth potential, the global gaming studio Stillfront Group acquires the Jordan-based startup for a stellar $205M.
With three months still left in the year, Turkey-based startups still have ground to cover to equate the total number of exits recorded in 2020. With 3-exits still left to cross the mark, the total of 15 exits by Turkey-based startups by Q3 2021 was the second-highest yearly record for Turkey since 2016. While 66% of these Exits were recorded in Q3 2021, the UAE-based Micromobility startup Fenix acquires E-scooter platform Palm, to create a power-partnership that can change the growth track of both startups across servicing geographies.
Founded in 2020, Fenix set forth to unleash the UAE’s urban potential through faster, more affordable, and better-connected journeys through its on-demand E-scooter platform. Despite having not even raised a Series A round yet, Fenix scrounged together the cash and equity needed to fund this buy and stretch into Turkey, calling on additional capital from existing investors Maniv Mobility and Emkan Capital. Fenix would not disclose the terms of the acquisition or how much it recently raised. This acquisition marks Fenix’s expansion into its fifth Middle Eastern country and the thirteenth city since its launch last November, acquiring Turkey-based Palm not only adds their fleet of around 1,500 Ninebot e-scooters to Fenix, bringing the startup’s vehicle volume up to 10,000, but it also gives Fenix a built-in permit for operation in Istanbul, a city of 15.5 million people.
The 2 Exits recorded in Pakistan in 2021 YTD both took place in Q3 2021. Even though the total number of exits in 2021 is now equivalent to the number of exits recorded in FY’2020, what is most remarkable was that both acquisitions were by acquirers based in MENA. After raising their $5.1M SEED round, backed by the likes of BECO Capital and 4DX Ventures, Jordan-based online learning platform Abwaab acquires its Pakistan-based counterpart Edmatrix to access a whole new market of eager learners. This exit was quickly followed by a larger-sized market expansion as UAE-based TruKKer acquires Pakistan’s on-demand trucking platform TruckSher connecting a fleet of 35,000+ across Pakistan.
After raising a stellar $23M Series A round to fuel TruKKer’s expansion plans, backed by major VCs including STV, Endeavor Catalyst Fund, otf Jasoor Ventures, Shorooq Partners, IFC - International Finance Corporation, and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), the UAE-based Transport & Logistics startups sets eyes on the Pakistani market with TruckSher as the most optimal investment opportunity. The merger formed a power-partnership between the two entities, consolidating TruckSher’s intricate local network with TruKKer’s business acumen and Tech-Stack to scale operations in Pakistan and eventually become a global player in the on-demand delivery market.
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